How Do You Get Rid Of Running Bamboo

Dealing with running bamboo in my garden has been a challenging experience, to say the least. It’s invasive, quick to spread, and difficult to control. But after much trial and error, I’ve finally mastered the art of getting rid of running bamboo. Here’s everything I’ve learned along the way.

Identifying Running Bamboo

Before diving into removal techniques, it’s crucial to be able to identify running bamboo. Unlike clumping bamboo, which grows in tight clusters, running bamboo sends out underground rhizomes that can quickly take over an area. Keep an eye out for long, slender green stems with pointed leaves and be on the lookout for new shoots that can pop up several feet away from the main clump.

Manual Removal

When dealing with a small infestation, manual removal can be effective. I’ve found that using a sharp spade to dig around the perimeter of the bamboo and then prying up the rhizomes can help to contain the spread. However, it’s essential to be thorough and remove as much of the root system as possible to prevent regrowth.

Barrier Installation

For larger infestations, installing a physical barrier can be a game-changer. I opted for a bamboo barrier made of high-density polyethylene that extends at least 18 inches into the ground to prevent the rhizomes from spreading. This method requires some effort initially but can save a lot of time and frustration in the long run.

Chemical Control

When manual removal and barriers aren’t feasible, turning to chemical control may be necessary. I’ve had success using a systemic herbicide specifically designed for bamboo. It’s important to follow the application instructions carefully and monitor the area for regrowth, as multiple treatments may be needed to fully eradicate the bamboo.

Persistent Maintenance

Even after successful removal, it’s crucial to stay vigilant. Regularly inspect the area for any signs of regrowth, as even the smallest rhizome fragment can lead to a resurgence of the bamboo. Additionally, keeping the surrounding area well-maintained and free of other vegetation can help prevent the bamboo from sneaking back in.


Dealing with running bamboo requires patience, persistence, and a multi-faceted approach. By identifying the bamboo, utilizing manual removal, installing barriers, considering chemical control, and maintaining the area, it’s possible to regain control of your garden and keep running bamboo at bay. With these methods, I’ve been able to reclaim my garden from the relentless spread of running bamboo, and I hope these insights will help others facing a similar struggle.