How do I eradicate a small bamboo grove?

Asked May 5, 2020, 10:06 PM EDT

I read your "I am bamboozled" segment. I have a small grove of established bamboo about 25' X 1' in area up aginst a cedar fence. It's been there about 12 years. Well, the day of reckoning has come. After the last few years of knoking/digging out stray offshoots it is now reachoing about 20 feet into my neighbor's yard. I have cut down the grove to just above ground level. I understand hebicides don't do the trick. And I read the advice given in the forementioned segment. I'm thinking of pouring a salt/vinegar solution into the grove. And I understand that no matter what I do it will take several years to eradicate the remaining rhizones. Are there any non-herbicide treatments you can suggest.

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

Hi: I would not recommend use of a salt and vinegar mix for controlling the bamboo. That might be okay for potato chips, but is not meant to be used as an herbicide!

I think there are almost as many suggestions for how to eradicate bamboo online as there are how to grow it. This is yet another which I think was fairly comprehensive, from the Clemson University Home and Garden Information Center:

As you can see, it does suggest that glyphosate can provide some control, but it may take some time. I think a strategy of digging as much as possible (I know this is very difficult!) and spraying the remainder might be more effective. The text below is from a University of California Weed Science blog and backs up this strategy:

"In essence, the situation was that one neighbor had a large stand of bamboo on the property line and, because it is a "running" rather than "clumping" type of bamboo, it was invading the other neighbor's side of the property line. Bamboo neighbor likes the bamboo and the privacy afforded by the stand, other neighbor does not like bamboo creeping into their lawn and landscape. The question was "how do I control the invading bamboo without killing the whole (clonal) stand?".

They had been cutting the invadors and spraying the shoots with glyphosate with little long-term effect. This reflects the enormity of the root and rhizome system of bamboo - there is a LOT of stored reserves and a LOT of buds that can form new shoots. (we see similar problems with other perennial invasives such as Arundo donax, cattails, scouring rush, field bindweed, etc).

From a herbicide standpoint, glyphosate is probably the most available and easy to use. Materials with the active ingredient imazapyr (Arsenal, Habitat, others) are also supposed to be relatively effective but may have too much residual activity and broad spectrum for a situation in which other plants may be wanted. More importantly, it would be nearly impossible to control only part of a clump with an herbicide - more likely an all-or-none situation.

I found a few links to suggestions for controlling bamboo that I'll post below. Most of them suggested cutting the rhizomes to segregate the invasive portions from the mother plant, then digging and removing the rhizomes. I'd also imagine that this strategy would greatly help the herbicidal efforts as you'd be trying to control a much smaller root/rhizome system"

Te one thing you consistently read with running bamboo is to contain them in the first place. Once they depart the desired growing area, control is time-consuming and difficult.