How To Get Rid Of Bamboo If It Takes Over Your Garden

Whether planted with good intentions or not, bamboo plants can swiftly become a "Godzilla" in the kingdom of peonies, parsley, or other green companions you might have royally cultivated for so long. The reason lies not in the visible stalks of bamboo but beneath the surface. Bamboo spreads frustration via rhizomes, underground stems that stretch horizontally beneath the soil's crust. We can liken the rhizomes to the arms of an octopus; they lurk unseen, waiting for the perfect moment to shoot. 

So, what is the best way to get rid of bamboo, you may ask? Your weaponry ranges from simple tarps to smother the intruders beneath to digging out the rhizomes. Curious about the best bamboo root killer? A glyphosate-infused herbicide, undiluted white vinegar, and a more primal approach — scorching with boiling water, top the gardening advice charts. The ease, however, greatly depends on the adversary you're targeting. 

Ever heard of running bamboo? Be wary of this variety; it's the trickiest of them all. With a sprawling network of rhizomes ready to shoot up at any opportunity, getting rid of this invasive plant is quite strenuous. In sharp contrast, there's the clumping bamboo, less aggressive with a more compact growth habit and, thankfully, simpler to eliminate. But remember that procrastination spells disaster, especially when facing an invasive bamboo species.

How to get rid of bamboo from your garden

Choking out bamboo's life source could be your first line of attack. Begin with chopping the bamboo stalks at the base using a mower or saw. Sustain the uprising until you notice no fresh sprouts emerging. Having established your dominance, drape the bamboo-contaminated terrain with heavy-duty tarps. This obstruction cuts off the life-sustaining triad of sunlight, air, and water, driving the plants to their doomed fate. Smaller bamboo patches or clumping bamboo plants may benefit from digging. Begin with drenching the bamboo patch with a garden hose or sprinkler, then chop the bamboo. Next, loosen the soil and heave the bamboo plant out. For the invasive bamboo, be relentless in your hunt and extermination of the rhizomes.

An expected ally you may seek in warfare against these botanical invaders is a glyphosate-laced herbicide (when aimed at new shoots). But heed caution, for glyphosate is indiscriminate, and you might become the destroyer of more than just your bamboo. Alternatively, dig around the invasive plant to place the roots in the crosshairs, then douse them with boiling water, cooking them to death. But you might need to scald the roots repeatedly for total control. Distilled white vinegar provides another natural way of removing bamboo. Trim the bamboo close to the ground and dig around it to unveil the root system, then unleash undiluted vinegar over the roots and rhizomes. Again, total victory might take several rounds over a few years.