How do I eradicate wild bamboo?

Asked May 13, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT

I live in a wooded area near Lake Michigan, and have just discovered a patch of wild bamboo growing on our property. I need advice on how to remove it without exacerbating the problem. Please respond as soon as you can - it is growing and spreading quickly! Thank you.

Ottawa County Michigan invasive species

1 Response

The first step in removing bamboo is to remove all the root mass and rhizomes. This is easier said than done.
Eliminating bamboo plants starts with a shovel. The creeping rhizomes and roots of bamboo are virtually immune to the herbicides people normally use on unwanted plants. In order to start to get rid of bamboo, you must physically dig up the offending clump. Make sure you remove as much of the roots as possible, as it can reemerge from the tiniest bit of root left in the soil.

After this, you are NOT done in your efforts to control bamboo spread. This is just the beginning. Even if you think you remove all of the bamboo roots and rhizomes, it will return.

From here you have two options in how to eliminate bamboo. You can either diligently kill bamboo plants as the plants reemerge or you can get rid of the bamboo by mowing it down frequently.

If you opt to get rid of bamboo with chemical controls, as soon as you see new bamboo shoots emerge, spray them with the strongest herbicide you can buy. Eliminating bamboo plants with this method requires that you be very diligent. If you allow a bamboo shoot to grow for too long without treating it, you will have to start over in your control bamboo spread.

If you would like an organic method of eliminating bamboo plants and shoots as they emerge, you can also use boiling water on the shoots. As with the chemical method, you must treat any bamboo shoots as soon as they appear.

If you decide to get rid of bamboo with the mowing method, mow over the area where the bamboo was as frequently as you do your lawn. Use the lowest deck setting on your mower. Frequent mowing can deplete and starve the bamboo, but it take at least two years of regular mowing to see any results.

Regardless of the method you use to kill bamboo plants, expect that it will take you two to three years of treating the infested area before you will completely control bamboo spread.

Good luck with this project. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us again!