From the Forums: How to Kill Bamboo

Posted by: on August 10th, 2012 | 25 Comments
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A panda munching on bamboo

Raising a panda is not a practical way to get rid of invasive bamboo in your back yard

 

The all-caps type is your first clue to the torment of the homeowner trying to get rid of bamboo in his back yard. Home Depot Community member ZIPP05 was desperate for a solution to his titanic battle against the invasive plant, and went to The Home Depot’s online Community Forums to learn how to kill bamboo once and for all:

SOMEONE PLEASE HELP I HAVE BAMBOO YES THAT IS RIGHT BAMBOO GROWING IN MY YARD. IT HAS BEEN HERE FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS AND HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING TO KILL IT…  IT LITERALLY TAKES A DAY TO CUT IT ALL DOWN JUST TO HAVE IT BE BACK UP AND 7 FEET IN TWO DAYS.

His aggravation is obvious when he describes the increasingly desperate measures he’s taken to eradicate the bamboo, only to see it back within days, as hardy as ever.

I HAVE CUT IT DOWN AND POURED BLEACH ON IT– NOTHING. USED ROCK SALT AND STILL NOTHING. ONLY ANSWERS I HAVE GOTTEN BY ANYONE… IS TO DIG IT OUT OF THE GROUND ABOUT 3 FEET AND POUR CEMENT. WELL LET’S BE REALISTIC… HOW MUCH CEMENT WOULD I NEED TO DO THE AREA THAT THE BAMBOO IS IN PLUS 3 FEET? … THE LATEST THING I TRIED WAS DIGGING IT OUT BY ROOT THEN DIGGING 2 FEET DOWN AND SETTING THE GROUND ON FIRE [emphasis added]. IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING HOW THAT TURNED OUT– IT’S STILL THERE AND WON’T GO AWAY.

He signs off with what might be the ultimate desperate solution to a bamboo problem.

THANKS FOR ANY IDEAS OR A PANDA I CAN HAVE.

Community associate LawnRanger responded to ZIPP05′s plea for help. He didn’t have any leads on a panda ZIPP05 could borrow. And he pointed out that dumping bleach and salt on the problem could keep the soil from sustaining healthy grass on that glorious day in the future when the bamboo is finally booted out. And ZIPP05′s tactic of digging and then burning the soil? That could actually make the bamboo grow even better, said LawnRanger.

But he did offer advice on a new anti-bamboo tactic:

Ortho Poison Ivy and Tough Brush Killer Concentrate could be the answer that you are looking for.

This product can be applied to the foliage of the bamboo by mixing it at a rate of 4oz per gallon of water and spraying the leaves.

In your case, I feel that applying the product in concentrated form to fresh cut stems will be more effective. Cut the bamboo stalks to within a few inches of the ground and dab on a generous amount of the Tough Brush Killer Concentrate directly to the fresh cut stems, without mixing it with water.

The bamboo has been growing for 50 years and will not be controlled with one application of weed killer. Diligent cutting and applying the Ortho Concentrate to each fresh cut will eventually bring the bamboo under control.

Community associate BostonRoots was also there with advice. But she started with a little pep talk for the bamboo beleaguered ZIPP05:

LawnRanger has given you the best advice going! Straight concentrate Tough Brush Killer on fresh cut stems will continue the long, laborious, eradicating war you have waged against your green invader. The battle will be long, but you must be persistent. LawnRangers war tactics will have to be repeated again and again.

Her advice on how to kill bamboo — smother the “dirty fighter” of a plant.

After you cut back to the ground, and topically treat the area, try pinning down a plastic vapor barrier across the top of the defiant plants. Use landscape anchoring pins, rocks and boulders to keep the plastic in place. You will want to check under the cover and re-treat at least once, or every other week. This action will only intensify the herbicide and not allow rain to dilute the solution.

We have not heard back from ZIPP05, but our thoughts are with him in his struggle to rescue his back yard from this botanical nightmare.

We have more advice and project ideas from our experts. Visit the Forums for DIY tips and tricks from our store associates. From the Forums Friday is our weekly column highlighting the best of The Home Depot’s Community Forums.

Panda photo (cc) Kjunstorm

 

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  1. Zipster257 says:

    I had the same problem and NOTHING would stop it, I even tried burning it. Then someone suggested Morton Pool Salt like you put in backyard ponds or pools. I sprinkled a ton of it on there and VOILA, it all died. Only problem is so did anything growing where I poured the salt. No worries though, the bamboo took over everything anyway. It’s been five years and still not one shoot has grown. You have to do at least two applications if not more, but be persistent and I swear your “boo” problems will be a thing of the past. It’s a miracle cure if you ask me…Morton Pool Salt…there is no substitutute!

  2. We have paid to have a multitude of very very tall Bamboo removed from our property. (My Mother started a Japanese Garden 50 years ago and planted a very few Bamboo with no barriers) Now, almost immediately, it is growing back. Roundup DOES NOT WORK. What can I do – we want to Landscape our backyard? Is there some type of “old home remedy”?
    HELP !!!!!!!!!

  3. Corinna says:

    We bought a house with a problem.
    It had a gig bamboo hedge in the front .
    We got someone with a digger to dig it up .
    That erea is ok, but now it comes out in the rest of the front yard .
    It seems to get more and more .
    No matter what we try . We kill the lawn but not the bamboo .
    H E L P ! Please ! Thanks .

  4. Jack the bamboo Ripper says:

    THANK YOU !!!!!! runners are a foot away from my house foundation—-ugh !

  5. chris says:

    I have done EVERYTHING and NOW I give up! I will be paying $1800. to a company to dig down with a back hoe 4 feet (or more). They are bringing up all of the roots. They will then lay down a barrier of some kind of plastic. They will then pour 4 feet of crushed rock over this. I might also have cement poured on top of that! I have spent so much money on my FRONT yard over the years. Not to mention the time and PAIN and SUFFERING I have gone through. I don’t know what else to do and have thrown in the towel!!!

  6. Traylynn Kaise says:

    I am an older woman, living alone, and on a fixed income. My neighbor planted invasive bamboo on his side of MY driveway, knowing full well that it would invade my yard. He refused to put down a bamboo barrier because he didn’t want to go to the trouble or expense. Last fall, I worked like a dog using nothing but a shovel to dig up my back yard and planted tall fescue, which I have babied and was looking beautifully until he scalped it. I was able to save the lawn, but made it clear to him that I didn’t want him to mow my yard. I never asked him to in the. First place because I have a Gardner. This year I go to my backyard every single day and kill his bamboo which is happily thriving in my yard. I pray every day that he move. He doesn’t actually own the house; his friend does, but his friend does not live the, so John can do whatever he likes. I’m losing the amboo battle and am about ready to just let it tackle over like it wants to and just never go to my backyard again. Aside from killing my neighbor, how can I get rid of this trashy pestilence once and for all.

  7. Job says:

    Thank you very much for the advice, I really hope this helps. I spent all day yesterday trying to cut down the bamboo to its root but it is so tough that I couldnt get more than 10″ down.

    • Craig Allen says:

      We’re glad you found this helpful.

      Good luck with the bamboo.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  8. Traylynn Kaise says:

    I spent an entire month last summer digging up my backyard, which was a barren desert, treating the dead soil, and planting grass. Now, I have a beautiful lawn growing vigorously back there. However, my neighbor’s bamboo has crawled under my driveway and is coming up in ever-thicker stalks in my yard. My question is, will the Ortho product discussed here also kill my hard-fought-for grass?

    • Craig Allen says:

      The instructions say not to use it on St. Augustine, Centipede, or Bermuda Grass lawns. That means it’s likely to kill the bits of grass that come in contact with the Ortho along with the poison ivy (or bamboo, in your case). But the grass should come back fairly quickly. The bamboo will, too, but if you keep after it, you will eventually prevail.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  9. William says:

    I have been batlling bamboo spreading into my yard for many years. Early last year 2013 i dug up six garbage cans full of roots, some 15 feet long and still towards the end of summer new shoots were sprouting close to the original thicket in my neighbors yard.
    I have found a way of stopping that spreading and has been very successful.
    When a new shoot appears above ground, I use a one and a half inch wood drill bit and drill down the new shoot to the main runner then pour a correct diluted mix of ORTHO Poison Ivy and Root Kill into the hole. The diluted version helps to find the main root and will take about four weeks before it runs back to the plant killing all of the new shoots on the way.

    This method, along with a little patience, has proven very effective.

  10. Sonia says:

    Thank you for all the comments. I purchased a property where the lady had planted bamboo. The strata council asked her to remove it because it had invaded the neighbouring properties. She hired a BC Arborist and the company cut the stalks, leaving the stumps. She paid $4,000. I have been battling the problem for 2 years in my own yard as well as the neighbours yards.
    This past week I hired an excavating company and had all the English Laurel removed as it was right through every space. As well they removed 2 feet of soil. It cost $9,000.
    Yesterday I purchased 6 ML plastic and will cover the space, the place I purchased the plastic recommended this product. I am concerned about the neighbours properties, and will ask their permission to use this product.
    Any recommendations as to treating the soil before I lay the plastic?

  11. James B. Elmore says:

    From the American Bamboo Society Website:
    http://www.bamboo.org/wp/news/files/downloads/2012/05/Bamboo-Invasiveness-and-Control-Statement-draft-6-1.pdf

    If you must remove unwanted bamboo, the only truly effective way to get rid of it is to dig it out. The ABS does not recommend using chemicals to kill bamboo because of the potential for environmental damage from ground and water contamination and the potential for contact with humans and animals. I you inherit a “problem” bamboo, the fastest and most cost effective means of removing it or managing it is to hire someone with expertise to assist you.
    u.

  12. Marion Calandrelli says:

    I am on my way to purchase the Ortho killer for the bamboo. Our neighbor planted one bush years ago and it has spread everywhere into surrounding neighbor’s yards and has grown thru our blacktop garage floor, up thru the walls in our garage and under our fence. We have tried digging up the roots and spraying but as you know it keeps coming back and spreading. We will try your recommendations of spraying and covering. I have my fingers crossed it will work. Thanks for the information.

  13. Barbara Beardsley says:

    My 1926 had a huge field of day lilies in front of a hedge that extended across the side front of my property. The bamboo planted 8 years ago only succeeded in invading twice into that 8 foot by 30 foot square area. When I cut it back, it did not regrow! Before that adventure, I tried to give away day lilies online in my county at a free site. They were very dense. Once dozens were dug up, within one month they were growing back. I realized that I had day lilies many feet deep. I do not know how deep but deep enough so that bamboo has not had a victory. Has never reached the hedge nor several evergreens that line my driveway which are in front of the lilies. The open area where I had roses and Queen Anne Lace and some succulents has not been as lucky. I cut down the giant bamboo when it jumped my huge trench that I had created around the bamboo and was on its way to my blue spruce. I am moving the roses out of this part of the yard. I have seen a successful battle with forsynthia (spelling?) and so I am putting shoots in the trench along with day lililies. I am going to put a barrier of 2 inch flashing (roll from Home Depot is cheap) and cover the area with soil, mulch and a moss which grows in another part of my yard. Moisture may come in handy. I am also putting a flashing barrier around the planting area where the 8 year old blue spruce is living. I continue to cut back and prevent the bamboo from developing — after every rain I am out there. It is doing poorly now after several years of this. I have tried vinegar and I have seen some success by digging down and slashing the roots with my edger. I have been able to pull up many roots but not enough to save the roses. Lamps Ears, succulents, and the lilies are doing well. If I an contain the bamboo with the new trench idea then I will plant day lilies everywhere — Maybe I will win.

    • Barbara Beardsley says:

      Error in my statement above is that the flashing is 12 inches wide and not 2 inches. The flashing has to be at least 6 inches wide but I am not taking any chances.

  14. [...] a tricky thing for gardeners. If the wrong variety sets its roots in your yard, you may be in for a huge struggle to get rid of the bamboo. But it’s a beautiful plant, and it can make a great natural screen, while being a lovely [...]

  15. Dianne Johnson says:

    I plan to use diesel fuel on freshly cut stems . Think it will work???

    • Craig Allen says:

      Honestly, no. And I’d highly recommend NOT pouring diesel fuel in your yard at any time. It’s not likely to stop your bamboo, and it’s nasty stuff you don’t want in your soil.

      If you want to go the route of treating new growth, use a herbicide made for that purpose. The poison ivy and tough brush killer mentioned in this article– or a similar product– is a much better way to go.

      I hope you get control of your bamboo problem. If you’d like more advice (or encouragement!), check out our online How-To Community. Our gardening experts there might be able to offer different suggestions based on your particular situation.

      –Craig, from The Home Depot

  16. Troy says:

    Bamboo grows along rhizomes. What I do is use a long post digging pole or some other means to expose the rhizome (uncut). It is like cable, so you can pull a long section of it out of the ground. Then I make several slashes in it and quickly spray a combination of crossbow herbicide and roundup pro into the gashes. It kills the rhizome and does not kill the surrounding trees etc that you do not want to kill.

  17. Donald says:

    I have tried most everything to get rid of Bamboo —- it is still there –

    I am 78 years old and this plant is the worst plant in the world
    I can not dig it out with any machine — no room in yard to bring anything in

    Can someone give me a better solution to this problem of getting rid of Bamboo ?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Donald.

      The wrong kind of bamboo can be a real curse.

      I’m sorry to say that, as this article says, there isn’t an easy solution to your invasive bamboo problem.

      About your best bet is to apply brush killer directly to new shoots. Use the herbicide in concentrated form– don’t water it down, in other words. And, as the article says, you’ll have to keep doing this on a fairly regular basis many times. It literally could take years to eradicate the bamboo fully. But I think you’ll at least see the bamboo stop expanding fairly quickly.

      Good luck.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot