How to Kill Bamboo

Article Posted By: Home Depot Staff

A panda munching on bamboo

Raising a panda is not a practical way to get rid of invasive bamboo.

The all-caps type is your first clue to the torment of the homeowner trying to get rid of bamboo in his back yard.  The Home Depot Community member (ZIPPo5) was desperate for a solution to his titanic battle against the invasive plant, and went to The Home Depot’s online Community Forums to learn how to kill bamboo once and for all:

SOMEONE PLEASE HELP I HAVE BAMBOO YES THAT IS RIGHT BAMBOO GROWING IN MY YARD. IT HAS BEEN HERE FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS AND I HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING TO KILL IT…  IT LITERALLY TAKES A DAY TO CUT IT ALL DOWN JUST TO HAVE IT BE BACK UP AND 7 FEET TALL IN TWO DAYS.

His aggravation is obvious when he describes the increasingly desperate measures he’s taken to eradicate the bamboo, only to see it back within days, as hardy as ever.

I HAVE CUT IT DOWN AND POURED BLEACH ON IT– NOTHING. USED ROCK SALT AND STILL NOTHING. THE ONLY ANSWER I HAVE GOTTEN FROM ANYONE… IS TO DIG IT OUT OF THE GROUND ABOUT 3 FEET AND POUR CEMENT. WELL LET’S BE REALISTIC… HOW MUCH CEMENT WOULD I NEED TO DO THE AREA THAT THE BAMBOO IS IN PLUS 3 FEET? … THE LATEST THING I TRIED WAS DIGGING IT OUT BY THE ROOT THEN DIGGING 2 FEET DOWN AND SETTING THE GROUND ON FIRE [emphasis added]. IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING HOW THAT TURNED OUT– IT’S STILL THERE AND WON’T GO AWAY.

He signs off with what might be the ultimate desperate solution to a bamboo problem.

THANKS FOR ANY IDEAS OR A PANDA I CAN HAVE.

Community associate Travis responded to ZIPP05’s plea for help. He didn’t have any leads on a panda ZIPP05 could borrow. And he pointed out that dumping bleach and salt on the problem could keep the soil from sustaining healthy grass on that glorious day in the future when the bamboo is finally booted out. And ZIPP05’s tactic of digging and then burning the soil? That could actually make the bamboo grow even better, according to Travis.

But he did offer advice on a new anti-bamboo tactic:

Ortho Poison Ivy and Tough Brush Killer Concentrate could be the answer that you are looking for.

This product can be applied to the foliage of the bamboo by mixing it at a rate of 4oz per gallon of water and spraying the leaves.

In your case, I feel that applying the product in concentrated form to fresh cut stems will be more effective. Cut the bamboo stalks to within a few inches of the ground and dab on a generous amount of the Tough Brush Killer Concentrate directly to the fresh cut stems, without mixing it with water.

The bamboo has been growing for 50 years and will not be controlled with one application of weed killer. Diligent cutting and applying the Ortho Concentrate to each fresh cut will eventually bring the bamboo under control.

Community associate Maureen was also there with advice. But she started with a little pep talk for the bamboo beleaguered ZIPP05:

Travis has given you the best advice going! Straight concentrate Tough Brush Killer on fresh cut stems will continue the long, laborious, eradicating war you have waged against your green invader. The battle will be long, but you must be persistent. Travis’ war tactics will have to be repeated again and again.

Her advice on how to kill bamboo — smother the “dirty fighter” of a plant.

After you cut back to the ground, and topically treat the area, try pinning down a plastic vapor barrier across the top of the defiant plants. Use landscape anchoring pins, rocks and boulders to keep the plastic in place. You will want to check under the cover and re-treat at least once, or every other week. This action will only intensify the herbicide and not allow rain to dilute the solution.

We have not heard back from ZIPP05, but our thoughts are with him in his struggle to rescue his back yard from this botanical nightmare.

Panda photo (cc) Kjunstorm

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