How to Kill Bamboo


Bamboo is an attractive, fast-growing grass which is used as an ornamental plant and a source of strong, woody canes. Bamboo come in two main varieties: running and clumping. Running bamboo spreads aggressively in long, continuous chains while clumping bamboo grows in dense stands. Both running and clumping bamboo have extremely tough root systems and are difficult to kill off completely. Although you may get lucky and kill your bamboo the first time, it might take two treatments to finish the job.

Step 1

Apply a glyphosate weedkiller, such as Roundup, directly to the leaves of all the bamboo stalks in a stand. Use the weedkiller when it is not raining, because rain can wash it away. Allow the weedkiller one week to begin killing the bamboo.

Step 2

Cut a small group of canes down to near ground level with with garden shears, a sickle or other cutting tool.

Step 3

Immediately paint weed killer onto the ends of the freshly cut stalks. According to Bamboo Inspiration, the sap starts to retreat into the stalks within 15 seconds; if you do not apply weedkiller within that time , it will not penetrate the root system and the bamboo will regrow.

Step 4

Watch the area for two weeks. Cut off any new stalks that form and paint the ends with weed killer to completely kill off the roots.

Step 5

Dig up the root system if you plan to grow other plants in the area. Dig a large pit where you were growing the bamboo, removing all the stumps and roots. Because bamboo has a large and complex, branching root system, this can be a time-consuming process.

Step 6

Replace back the soil and replant the area with other plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Glyphosate Garden shears Scythe Spade


  • Bamboo Inspiration: How to Kill Bamboo
Keywords: kill bamboo plants, kill running bamboo, kill clumping bamboo

About this Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has nearly five years' experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.