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HELP! Bamboo - has anyone had any success with using white vinegar to kill roots?

hortulanushortulanus CambridgePosts: 2
I'm trying to eradicate some bamboo which is coming up on either side of a garden fence, i.e. in 2 separate gardens. Neither owner knows where it has come from, and it seems to have appeared fairly recently. It is coming up in thin individual stems, not clusters. I dug down to about 18 inches around one stem and still cannot see the origin of the roots; i.e. there's no rhizome, just a smooth stem disappearing into the bowels of the earth, with a slight sideways tendency. From this I deduce that it's a running variety, not a clumping variety. (The bamboo I've dealt with in the past had easily-dug rhizomes close to the surface. No sign of that here.)

I've abandoned the idea of digging it up, as it will be hugely disruptive to surrounding shrubs, and the chances of getting all the roots out seem slim.

My thought was to try the natural remedy of pouring neat white vinegar on the roots (having first dug down to 6-12 inches to minimise contamination of the surrounding soil. If that fails, I will opt for glyphosate :(

My question is: has anyone tried the vinegar method, was it successful, and can anyone suggest a better approach than what I've described here?

Huge thanks in advance for any help/advice/encouragement!


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,073
    Vinegar won't kill it and will harm soil organisms so you need another plan.

    Think of running bamboo as couch grass on steroids.  You need to dig out every bit of root to stop it coming back.  You could try digging down along your own fence line and installing a  root barrier but I suspect it will be hard work and expensive.

    Glyphosate needs to be applied to green growth in order to be taken down to the roots and you may need several applications.   You need to protect surrounding plants or it will kill them too.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,484
    Vinegar may damage the green growth (it’s a mild acid after all) but it will damage the invertebrate life in the soil and won’t translocate back to the roots and stop the plant growing.

    I agree with @Obelixx … I’d use the glyphosate … following the instructions on the pack. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,669
    has anyone had any success with using white vinegar to kill roots?


  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 2,178
    Are you certain that it's bamboo? Horsetail looks like bamboo stems when it's coming through. 

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