The Best Way to Trim Bamboo


Bamboo is a member of the grass family Gramineae. It is useful in the home landscape as a privacy screen or as a feature to draw long vertical lines in the landscape and grows equally well in containers. Bamboo can be classified into clumping varieties and running varieties. Clumping varieties grow in a tight clump and stay well within the planted area. Running varieties need to be pruned back yearly to keep them from taking over the landscape. Bamboo plants that have been ignored lose their character and can be rejuvenated with careful pruning.

Step 1

Prune away new bamboo shoots growing out of bounds each spring. Some varieties of bamboo can take over the landscape if not contained. Use pruning shears to cut off shoots at ground level or mow over unwanted shoots while lawn mowing.

Step 2

Use a small, clean hand saw to cut away a few of the oldest bamboo stems at ground level each winter or early in the spring. This encourages new growth at ground level and fills in the lower levels with foliage.

Step 3

Saw away a few additional older stems to 6 to 12 inches above ground level to encourage new buds and branching. Old, neglected stands can be rejuvenated by cutting up to half of the stems in this manner, then cutting the remaining half a few months later when the new growth is established.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or lawn mower
  • Small hand saw


  • University of Florida Horticulture News: Bamboo Behaves
  • Ohio State University: How to Contain Bamboo
  • University of California Master Gardener Program: Q&A Tips on How to Prune Bamboo
Keywords: trim bamboo, prune bamboo, contain bamboo

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.