How to Kill Wild Outdoor Bamboo Plants

Overview

Though aesthetically attractive, bamboo can be incredibly invasive. North Carolina State University says it's one of the most difficult-to-control ornamental plants. Whether you're faced with ornamental bamboo that's grown wild, or native wild bamboo, control and kill the plant with a combination of both manual labor and chemical sprays.

Step 1

One technique is to dig out the bamboo with a spade, making sure to remove any underground rhizomes, as these will sprout into new plants if they're left in the ground. The Alabama Cooperative Extension says this method is ideal only for small stands of bamboo.

Step 2

For larger stands, cut the bamboo down. Texas A&M University recommends waiting for the plant to grow approximately 2 feet tall, then trimming it to the ground. Repeat until the plant dies. The university reports that repeated cutting will starve the bamboo's underground food reserves and kill even well-established groves.

Step 3

Another alternative is to spray the bamboo with herbicides. This is ideal for those who want a faster method of bamboo eradication that doesn't require repetitive physical labor. The only effective herbicide treatment for killing bamboo is spraying diclobenil in the winter and glyphosate in the summer, according to North Carolina State University. The former helps kill the bamboo's underground rhizomes, while the latter keeps any surviving rhizomes from regrowing.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't use an ax to chop down the bamboo. This causes sharp splinters that can be dangerous. Instead, use pruning shears for thin bamboo canes and a saw for larger ones.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Pruning equipment
  • Herbicides

References

  • "Bamboo for Gardens"; Ted Meredith; 2001
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Bamboo - Tough to Eradicate
  • Texas A&M University: Bamboo
  • North Carolina State University: Bamboo Control
Keywords: kill outdoor bamboo, kill wild bamboo, eradicate bamboo plant

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.