Bamboo Removal – How to Remove Bamboo from Your Yard

Although various bamboo species whose appearance is likely a tree and often called “bamboo – tree”, the bamboo plant does not belong to any tree family but the subfamily of the perennial evergreen grass family. Due to having its own spreading characteristics of the grass family, bamboo is considered to be the fastest-growing plant on the planet.

In fact, there are over 1,400 different species of bamboo all around the world. Bamboos are generally separated into two main groups: clumping bamboo and running bamboo.


Why Do We Have To Get Rid Of Bamboo Roots?

Because of bamboo’s eye-catching visual, many homeowners use it for their landscape and decorative purpose for their property. However, once mature bamboo’s rhizomes gain a strong foothold, it can become a serious challenge for bamboo removal.

What if bamboo plants spread so invasively that gardeners can not resist its wrong growth direction? You must learn to control a bamboo root system to protect your garden and property, rather than let the worst problems happen.


There are several methods to remove bamboo. Keep reading and figure out which is the easiest method for you to get rid of bamboo, as well as the cost factors of bamboo removal.

Table of Contents

  • I. Types of Bamboos
    • 1. Lumping Bamboo
    • 2. Running Bamboo
  • II. Methods of Bamboo Removal
    • 1. Cut Down Bamboo
    • 2. Water Bamboo
    • 3. Dig Up New Bamboo Shoots
    • 4. Smother Bamboo With Tarps
  • III. Containment
    • 1. Bamboo Roots Barrier
    • 2. Bamboo Maintenance
  • IV. Should We Kill Bamboos With Poisons and Chemicals?
  • V. When Is The Best Time To Kill Bamboo Plants?
  • VI. Cost of Bamboo Removal
  • VII. Professional Bamboo Removal

Before starting, you might want to bring some equipment with you for the thorough preparation of the bamboo removal job. A handsaw, a shovel with a sharp tip, a pruner, etc. would be fine if you want to do it on your own.


I. Types of Bamboos

At first, you need to have a deep understanding of this plant so that you could choose the right type and species of bamboo, as well as which method of bamboo removal for your garden. As we discussed above, bamboo species are generally separated into two distinct categories: clumping and running bamboo. So, how and what makes it different? It is because of its rhizome developments, which is known as the portion of bamboo below the ground level and sprout roots below.

bamboo rhizomes


Clumping bamboo is known as a sympodial species and has shorter rhizomes, which means it has a more compact growth habit than runners. Its rhizome has the tendency to stay closer to its original point and turns upward from the central plant to form aerial culms. Therefore, clumping bamboos are considered to spread not so rapidly.

In turn, the root of clumping bamboo is much easier to remove than any other species of bamboo.

clumping bamboos roots

The area in which clumping bamboos could grow is limited by the climate zones. If you are living in warmer climate areas, the cold-hardy clumping species must struggle with high temperatures in the summer and usually die because of heat and humidity. In colder areas, cold-hardy clumpers will be fine and take several years to reach their growth heights, at approximately around 10 feet to 20 feet. Meanwhile, the mature tropical clumping bamboo species, which are less popular, can reach up to mostly 50 feet in tropical and subtropical climate areas.


Running bamboo species, on the other hand, are considered to be monopodial and have longer rhizomes that tend to be spread faster and wider horizontally. It’s why the running bamboos are often called invasive plants. While clumping bamboos grow upward from the central plant, runners grow outward, away from the main root ball, and extend anywhere through your yard whether you could control it.

running bamboos roots

There is a greater variety of running bamboos that are suited for all types of climate zones. Running bamboo includes many different species, whose height range from a foot tall to 80 feet tall. In common, most running species are taller than clumping bamboo. Every year, a clumping plant will grow on average 1 – 3 feet per year; meanwhile, a running bamboo will get the height growth from 3 to 5 feet a year.


For amateur gardeners, the professional suggests that you should avoid running bamboo due to their invasive spreading growth habits, like grass family species. In fact, almost all bamboo problems requiring removal are usually caused by running bamboo plants. And of course, the job of running bamboo removal takes a lot of effort and energy, for not only home-gardeners but also experts to finish.

Sometimes, people ignore warnings about this species and want to choose running bamboo in the case of an evergreen privacy fence. Moreover, people who can make use of running bamboo growth still desire it. The information below about both running and clumping bamboo removal is completely what you need.


II. Methods of Bamboo Removal

To control bamboo overgrowth, it takes people many years to finish all the processes. When it comes to bamboo removal problems, you must be prepared and handle problems by yourself with the right tools.

The bamboo problem usually starts with its culms and root system, which is often known as the rhizomes bamboo. Depending on how significant the overgrowth is, there are several methods of removing bamboo that you can try to eradicate your property’s bamboo problems.


The simplest method for immediate bamboo removal is to cut down all the roots and rhizomes of bamboo to the ground level completely. Cutting bamboo culms down to the ground is the process that prevents bamboo from photosynthesis. And you might want to keep in mind that to cut completely all roots and protect your property, the crucial thing is that you must ensure there is no new growth in your bamboo grove.

To start off, you need to clear the growth above the ground before removing a patch or an entire bamboo plant.

cut down the culms at ground level

When new shoots reach several feet tall, try to cut culms so that bamboos don’t gain any sources of photosynthesis, but leave the new shoots alone to drain the energy of the bamboo roots. Use a handsaw or pruners to cut all the existing culms down as close to the ground level as possible. Once new shoots are mature level that all the energy of the root system is exhausted, remember to cut down all new shoots before it produces leaves.

Clumping bamboo is much easier to remove and takes less effort. Because its rhizomes are situated around the perimeter of a bamboo grove, rather not spreading anywhere in your garden like rhizomes of running bamboo. To start off, cut culms down at the ground level as any other bamboo species, then you need to dig around its perimeter and remove the main roots in the center. For the root system of older clumping plants, you might need some tools like a sharp spade, ax, or saw to finish breaking up its rhizomes.


Keep in mind that do not leave any fragments of rhizomes left in the ground, because bits of rhizomes can store more energy to produce new growth that revives the plants.

remove all rhizomes and new shoots

If possible, remember to repeat the process of this bamboo removal method in about 6 months until there are no new shoots sent up. Then, you can let any rhizomes remain in the soil under the ground level without worrying about their root problems.


Watering bamboo, especially in hot water, is considered to be an effective and eco-friendly way of removing bamboo.


As we all know, bamboo is a grass plant that tolerates drought wonderfully. They can reach their mature growth and invasive feature around your yard without needing watering regularly. Due to this feature of bamboo, over-watering the grove will make the root system more soggy and waterlogged and much easier for bamboo removal. Having overwatered soil can drown the roots from asphyxiation and eradicate new bamboo shoots as well.

clean up

First, the bamboo has to be dug around its stump to expose the root system, and applying water, especially hot water, as much as possible onto the rhizomes directly. Use a sprinkler or water technique to thoroughly water the area of the bamboo grove you want. Once bamboo is overwater, all the leaves will be dropped if serious enough. In this way, we take out the ability of bamboo to photosynthesis and produce energy.


Repeat this process until you make sure the bamboo plant is dead. It will take the same time as the cutting down method to get rid of bamboo – about 6 months.

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The digging up method using a shovel to remove bamboo out of the garden takes a lot of time and effort. It could take gardeners at least one year or even more eradicate bamboo completely. This method is only possible in the case that there are just clumping bamboo or not too many bamboo species. Depending on what type of soil and bamboo plant, as well as your yard size, it will estimate the time you need to spend on bamboo removal.


To thoroughly remove your bamboo rhizome and entire bamboo yard, you might consider following these steps one by one: water the soil around the bamboo garden; cut down bamboo culms; loosen up the soil; break up bamboo rhizome and remove it; repeat this process till there is no new growth. Keep reading to learn the details of each step.


The first step of this method is watering the soil where you want to remove bamboo for about a half-hour. This will make the soil ground moist and the process of digging will be easier.



Like the cutting down method, using the right tools such as a handsaw or pruners to cut down culms short enough to the ground level so that it can be easier to dig up the bamboo and remove the rhizomes.


Then, loosen up the soil ground and dig around bamboo culms. Because the rhizomes network produces a crass root system, you should try to dig far away from the center of bamboo, which will be thinner and less spread out.

dig around bamboo culms


When you finish digging deep enough (1 foot in-depth), you will find the rhizome of bamboo. Try hard as you can to remove as much as possible, and then break up all the rhizomes. For running bamboo removal, you must be more cautious and follow each rhizome to ensure that you could remove all the underground roots.


Try to control the root system of bamboo and completely eliminate any new growth or new shoots. When new shoots are formed, continue to dig them up and remove all the rhizomes under the ground level.

You are not going to desire that all your effort cut culms down and dig the rhizome up become zero. If you miss or let any new growth emerge, the bamboo will produce energy to revive itself and actually grow back. So, you have to repeat the entire bamboo removal process until there is no new growth.


One more method to get rid of bamboo is smothering bamboo plants with tarps. This method will save your time because the process of bamboo removal by smothering takes homeowners just about two months to finish. However, if you do not thoroughly monitor this process, the bamboo rhizomes can spread out of the perimeter area which is covered by plastic tarps.

bamboo covered by plastic tarps


The first step of this method is the same as others: to cut down the culms. You need to cut down all the bamboo culms to the ground level short enough along with cutting tools. With such a natural bamboo height, you cannot remove it without difficulty.


Cover the entire bamboo area with dark-colored tarps and ensure to secure them with pins or place stone above them. You can also use garbage bags instead. If possible, keep in mind to use dark-colored tarps or bags, because they can absorb heat that will eradicate the bamboo completely.



Just wait from several weeks to months until the bamboo rhizomes under the tarps are suffocated.


During this time, remember to keep an eye on the covered area to make sure that all bamboo rhizomes could not spread. If there is any root or rhizome beyond the tarps to form new growth, you should immediately cut and continue to cover the entire shoots.

In addition, for this method of bamboo removal, installing other plants around the grove as a natural green barrier will prevent the new growth of bamboo shoots from spreading over your property. Or you can fence the bamboo by putting down a plastic barrier about 30 inches deep and a few inches above the ground level to deter rhizomes from climbing up the top of the bamboo plant.



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III. Containment

Bamboo containment is an excellent idea to stop the invasive spread of bamboo rhizomes. Although this method is not a thorough bamboo removal method, it can minimize the rhizomes spreading and help you challenge the bamboo issue in your neighbor’s garden.


If there are any running bamboo by mistake, or by somehow, you still desire to plant this species of bamboo because of its privacy fence purpose, the most effective way of containment method to stop the spreading of bamboo rhizomes is to build up a bamboo barrier around the ground. You can choose a root barrier, a metal or concrete barrier, or a heavy plastic shield depending on which challenge you face and your budget.

plant barrier

A bamboo roots barrier will be highly recommended to you when you are dealing with your neighbor’s bamboo creeping into your garden and rhizomes of running plants in your own bamboo yard. A root barrier might not reach one-hundred percent of bamboo removal success, however, it is the most effective method to keep bamboo rhizomes spreading as least as possible.



First, have your ground dug a trench outward the bamboo top. You need to make sure that you dig the group up about two to three feet long and over 30 inches deep around bamboo roots.


Insert a roots barrier (or concrete, metal, plastic barrier, etc.) 30 inches deep into the ground, and raise at least over 2 inches above the ground level. Every bamboo rhizome when reaching the barriers will be against expansion and might spread vertically. Therefore, make sure to choose the barrier size deep enough so that the root can not run deeper into the soil.



Keep an eye on the barrier monthly and remove any new growth of a shoot that is formed over the top. In this way, you can take out all the energy stored in bamboo and manage the growth direction of bamboo roots.

After finishing building a root barrier, you can easily plant species of bamboo into the ground directly. Depending on where you live, there are three main sizes of roots barriers: cold, tropical, and warm climates.


The concrete barrier will bring more effects but requires a higher cost and more professional skills.

This process of bamboo containment is the most time-consuming, but it has the largest advantage of requiring the least amount of care, at least for a few years. A bamboo barrier, on the other hand, is similar to a very large container. The bamboo grove will eventually become root-bound over the course of several years (depending on the size of the contained barrier). The rhizomes can eventually build up a tremendous amount of pressure, causing the barrier to collapse.


The last method in this article is the traditional supervision of the containment method. Monitor your entire bamboo garden regularly. Whenever you notice that bamboo roots required more space, you should transfer your bamboo around your property, cut bamboo culms and roots at once to make sure that bamboo roots are not running under the soil. This method takes you much more effort than others and doesn’t remove bamboo entirely, but keeps them alive.


V. Should We Kill Bamboos With Poisons and Chemicals?

Usually, using poisons and chemicals to destroy the invasive spreading of the bamboo yard is considered to be a method of removal that required less effort than physical ones. This method could reach a high degree of success in bamboo removal; however, it will cause a lot of malicious problems to our ecology.


Bamboo rhizomes are the best place to apply the chemicals. It is usually applied after the bamboo plant has been cut down and the bamboo roots have been removed from the ground as much as possible.


Poisoning bamboo roots with glyphosate or a selective grass-type herbicide applied straight to new growth of bamboo will ultimately do the job. The pesticide will need to be applied to a bamboo root several times to prevent it from producing energy and new growth. Keep an eye out for new growth and have your herbicide at the ready.

You must be extremely cautious while using herbicides, making certain that you follow the directions and do not get them on your skin, and make sure to wear gloves.


However, using chemicals for bamboo removal doesn’t deliver a one-hundred percent guarantee of eradicating the plant at once, even though these are harsh chemicals like herbicides. Many gardeners avoid it due to the severity of the chemicals used and the effect it has on the land of their yard. Chemicals deplete the soil’s fertility. As a result, gardeners use it less and choose practical approaches instead.

In addition, these methods are not eco-friendly to eradicate bamboo. So, we better choose other physical approaches instead of killing bamboo with poisons and chemicals.


VI. When Is The Best Time To Kill Bamboo Plants?

Because of belonging to the grass family, the bamboo root is usually thin and fibrous, which can go down over three feet into the soil ground. Especially, in the spring, bamboo tends to grow up significantly. Spring is the best time that experts suggest planting bamboo in your garden. From that, the issues about bamboo roots also arise along when they have strayed from their intended function.


It may be a considerable annoyance to the environment and, more often than not, to your neighbor’s yard. Depending on the extent of bamboo overrun, dealing with bamboo removal can be a lengthy procedure. You should begin the bamboo removal process in the spring and keep doing it throughout the cycle life of bamboo. If you want to keep your bamboo yard less invasive, you need to have enough patience and time until you ensure that the bamboo grove is fully eradicated.

VII. Cost of Bamboo Removal

The average cost of bamboo removal is depending on many factors, so, the exact cost for this service is far to be announced. However, to provide you with a general price for bamboo removal, the typical cost for a bamboo removal job is about $400 for a half-day and $800 for a full day.

This job could last from a half-day to three days, depending on the size and scope of the removal job. This means you may pay as little as $400 or as much as $2,400 to hire a professional depending on the aforementioned criteria.


To determine your cost for bamboo removal, the professional will come to your property and assess your garden and the situation of bamboo. Several factors impact estimating the bamboo removal cost:

  • The height of the bamboo.
  • How many bamboos do you have in square meters on your property?
  • What type of bamboo species is there?
  • Which methods of bamboo removal could be applied?
  • The removal tools.
  • The time that a professional expects to spend removing your bamboo.
  • Whether or not there are any impediments (such as irrigation systems, pipes, concrete, or wiring).


In fact, the bigger machinery used for a bamboo removal job will estimate the lower cost. If the professional comes to your home and expects to use a manual method of bamboo removal, you must expect to pay a much higher price for this removal process.

In long term, hiring a professional to remove the bamboo problem in your garden is better than you do it on your own. Not much higher than $2,400 for a professional bamboo removal service, this cost might be worth being spent to save your money and energy in the long run.

VIII. Professional Bamboo Removal

In conclusion, whether your bamboo roots become overgrown or not, contact a professional in the bamboo removal field will always be the most effective way. For an inexperienced person, lacking bamboo functions and their growth habit will make the situation much worse than ever. It will save your time, money, and energy at the least cost in long term, as well as help you not be stuck in trying hard to eradicate your bamboo roots problem.

Essentially, there are two main parts of the bamboo removal job: cut down the bamboo and handle the ground around the bamboo garden. If you plan to do the bamboo removal job on your own self, so what will you do with the area after cutting the culms down? When it comes to this, you are recommended to contact a professional to deal with the bamboo rhizome.

You can search for bamboo removal professionals on Google site and examine comments about these professionals to find out which is best suited for your choices. When you check the comments of the company that you want to choose, you see a lot of positive feedback, which is a good sign, that company will bring you satisfaction with their job in bamboo removal.

Green Arbor Landscaping is the top ranking in the landscaping field in general, and the bamboo removal field in particular. You can search for other clients’ comments about the Green Abor service site which will absolutely satisfy your expectations with their experiences and enthusiasm. You can check some reviews below on the Google site:

Glen Hoover“The last long business trip has left me a mess in the yard. The lawn was overgrown, and the weeds were all over the garden. I knew I needed to get it fixed immediately. Therefore, I called the landscaping company. I have used their service many times before. I always feel satisfied after using the service. They have a very enthusiastic consultant team, responding to the owners’ inquiries very quickly. Not only that, the most outstanding feature here is the very reasonable price along as well as with experienced professionals. I will recommend it to my colleagues when they need it.”

Gunter Hallo“Green Arbor Landscaping & Maintenance did a wonderful job creating a new area for a swing set and play area for our grandson. They graded and cleared the area – pulling stubborn bamboo – and brought in landscape timber, chips and beauty bark to create an attractive and perfect play area. They were very kind, professional and completed the work on time and on budget. I highly recommend Green Arbor Landscaping & Maintenance for any landscape project at your home”

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