How to completely remove bamboo

Not sure how to deal with bamboo? We’re here to help with advice and to provide a complete removal package.

Bamboo is a growing problem in the UK, and while it is completely unregulated, thousands of people each year experience damage to their gardens, buildings, and driveways caused by this aggressive family of plants.

Dubbed by experts as “the next Japanese knotweed”, problematic varieties of bamboo should be carefully controlled or removed.

Problems with bamboo

Although bamboo provides great architectural planting in a garden setting and acts as a cost-effective screen, selecting the wrong variety or inheriting it can soon lead to difficulties. If you start to see warning signs like bamboo emerging outside of the original planting area, acting quickly will save you huge costs in the long run. It’s not unusual to start experiencing problems with bamboo about 7-10 years after planting it. 

  • Bamboo can quickly spread into unwanted areas, taking over flower beds, lawns, and patios. 
  • The root balls and runners of bamboo are very tough and can be extremely difficult to remove using everyday garden hand tools once they are established. 
  • The tough runners can exploit gaps and weaknesses in structures and can quickly cause significant damage. 
  • When bamboo spreads into an adjoining property, it can lead to disputes and even legal action between neighbours, especially if it causes damage. 

What damage is caused by bamboo?

The reason bamboo is so damaging is because individual bamboo culms emerge from the ground at their full diameter from nodes along the runners. When you combine this with the fact that some bamboo can travel over 10m from the parent plants, you can quickly find yourself in difficulty. 

  • Lawns and flowerbeds can be overrun. 
  • Overlying structures such as driveways and patios are easily damaged by both underground runners and emerging culms. 
  • Bamboo can penetrate buildings, growing into cavity walls, through floor voids, and into services like drains.

Bamboo encroachment

One of the main problems with bamboo is where it spreads into neighbouring properties. Given that bamboo is often used to provide privacy on boundaries, this may not come as too much of a surprise.

Bamboo spreads quickly, and can cause all kinds of damage, so it’s important you keep an eye on it and are aware of the consequences if you ignore it. 

It isn’t illegal to have bamboo growing on your property, but when it spread across boundaries into adjoining properties it can cause damage, negatively impact values and prompt legal disputes between neighbours. Legal cases relating to bamboo are already on the rise and we anticipate they will increase further as awareness grows. 

Read our FAQs below if you are suffering from encroachment. 


Over 1,400 varieties of bamboo exist, that fall into two different growth patterns – “clumping” and “running”. Both types can have large underground rhizome systems. However, the running types normally pose the most problems. This is because they send out long lateral rhizomes that can spread several meters from the parent plants. Want to know if your bamboo is a bad one? You can find all the information in our complete guide to bamboo identification.

Black bamboo canes

How to get rid of bamboo

Bamboo can be difficult to remove due to its unique growth characteristics and the structure of its root system. There are two main types of bamboo: clumping and running. Each brings its own challenges when trying to effectively remove bamboo from your garden. 

 Running bamboo:

   Rhizome system: Running bamboo spreads through an underground network of rhizomes, which are horizontal stems that can grow rapidly and extend several meters from the main plant. These rhizomes can be quite tenacious and challenging to remove, especially if they’ve travelled beneath paths and patios, through lawns, or other plants. 

   – Resilience: Bamboo rhizomes are resilient and can survive adverse conditions. Even if you cut or mow the bamboo above ground, the rhizomes will continue to produce new shoots. Even when severed from the parent plant, rhizomes can continue to produce new shoots for years.  

 Clumping bamboo:

   – Tight root mass: While clumping bamboo tends to have a more contained growth pattern, it can still be challenging to remove because of the dense and interconnected root mass. The roots can form a tight clump that resists easy extraction. 

It is important to bear in mind that larger and older clumps of bamboo can be more challenging to remove than younger ones. The size and age of the bamboo can contribute to the overall difficulty of the removal process.


Bamboo removal methods

Cutting and digging: One common method is to cut down the bamboo canes and then dig out the rhizomes. This process can be labour-intensive, especially if the bamboo has spread over a large area. 

Herbicides: Some people resort to using herbicides to kill bamboo. However, this may require multiple applications, and there is a risk of harming other plants and microorganisms in the vicinity. 

Barrier installation: Installing physical barriers (such as bamboo rhizome barriers made of plastic or metal) can help contain the spread of bamboo. These barriers need to be installed deep into the ground to prevent the rhizomes from escaping. 

 Tips for bamboo removal: 

  • Persistence: Bamboo removal often requires persistence and ongoing efforts. Even if you remove the visible shoots, you may need to monitor and address new growth. 
  • Thorough removal: It’s essential to remove as much of the rhizome system as possible to prevent regrowth. 
  • Professional help: In many cases, especially with extensive bamboo infestations, seeking professional assistance will be the most effective solution. 

Professional bamboo removal

At Environet, we’re used to tackling problematic invasive weeds – and a few decades of experience in removing and controlling them means we are well-equipped to deal with this garden brute. 

We specialise in situations that prove too much of a challenge for homeowners or their gardeners or where guarantees are required. Prices start from £1,200 + VAT but typically range from £4,000 – £6,500 + VAT on residential properties. 

Before we can identify the best solution for your property, we will need to undertake a comprehensive survey. A survey will assess the type, spread, and damage that the bamboo has caused, along with other practical aspects such as access, service locations, and reinstatement work that will be needed. The survey also gives you the chance to ask our experts any questions you might have.

Bamboo removal: 

Our approach is to excavate and remove all the offending root/rhizome system. For mature stands, a lot of soil can be affected, so it’s no easy job. However, we’ve been successfully using a similar method on Japanese knotweed for over 25 years, so for us, bamboo removal is relatively straightforward.  

Bamboo containment: 

Sometimes our customers want to retain some of the bamboo to provide useful shelter or privacy from neighbours – for this reason, we offer containment and reduction solutions using vertical root barrier membranes to prevent the bamboo from spreading into areas where you don’t want it to grow. The lateral runners can then be removed by physical excavation – these can be 30 ft long or more, but don’t worry, we can still remove them. 

Bamboo herbicide: 

The use of herbicides on bamboo is effective for small stands, and for small sections of runners that cannot otherwise be practicably removed by mechanical means. We find that herbicide has limited effect on well-established bamboo, and in any case, leaves behind the root mass that will ultimately need removing anyway. For this reason, we do not normally opt for herbicide as a recommended option for killing bamboo.  

Bamboo guarantees

The nature of invasive plants, and their incredible regenerative power, means that despite all best endeavours, some viable rhizome may remain in the ground after our works have been completed. As part of our commitment to you, our works come with a 12-month guarantee period as standard, during which we will complete monitoring visits to check for regrowth. Our team will advise whether visible growth will be physically removed or herbicide treated, depending on what we find. For ultimate peace of mind, many of our clients, opt to extend their guarantee to 5 years.

Prevent costly damage to your property

Before & After

Bamboo comparison before Bamboo comparison after
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bamboo comparison 2 before Bamboo comparison 2 after

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Attempts to kill bamboo using herbicide are likely to fail, and often leave behind all the root balls and runners, which take years to decay – leaving an unsightly mess. 

If you can manage to remove the root balls, and just have runners left and you want to try to get rid of bamboo yourself then you could try the energy depletion method. This involves cutting any emerging canes to ground level before new leaves appear and repeating the process for many years, in the hope you deplete the energy reserves in the root/rhizome system. In theory, the rhizomes should die off and rot if they are exhausted. In practice, you’ll be at it a long time, so if you feel time may be an issue, you may decide it is time to call in the professionals. 

Unfortunately, bamboo does not respect property boundaries. The rhizome system often spreads across boundaries, particularly in small urban or suburban gardens. In such circumstances, it is usually best for the bamboo to be tackled as one, but this relies upon the cooperation of all affected neighbours.

Our consultants will be able to advise you of the best course of action during a survey. 

If you are worried about bamboo coming into your property from a neighbour’s garden, see below.

We endeavour to leave your garden neat and tidy on completion, with the soil raked level and anything that we’ve had to remove and reinstate. It’s sometimes the case that we remove so much root mass, that you may need to import some new topsoil to make the levels up. We can generally foresee where this will be required ahead of time and will advise you accordingly.

We generally ask our clients to wait until after the 1st monitoring visit before they replant or cover over any ground that we’ve cleared. This allows us to pick up any small bits that we’ve missed and give you any further recommendations.

Our root barriers are made from a strong, heavy geotextile that is waterproof, resistant to bacteria and most chemicals and it’s completely recyclable. In addition, the root barrier is highly UV resistant so it can be left partially above the soil surface; this makes it easy to prune away the undesired runners that some plants produce. It also includes a 25-year warranty for preventing aggressive roots such as bamboo from growing through it!

  • Speak to your neighbour and attempt to resolve the issue amicably. They may not have realised the bamboo has spread or understand the risks posed to both properties. 
  • Commission a professional to survey the property, to determine the source of the bamboo infestation, the extent of the problem and devise a plan to resolve it. It’s usually best for a bamboo infestation that has spread to multiple properties to be treated as one, but this relies on the cooperation of all the affected neighbours. 
  • If the neighbour refuses to cooperate, you will need to notify them in writing and ask them to take action to prevent the ‘nuisance’. 
  • If they still fail to tackle the problem satisfactorily, you may choose to seek legal advice and pursue a claim to recover removal costs, the cost of repairing any damage and your legal costs. 
  • If a neighbour has bamboo in the garden which is threatening to encroach but has not yet crossed the boundary, alert them to the risks and ask them to remove it or install a root barrier to prevent its spread into your property. 

What our clients say


What our clients say



Our team of experts is available between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday to answer your enquiries and advise you on the next steps

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If you already know you have an invasive plant problem, you can request a survey online in less than two minutes by providing a few brief details. A member of the team will swiftly come back to you with further information and our availability.

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Simply upload a few images of your problem plant to our identification form and one of our invasive plant experts will take a look and let you know, free of charge what you are dealing with. We’ll also be there to help with next steps where necessary. 

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