Shannon R
Shannon R
  • Hometalker
  • Houston, TX
Asked on Jun 28, 2013

How do I get rid of running bamboo?

Brenda De LairCate169756
+16

Answered

Before I bought my house, the people who lived here before me planted running (not clumping) bamboo in the backyard, I assume for privacy since we have chain-link fences. I hate it. It's since taken over the yard, despite repeated attempts to cut it down, burn it, etc. It is also a great home to bugs, snakes, and rats, and I worry whenever my two Pomeranians start poking around in it. Any advice on how to get rid of this nuisance plant, once and for all?
I actually took this photo in the rain for the cardinal couple hanging out on the hammock, but here you can see just some of the bamboo in the yard.
I actually took this photo in the rain for the cardinal couple hanging out on the hammock, but here you can see just some of the bamboo in the yard.
19 answers
  • Peggy Davis
    on Jun 28, 2013

    dig, dig, dig it up!

  • Shannon R
    on Jun 28, 2013

    I've tried, Peggy, I've tried! :-) If you leave just one tiny bit of a root somewhere, if comes back! Since we have clay soil here in Houston, it's hard to get to all of it. Plus the roots are really deep -- they've even gone through my water pipes!

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Jun 28, 2013

    well....short of moving......you just have to be more aggressive, tenacious and vigilant than your obnoxious, unwanted boarder. (I sure hope someone gets that really bad pun!) Seriously though, the following is easier done by two people, but not impossible for one to manage. Take a pair of loppers and cut the cane about 6" from the ground. Have the second person equipped with a container of full strength weed killer or brush killer with a foam paint brush. As soon as the cut is made by the first person, the second person paints a nice dollop of the chemical onto the the stump, making sure to make good contact with where the cut was made and inside of the cut as well. This is not an overnight fix. You continue to have runners pop up. if you catch the babies unfurling before they become 'caney' and you can just spray or paint the leaves. Your Bamboo will eventually diminish. Or you can dry it and make fishing canes...or I once made a really awesome window hanging by using hemp string!

  • Shannon R
    on Jun 28, 2013

    LOL, Donna! Thanks for your suggestion. I will definitely try it -- so far this blasted stuff has resisted all attempts to get rid of it. I was starting to fear that the nuclear option was all I had left!

  • Barbara Thomas
    on Jun 28, 2013

    Donna Dixson has the right solution. Ortho makes a fantastic solution that kills everything! It sprays on which would be easier.

  • Shannon R
    on Jun 28, 2013

    Thanks, Barbara! Looks like my handyman and I will be making a Home Depot run soon!

  • Jana Shaw
    on Jun 28, 2013

    My husband had this at a house he lived at before we met. He tells of digging and digging, and says there is a root that is like a huge fist that you have to dig up. He tried all kinds of sprays and poisons, but nothing worked except digging until he got that knot root. He said it took him 2 to 3 years of digging at it whenever he could. Good luck!

  • Shannon R
    on Jun 28, 2013

    Oh, geez, Jana! I feel bad for your husband -- and myself!

  • 169756
    on Jun 28, 2013

    We have the same problem we have fought for 4 years. And ours is in our neighbors yard! Thankfully we are moving. The next owner can figure it out. We are done. IF we ever run into the problem again, I will attempt this fix. Hopefully our life with bamboo/cane is over.

  • 169756
    on Jun 28, 2013

    However, I will miss our garden. We will begin again. We did this in 4 years, including the crape myrtles.

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  • Connie
    on Jun 28, 2013

    All I can say is tame it. We have the same here and for 28 years have tried to kill it off! However, those runners go all over the yard (1 acre). We even backhoed the whole shebang down the side a good 4 feet deep, poured gas and burned what was left. We have backhoed and dug up ours 3 times now to no avail. Guess what- it came back!! You are really going to just get frustrated as I did and am. Now I just beat it back literally, cut it with a scythe but when young a weedwacker works well. I rip/dig out as many roots as possible, and then mow that area consistently. HOWEVER, a root must have replanted itself in the middle of the yard as now I have a 10 x 10 patch coming up. I just keep mowing it. I have used all commercial stuff, organic stuff, dog leavings, to no avail. Now I just tame it as much as possible beat it back, great for frustration it gives me growing, and then try real hard to keep it contained. If you find a solution PLEASE let me know.

  • Kimberly Barney
    on Jun 28, 2013

    A friend of mine had a large portion of her yard being taken over by bamboo planted by a neighbor that was about to cause issues with her inground pool. They rented a small front hoe for a weekend, dug up all the bamboo, burned it, and put a large sheet of sheet metal along the boundary of their yard. It is impossible to get rid of any other way that I know of as she had tried the vinegar treatment to no avail.

  • Irene Fisher
    on Jun 28, 2013

    Hope you all find a solution, then maybe I will too. We actually planted ours ourselves because we wanted a Winter wind break on the NorthWest side of our property, well we certainly have that and then some. I get to go outside and take care of new shoots every couple of days and mow a lot. Luckily it only grows around this time of year and stops coming up by late summer, but who knows what's going on underground....worry about my above ground pool too, already had one shoot push through last year.

  • Eli
    on Jun 28, 2013

    Don't know if this will help or not, but I've had the same problem. My next door neighbor has running bamboo planted right up against our "mutual" backyard fence. It has come up in my back yard in a couple places, and if you catch it early, you can pull it right up, but after that, I just cut it as low to the ground as possible, and after actually mowing over it a couple weeks in a row, it never came back. Perhaps if you can't kill it with chemicals, just shock it to death with the mower! :-)

  • Vicki R
    on Jun 28, 2013

    My neighbor planted it to provide afternoon shade. Her large patio stops it on her property but it has traveled in numerous spots the entire length of my backyard (double lot) and is coming up in 3 other neighbors yards. I can easily mow it down every week (it grows 12-18 inches weekly) but I don't want to destroy my flower beds and landscaping. It is so frustrating as my neighbor is unconcerned. I'm afraid as I age I won't be able to keep up with it & I will be surrounded by a bamboo jungle. Sorry, I have no suggestions!

  • Shannon R
    on Jun 28, 2013

    Kathleen, your garden is beautiful! I'm so envious! I'm sad to see that so many others have had problems with this obnoxious plant. Some of the bamboo in my yard has moved over to a few clumps in two other yards, but so far it seems to be contained. I still feel bad about it, though. Someone over on Houzz wrote a column a couple of days ago actually extolling the virtues of bamboo, and some other people in the same situation as all of us have blasted it (I did, too). But there are several others who defend bamboo and say we are big ol' meanies for dumping on it. All I can say is, they must live in the Arctic or something, because if they lived in a warm climate they wouldn't be so quick to defend it! Good luck, everyone!

  • 169756
    on Jun 29, 2013

    Thanks Shannon. I will miss my gardens. After reading all the stuff on here about the bamboo I'm not sure there is a cure. We thought (if we were staying) to just concrete that side of our yard so it wouldn't encroach into our yard, developing a utility area there with a garden shed and perhaps a gazebo. But if someone is having issues with it regarding an inground pool, I'm not sure that would even help. Anyway, I feel your pain since we've dealt with it for 4 years. Perhaps you need a panda:(

  • Cate
    on Jun 29, 2013

    Dynamite !!!!!! But then you'd inflict it on the neighborhood.

  • Brenda De Lair
    on Jun 30, 2013

    How abut putting it to work for you? Harvest it and make some cool stuff or just sell it for others to craft with. Just a thought.

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