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How to Kill Bamboo Cane

By Laura Wallace Henderson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Killing bamboo cane requires plenty of effort.

Bamboo plants add interest to many types of landscape designs. Grown for its ornamental value and useful canes, this grass thrives in various climates and soils. Different varieties of bamboo mature between 12 inches and 60 feet. This member of the grass family spreads rapidly through the formation of above-ground shoots. Many types of bamboo also send out underground runners, causing the invasion of nearby areas. The persistent, spreading characteristics of bamboo canes often necessitate complete removal of this grass from the landscape.

Trim off the upper part of the canes. Depending on the size and strength of your cultivar, use a gas-powered string trimmer or sharp garden shears. Cut the canes as close to the surface of the soil as possible. Remove the cut portions from the site of your bamboo grass to expose the surface soil.

Check outlying areas for evidence of underground runners. These runners often extend as far as 100 feet from the parent plant. These runners spread horizontally a few inches beneath the surface of the soil. Use a sturdy garden shovel to cut through the runners in the soil between the parent plant and the new growth. Pull out as much of the new growth and runner as you can. Dig back along the top of the runner, pulling as you go. Work the entire runner out of the soil in this manner. Leaving runners under the soil allows the likelihood of future cane growth and invasion in other areas of your yard.

Dig up the root section of your bamboo canes. Dig after a rain or lightly water the ground to loosen the roots from the soil. Use your shovel to cut straight down through the roots. Cut the soil and roots in a small circle to break through roots on all sides. Remove these individual sections from the soil by prying your shovel blade beneath the cut section and levering out the root mass. Work your way through your entire bamboo stand in this manner. Remove all signs of roots and canes. This physical task requires strength and determination.

Use an herbicide on very stubborn sections of bamboo and canes that reappear in the soil after mechanical removal. Use an herbicide solution containing glyphosate. Mix and apply this strong herbicide according to the package directions. Avoid overspraying on areas containing other plants.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Herbicide
  • String trimmer
  • Garden shears

About the Author


Laura Wallace Henderson, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear online at Biz Mojo, Walden University and various other websites. She has served as the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." She continues to empower and encourage women everywhere by promoting health, career growth and business management skills.