QUESTION: We have a big patch of bamboo growing in our yard that is taking over the lawn. How can we get rid of it?
Some gardeners may plant bamboo because they’re intrigued by the exotic touch this giant grass can lend to a landscape. When it’s settled in, it grows quickly and provides a good screen for privacy. But a few years later, they may begin to wish it would go away. Bamboo has thick, tough roots and stout underground runners, and is so aggressive it can quickly get out of hand.
University of Tennessee Extension agents note that controlling bamboo can be a years-long process. If you want to get rid of it, cutting down the canes is only the first step – and if your bamboo stand is thick and unruly, that can be a daunting task. Make the cut as close to the ground as possible, then digging up as many of the roots as you can. Some Extension agents suggest treating any new-growth with non-selective herbicide (such as Roundup).
You may never get rid of all the roots – especially if it has migrated to the neighboring yard and the neighbor does not follow the same control methods. So if you replace the bamboo with lawn, be prepared to mow frequently as the bamboo begins to grow again in spring. The shoots seem to shoot up several inches overnight, but mowing them down before they get too tall (or breaking them off with a swift kick) will keep them under control.