Eliminating bamboo plants is one of the toughest things you can do in the garden, but it can be done. With diligence and perseverance, you can control bamboo spread and even kill bamboo plants that have invaded unwanted places. The word “bamboo” comes from the Dutch or Portuguese languages, which probably borrowed it from Malay. Eliminating bamboo plants starts by digging it all up. The rhizomes and roots of bamboo are virtually immune to the herbicides people normally use on unwanted plants. In order to start to get rid of bamboo, you must physically dig it all up. Make sure you remove as much of the roots as possible. From here you have few options in how to eliminate bamboo. You can either diligently kill bamboo plants as the individual plants reemerge, which is what we did and it took four years, or you can get rid of the bamboo by mowing it down frequently, we did not find this effective.
If you find your efforts to kill bamboo plants slowed by it spreading from a neighbor yard who is not as keen as killing as you are, you will need to build a barrier to keep the bamboo from spreading to your yard. The barrier can be made of concrete or metal. Wood can also be used, but be aware that it will eventually decompose and the bamboo will push through again. Just remember this: Destroy Future Growth! This is where the patience comes into play. You will need to monitor the area periodically to see if any new shoots have emerged, most frequently in the springtime. Immediately destroy the new shoots by simply stomping or cutting them down. The bamboo will be using the energy stored up in the rhizomes to send these new shoots through the ground. Consistently thwarting the plants efforts will cause it to exhaust too much energy and die. The length of time needed to kill the plant will depend on the species, climate, and its level of establishment. Again, for us, it took four years.