How to Kill Mexican Bamboo


Mexican bamboo (Polygonum cuspidatum) is native to Japan and was brought to North America as an ornamental garden plant. The plant grows from 3 to 9 feet tall and has attractive triangular leaves and flower clusters that resemble lilac blooms. This plant spread rapidly and has become an invasive plant throughout much of the country. Gardeners with Mexican bamboo in their yard have several years of labor ahead of them to remove this plant, because it re-establishes from underground rhizomes and spreads aggressively.

Step 1

Cut the stalks of Mexican bamboo down to the ground using a scythe or garden clippers.

Step 2

Wait for the plant to begin growing again, as it will. Then cut it down to the ground level again.

Step 3

Keep cutting it down to deplete the plant's energy level and exhaust the rhizomes, or roots, underground. If a plant gets continually cut down when it tries to grow, it will use up all of its energy over time and then die. This is the best way to kill Mexican bamboo, but it does take time.

Step 4

Mix glyphosate with water following the directions on the label, then pour it into a spray bottle. Wear rubber gloves and a protective face mask while working with this herbicide.

Step 5

Coat the plant's leaves with the glyphosate herbicide solution to kill the plant chemically. This herbicide kills any plant it comes into contact with, so don't let it land on other plants. Apply the glyphosate solution in the autumn and reapply it each autumn until the plant dies.

Things You'll Need

  • Scythe
  • Garden clippers
  • Rubber gloves
  • Face mask
  • Glyphosate
  • Water
  • Spray bottle


  • University of Minnesota: Mexican Bamboo
  • University of Maine: Japanese Knotweed/Mexican Bamboo
Keywords: Mexican bamboo control, remove Mexican bamboo, Japanese knotweed

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.