How to Get Rid of Bamboo

Get Rid of Bamboo

Bamboo is a highly versatile plant used for food (ask the pandas), construction materials, and living fences. However, bamboo spreads aggressively and grows quickly, becoming problematic for many gardeners. Discover how to get rid of bamboo with our comprehensive guide.

What is bamboo?

Running Bamboo

Bamboo is a fast-growing perennial and a member of the grass family. It produces tall, slender stems joined at a base and is native to many parts of the works. Depending on the type of bamboo, it can be an invasive species. However, the good news is cultivars like clumping bamboo are easier to control.

Running bamboo

Running bamboo is an invasive plant. It spreads horizontally through underground stems known as rhizomes, shooting up new canes, also known as culms. Running bamboo often requires routine maintenance or root barriers to prevent it from encroaching on unwanted areas like your neighbor’s yard. 

Clumping bamboo

Clumping bamboo has a more compact growth habit. The underground rhizomes grow upright, closely together from a central origin at ground level. Clumping bamboo is non-invasive and easier to remove. However, it still requires thinning and routine maintenance to maintain its appearance and regrowth.

How to get rid of bamboo

Clumping bamboo

There are several ways to remove the invasive plant, depending on the species of bamboo. Bamboo eradication can take several years, and there’s no magic wand you can wave to make your yard bamboo-free instantly.

Removing bamboo with herbicides

Non-selective herbicides with glyphosate kill any plant they come into contact with. They are not the most environmental option and will kill native plants and harm beneficial pollinators like pesticides. 

Cut back new shoots and canes to ground level. Apply a weed killer, like RoundUp, to the cut stumps–the herbicide will travel through the stump to kill the roots. Herbicides are not the fastest option available and can take two or three years to kill the bamboo. 

Manual removal

Manual bamboo removal is effective but labor-intensive. This method requires removing the root ball to eliminate the plant. Remove the stalks with a handsaw before digging. 

Next, wet the soil and use a shovel to dig around the base of the bamboo. Once you hit the rhizomes, start pulling the plant out. Be sure to remove all rhizomes. If you miss one, the plant will grow back.


Since bamboo is a grass, it can tolerate occasional mowing. However, it does not tolerate frequent mowing, and after two to three years of regular mowing, the bamboo will run out of resources and die.

Before you mow, cut the bamboo to ground level with a chainsaw or lopper. Mow new bamboo growth on the lowest lawnmower setting. Continue to mow down regrowth regularly.

Boiling water

Boiling water is one of the easiest DIY bamboo removal methods. Cut back the stalks then simply dig to expose the roots. Pour boiling water over the root area. Continue this method with new growth. 

Bamboo control methods

Bamboo containment is a great way to stop bamboo from spreading in your yard while still enjoying the privacy and serenity it offers. 

Install a rhizome barrier

Bamboo barrier
RCraig09 | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Rhizome barriers keep rhizomes and bamboo roots from spreading. They comprise concrete, metal, or plastic. 

Dig a trench around the bamboo plant (2 inches deeper than the roots), install the barrier, and refill the trench.

Pro tip: Experts recommend high-density polyethylene plastic because of its durability. 

Use a container

Bamboo in a Pot
Katsjandra | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Planting bamboo in a container garden is one of the easiest ways to keep the grass in check. Since the pot holds the whole root system, the bamboo can’t spread.

When choosing a pot, the bigger the better, but ten gallons or more is recommended.

Sever the rhizomes

Take a shovel and dig a barrier around the bamboo’s rhizomes, signifying where they should stop growing. Keep dressing your shovel into the ground, creating a perimeter around the base. Sever all of the rhizomes a few times a year to keep the bamboo from spreading. 

FAQ how to get rid of bamboo

Can I kill bamboo with diesel or gasoline?

Harsh chemicals like diesel and gasoline can kill bamboo, but this method is NOT recommended. Herbicides are a safer way to eradicate bamboo. 

If you are looking for an organic solution, try vinegar or boiling water. Vinegar is not as effective as herbicides but is a much safer option than gasoline if you are patient and consistent with your applications.

When is the best season to kill bamboo plants?

New culms grow between March and May, making spring the best time to kill bamboo.

How much does professional bamboo removal cost?

It depends on where you live and how much bamboo you need to remove, but on average, homeowners pay between $425 to $1,850 for bamboo removal. 


Contacting a landscaping professional is the most effective way to remove overgrown bamboo. It will save you time and money in the long run, especially if you haven’t removed bamboo before. Let Lawn Love connect you with a local landscaping company. They can take care of your invasive grass and your routine lawn care. 

Main photo credit: Unsplash

Stuart Kushner

Stuart Kushner is a writer and aspiring product designer based in New York City. When he isn’t doing either, Stuart enjoys heavy metal music, exercise, and trying new food and drinks.