How can we get rid of bamboo? #225652 - Ask Extension


How can we get rid of bamboo? #225652

Asked January 26, 2015, 11:53 AM EST

BAMBOO!!!! Unfortunately, we dummies planted it in several different places and now are trying to find out how to get rid of it.....incl. near the stream.

Baltimore County Maryland

Expert Response

That's a shame. Bamboo is one of our most common problem questions. Fortunately, it is not impossible to kill.

In our website bamboo information, here is the part on ridding yourselves of bamboo:

"Running-type of bamboo, if neglected, will travel and become very invasive. It is this type of bamboo, in uncontrolled situations, that has given bamboo a bad reputation. However, restricting unwanted bamboo spread can be accomplished through sturdy barriers and by cutting back new shoots. In Maryland, bamboo has a distinct period of shooting, March through May. If cut back at this time, new shoots will not grow.

Bamboo can also be grown outdoors in large, above ground containers. This actually is an excellent method of growing all types of bamboo. The hardy types usually tolerate our winter temperatures. In some winters the top growth may die completely but the roots will survive in above ground containers. Underground containment with concrete, metal or other impenetrable material can be effective if buried 36 inches deep.

Clump types of bamboo that have reached the desired maximum size are rather easy to restrain by mowing closely to the clump, spading around the perimeter or occasionally rototilling around them.

Sometimes people need to completely eliminate an existing stand of bamboo. Selective lawn weed killers will not control bamboo since they are designed to kill only broadleaf plants, not grass. Therefore, a non-selective herbicide must be used. To do this, cut all the stalks to the ground and allow the new growth to emerge and develop leaves during the summer. In October spray the mature foliage with a non-selective herbicide containing glyphosate (ie: Round-up or Kleen-up) at the 2% rate. Repeat the application in 14 days. Be careful to protect non-target plants from any over spray."

You'll notice this is a two step process. It may need to be done more than once to get complete control--which is what you want.  If any bamboo is left alive, it will return. 

IMPORTANT:  Because your bamboo is by a stream (wetland) you will need to use a special glyphosate product formulated for wetlands--otherwise it will kill your aquatic creatures.  Common names are Rodeo or Eraser. 

Bamboo is a designated non-native invasive plant in Maryland.  Congratulations on getting rid of it!


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