How to Get Rid of Bamboo

Bamboo groves look good in any garden or landscaped area, especially for people looking for an exotic appeal. Many home owners plant bamboo in their yard or garden only to regret doing so later. Chances are, the bamboo plants have spread so rapidly in your garden or yard that they have taken over the whole place. You probably dream of eliminating the whole bamboo grove. Much to your disappointment, bamboo groves are hard to eliminate.

In truth, the bamboo plant is among the most difficult plants to get rid of in your garden or yard. Much to your chagrin, bamboo groves are non-responsive to the methods you have tried. For example, if you try to mow down the bamboo groves in your yard, they will just come back to haunt you later.

You need to know more about bamboo to be able to fight it better. The first thing you need to know are the two major types of bamboo: running bamboo and clumping bamboo. Running bamboo is so-called for its rhizomes that quickly spread out to create a full growth of bamboo in a short span of time. Between the two types, running bamboo is more-hated as it spreads quite rapidly. However, it is also effective in creating a wall that can act as a shield around your house. Clumping bamboo, on the other hand, stays together in tighter clumps than running bamboo does. Clumping bamboo also grows slower than running bamboo. Both types, however, are equally hard to eliminate, since both have equal ability to rapidly spread. Bamboo has rhizomes that spread out in all directions, even to the point that they crack purposely-contracted barriers.

Bamboo may be hard to eliminate, but this task is not without hope. Below are some of the ways you can get rid of bamboo groves.

Containment and Starvation

If you have large groves of bamboo in your backyard or garden, the best way to kill them is to starve them. First, dig a depth of about 16 inches below the surface of the soil that has bamboo growth; then, create a trench around this area of growth, and make the trench at least 30 inches deep.

Fill the trench with concrete or gravel to contain the remaining bamboo rhizomes underneath the soil’s surface. You can then cover the whole area with black plastic or cardboard. The cover will keep the sun from reaching the surface of the soil, which will starve off the bamboo rhizomes. After you have killed all the bamboo rhizomes, you can plant grass or other types of plants on the soil’s surface. In case you just want to contain the bamboo grove, you can follow the method explained next.

Box Them Out

The best way to control the growth of bamboo in your garden or yard is to construct a barrier that will block it from spreading throughout your property. The barrier can be made of plastic, or much better, metal, and should be buried at a depth of two feet.

The best way to bury the barrier is by angling it outward and upward so the rhizomes that come in contact with it will be pushed to the surface of the soil. Make sure that the barrier is sturdy and the seams are properly secured to prevent rhizomes from getting out of the cracks. It is best to regularly check the barrier for cracks and breaks that can lead to further bamboo growth in your lawn or garden.

Herbicides Can Do the Trick

Herbicides can help you eliminate the growth of bamboo in your backyard or garden; however, they are not as effective as the other two methods already described. Bamboo cannot be easily killed by herbicides, although some formulations that contain glyphosate can do the trick.

To kill a bamboo grove using herbicides, you need to prepare a few things. Aside from herbicides, prepare a pair of shears and a hose or brush. Use the shears to cut the bamboo shoots to a height of six inches, then immediately hose or brush the shoots with herbicides. Make sure to do this as soon as possible, as bamboo sap retreats quickly back to the leftover rhizomes. Letting the sap soak up the herbicide will be more effective.

If you spray herbicides on the bamboo grove without cutting the shoots first, you are in for a major disappointment. Spraying herbicides on a healthy bamboo grove will only kill the shoots but not the roots, from which a new growth of bamboo could develop. Refrain from saving time and effort by rushing the use of herbicides to kill bamboo, for you will only end up spending more time and money fighting them.

Cook the Bamboo to Death

Another way to eliminate bamboo shoots is to cook them to death. The best time to carry out this method is during hot seasons because the heat will literally cook the bamboo shoots. To do this, cut down the bamboo shoots to a height of not more than a few inches from the ground.

Spread a generous amount of high nitrogen fertilizer over the entire bamboo grove. Make sure that the layer is thick enough to completely cover the cut down shoots. After you have covered the entire area with fertilizer, cover it with a transparent plastic sheet. Completely secure the edges of the plastic sheet with bricks, or push them down the ground.

After a few days, the bamboo shoots will be cooked up by too much heat and nitrogen and a lack of oxygen. Remove the plastic sheet after a few weeks, or after all the bamboo shoots have been extinguished. Do not forget to dig up the cooked bamboo shoots to prevent surviving rhizomes from creating new bamboo growth.

Eliminating bamboo shoots from your garden or yard takes time, effort, and money, so be sure to follow the methods correctly. If you give your best and follow the methods correctly, your efforts will be greatly rewarded. A clean backyard or garden, free from signs of unwanted bamboo, is your best reward.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in learning how to prune a bamboo plant.

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Nicole Harding

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