Bamboo elimination

Asked February 22, 2020, 2:22 PM EST

I have a stand of more than 1,000 bamboo trees on my property and adjacent lots, and I would like guidance on how to dispose of them and get rid of them for good. I’m told it’s an invasive species, and I know others in Cheverly want this information as well. Thomas Ruyle Cheverly

Prince George's County Maryland

1 Response

Hello. Yes, this type of bamboo is invasive and it is very difficult to control. Since it sounds like there is a lot of it covering your and adjacent lots, you might consider working with your neighbors to have a landscaping company remove it.

Contact landscaping companies that advertise that they do bamboo removal and ask them to describe their process. Only consider those companies that clearly describe using equipment to lift out and remove all the rhizomes (underground stems) from the soil (after top growth is removed). These companies are using equipment that can dig up and sift through soil to lift out rhizomes. This 3-step method (remove top growth, dig up and remove as many rhizome pieces as possible, and remove or spray re-growth) is the quickest path to being able to greatly limit re-growth and prepare the area for new planting. Approaches that rely only on top growth removal and herbicide applications may take much longer to achieve the same result.

If you want to try to do the work on your own, cut all the stalks to the ground and allow the new growth to emerge and develop leaves during the summer. In October, spray the mature foliage with a non-selective herbicide containing glyphosate. (There are some glyphosate products labeled for bamboo.) Repeat the application in 14 days. Follow all label directions and be careful to protect non-target plants from any overspray. This may need to be repeated for several seasons. Bamboo is semi-evergreen and has a waxy coating on the stems and leaves, so a surfactant product (helps the herbicide stick to the leaves) is advisable. If any bamboo is left alive, it will return. The plant material should be disposed of in your municipal trash/landfill (not yard waste). See our bamboo publication, https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/Weeds/HG28%20Bamboo_2018.pdf

Christa