Killing Bamboo with Salt

jonnnAugust 28, 2007

I'm purchasing a house where the backyard is covered with running bamboo. I've been researching how to kill it.

Salt seems like the best idea to me. There is nothing back there except live oak tree (good with salinity) and bamboo. I would like to cut down the stalks, get some salt pellets and spread it throughout the ground and then water.

The ground is sloped so I would dig a trench at the bottom of the slope and repeatedly water so the salt will run down to the trench- then remove that soil. Spread a thin layer of topsoil and put down zoysia grass (also does well with salinity).

Any comments on the effectiveness of this? How much salt would I need to put down? How long will it take to permanently kill it? I'd have 6-9 months to let to go before needing to plant the grass.



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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I'm not sure this would work, and certainly not without putting on so much salt you would permanently damage your soil and possibly have runoff problems (neighbors). Bamboo is a grass, but even strong herbicides are typically not effective. The best ways to remove bamboo are: 1) dig it out; 2) advertize free bamboo and let others dig it out; 3) follow the directions in the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: ABS - removal

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 1:15PM
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Where are you located? I'm one of those nuts who likes to dig it up!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 5:09PM
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I'm in Austin.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 8:52AM
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I live outside of Austin and might be able to come by and dig some up. What kind of bamboo is it and how tall is it?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 12:12AM
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MacDaddy(z6a NY)


Really bad idea. If you put too much on you kill the tree and pretty much make the soil dead for any plant whatsoever. If you don't manange to kill the tree you've still sterilized the soil and not be able to grow anything there for years if not decades. What if the tree reacts to the salt by moving it's root growth deeper. Then you are going to have major erosion problems.

Haven't you ever heard of the Roman's salting the earth to destroy other civilizations?

I sold my house to an Indian who I thought appreciated my bamboo. It was 20'x12' area and he had Mexicans come in and destroy it all with machetes. He planted grass and just mowed the area frequently and soon the boo was dead. Bad man, very bad man.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 8:50AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

I agree that the salt is a VERY bad idea. The surest way to get rid of it is to dig it up by the roots and get any remaining trace of rhizome out of the ground. This is VERY labor intensive. Or you could treat it with an herbicide. But here's the thing: no matter what you do, you're going to have to cut down the bamboo anyway (unless you like looking at lots of dead bamboo!). So the simplest thing to do is like macdaddy's bamboo murderer did: cut it all down, right to ground level, then either cut down any new culms as they come up or run over them with a lawnmower. As long as you're not planning a flower bed in that spot, you can just leave the roots and rhizomes in the ground to eventually rot. It will take a couple of years for them to run out of energy and die, but die they will.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 12:03PM
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Cut it with a chainsaw. Take a piece of re-bar and poke a hole down to the roots of each stalk. Just break through the node. Spray Roundup Brush killer concentrate down the opened cane stump. You must get brush killer concentrate.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 12:24AM
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After putting on the salt, just add some pepper and then eat it.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 10:41PM
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no poison needed if you don't want to use it. The best way to kill it is spring summer. Put down black heavy mill plastic thickest you can get. (it can be found in the paint isle at home depot or Lowes.) cut down the bamboo lay the plastic put allot of big rocks or bricks over the plastic so it doesn't blow away and wont let light in. leave the plastic for a couple weeks. After a couple weeks pull it back it will be dead. (you can spray it with round up to after cutting the bamboo down then put the plastic over to ensure it dies faster to speed up the process. Good luck everyone worked for me.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 4:04PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

If you think it worked for you, that's great, but I have to disagree. I'd like you to post back in a couple of years when you can confirm that there is no more bamboo coming up in your yard.

In my experience growing many kinds of bamboo over the last 15 years, the techniques you describe will simply not work. I've had rhizomes shoot after being underground for a year or two. I've had rhizomes shoot after spending a year going under a concrete patio and emerging on the other side. Being in the dark doesn't faze bamboo.

Further, new shoots will go through the plastic like tissue paper, and Roundup typically has no effect. If it were that easy to kill bamboo, people would not be continually asking for advice on how to get rid of it.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:02AM
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hey jonmac41788 how big was your area? courtesy of a neighbor I've been dealing with this situation for 15+ years and it has taken over 1/4 of our yard and I'm the only abled body in the house to cut grass. when it started we didn't know what it was and grass cutting was sporadic since I wasn't living at home at the time. so it grew. it has jumped the ravine in our yard and skipped my neighbor on the other side of me but it's in his neighbor's yard and he's battling like I am but my grove has thicker canes than his. The neighbor behind the can has been keeping theirs cut down I'm assuming since i can't see them. We like within the city limits but the city won't cut anything unless it interferes with the utility line and they'll only cut that length and width of the line and it's not guaranteed every year. the neighbor has since passed away and his elderly wife doesn't live in the house but just comes to check on it and they keep the grass cut. I'm scared to move away and leave my elderly grandmother with this burden because then it would be encrouching towards the house! (sorry for the rant but i have been searching the internet forever trying to find out how to get rid of this stuff and I've tried cutting down and painting with gas or round up and that don't work. only leaves a hard cut piece of bamboo sticking and inch or so out of the ground potentially tearing up my riding lawnmower). i wish i could burn the grove but it has take over a humongous pine tree at the edge of our property line and utility poles.---if i was thinking i would have taken a picture while i was cutting grass today so i could have posted it for people to see what i have to deal with courtesy of someone else. I was not living at home at the time this stuff was planted and spread. It sounds nice in the wind but if it stayed in his yard it would've been even better.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 1:58AM
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I agree with Kudzu. The black plastic you buy is 6 mils thick at best and will NOT stop new shoots from growing right through it. You will need a much thicker plastic, or use something else like sheet metal.

The best way to rid yourself of bamboo, other than digging it ALL up, is to cut off ALL new growth as it emerges but this will last for at least one full growing season, but the key is to get ALL of the topgrowth preferably cutting all new growth to below ground level, but if you do this in your yard, and not in the neighbours yard, then it will keep growing in your direction.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 11:11AM
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These sort of threads make me wonder how hard it actually is to take control of a yard if there's a huge boo grove growing into it.

Cutting down a ton of grown culms all at once would have to be a decent amount of work, but how hard is it really (not rhetorical -- I really don't know) to go out and step on the new shoots when they appear? I hear it's really easy, but that probably depends on being out there the day they appear instead of a few days later?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:34PM
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The new shoots will break off easily if they are a couple or so days old, depending on how fast they are growing.

Older shoots will take a saw or lopper of some type.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 11:31PM
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If you are dealing with a bamboo under 2 inches in diameter that you can cut to soil lvl with a lopper, or you have a reciprocating saw, then it would be pretty easy to eradicate a bamboo directly after shooting season when most of the energy is above ground unless you have thousands of culms on several acres.

Depending on the species, there may be tiny survival shoots that keep trying to come up, but they should be pretty easy to either mow over or kick over if they are still pretty big. It should be possibly to directly grow grass over and let the rhizome mass rot over time, but if you want to get the root mass out to plant other stuff such as garden plants, it will take a lot more work. I would then suggest using a broad fork as well as a reciprocating saw and lopper to remove the entire network of roots & rhizomes. The rhizome mass can take a few years to completely rot away even after it is dead.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 12:26AM
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I still can't imagine that that compares to the amount of work it is, getting rid of trees!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 10:47PM
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