Sarah Yates - 1st May
Learn how to remove bamboo from your garden
Some gardeners really like having bamboo in their garden and this unique plant definitely has it's
uses. However, because it is so aggressive, fast growing and generally invasive, many gardeners find it a nuisance
and want to get rid of it. Bamboo grows extremely fast and will quickly form a strong network, and once it is
established it can be very difficult to remove, a daunting task for even an experienced green finger.
Generally, people think just cutting down the bamboo would stunt growth and remove the bamboo effectively, this
is a common misconception. This is because, deep underground the roots are still present and they will travel
through the soil till they find another appropriate place to pop up and grow. These roots are called rhizomes.
How to remove bamboo
There are two types of bamboo, clumping and running. Each type has a different method of removing the
How to remove clumping bamboo
You can identify clumping bamboo by its growth pattern, clumping tends to stick to one area, usually where they
were first planted. See the picture to the left. This usually makes it much easier to remove as they
grow in one place and the roots are not far reaching.
Step 1 - Remove Canes
Cut the canes as close to the soil level as possible, either use standard shears or, if its a large and thicker
bamboo cane, use a chainsaw. Once you've cut the canes you can do anything you want with them - burn, keep or throw
Step 2 - Remove Roots
This step is definitely easier said than done. The roots of bamboo plants, particularly with clumping
bamboo, are usually short and thick. This makes it difficult to directly remove the bamboo roots. The best
plan of action is to start at the outer edges of the bamboo and dig as deep as possible.
Once you can clearly see the root system you should use a sharp spade, axe or pitch fork to break apart the root
system. This will make it easy to completely extract all the bamboo roots. Its very important to check the hole for
any remaining roots as this could mean the bamboo could grow back.
How to remove running bamboo
Running bamboo is much more of a challenge to remove than clumping bamboo, this is due to
its widely growing roots and once the root system gets established, it can be very difficult to remove.
However, it is possible.
Step 1 - Remove Canes
Firstly, cut the canes as close to soil level as possible, if you have a large amount of canes or they're quite
think, it is advisable to use a chainsaw. Otherwise a normal pair of shears will do. This will help in 2 ways. One,
it will remove a large bulk of the canes. And two, by removing the canes, you will starve the bamboo of energy from
photosynthesis that it needs to grow.
Step 2 - Patience.
As outlined in step 1, the bamboo will be starved of energy from photosynthesis and hence will have to rely on
the energy generated from the roots. You should monitor the area where the bamboo was growing carefully, as soon as
you see a new shoot, cut it down. This will prevent energy from being produced and with no energy, no growth can
Top Tip. Cover the area with a blanket to completely starve the bamboo of sunlight.