Will Roundup Kill Bamboo Trees & How To?

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Roundup is used all over the world for controlling the growth of unwanted plants and trees. Bamboo trees are some of the most cultivated plant species in the world, known for their versatility and flexibility. But could Roundup kill Bamboo trees?

Roundup is an effective herbicide to kill Bamboo trees that are smaller than a few feet tall. To kill Bamboo, apply Roundup to the entire foliage of the tree during calm, dry weather in spring. The tree should die within a couple of weeks.

Let’s take a look at how to use the herbicide correctly to kill the Bamboo or how to avoid killing Bamboo once it has been exposed to Roundup.

Will Roundup Be Able to Kill Bamboo Trees?

Roundup is effective on small to medium size Bamboo trees less than a few feet tall. Though using a stronger herbicide will give you faster results more efficiently.

While a couple of bamboo trees can be easily killed using Roundup, more extensive bamboo networks take multiple rounds of being treated with the herbicide before permanently dying.

How to Use Roundup On a Bamboo?

One of the best things about using Roundup is that it doesn’t need to be mixed with anything before using. Just fill the sprayer with the herbicide and you are good to go.

The most efficient way of applying Roundup is by spraying it on the leaves and the foliage of the tree, but due to bamboo’s nature, it might not be possible.

You can try spraying the trunk of the bamboo with this Roundup from Amazon, though this Tricopyr should be more effective if mixed with seed oil. (Affiliate links)

Make sure to cover the trunk and let it absorb for at least 30 minutes. Make sure no water, is on the trunk or leaves during the time of spraying as this will reduce the absorption and carry the herbicide away.

Alternative option to use

The best method for controlling Bamboo growth with roundup is to mow or cut down the bamboo trees, let them grow up to 3 feet high, and then treat the Bamboo’s foliages with Roundup.

Because of Bamboo’s extensive root system, you will have to repeat the process 2-3 times to fully prevent any future growth.

Another alternative is to cut the bamboo stem to the ground and treat the stump with Roundup.

With any of these methods, you will have to repeat the process a couple of times to make sure there are no shoots growing later on.

When is the Best Time to Kill a Bamboo tree?

The best time to kill Bamboo trees is before spring when new shoots are about to grow. Weakening the roots during this time will help prevent further shoots from sprouting.   

How Does Roundup Work?

The main active chemical in Roundup is known as Glyphosate.

Roundup or Glyphosate itself is systemic in nature. This means that after being absorbed by the leaves of the tree, it travels throughout the tree’s vascular system to its roots.

The Glyphosate within Roundup works by targeting and inhibiting a specific enzyme within the tree known as EPSP Synthase. This enzyme is responsible for regulating the production of a lot of important proteins within a plant which it needs for growth. If these proteins stop being effective, the tree will eventually end up dying.

How to Tell If Roundup Is Affecting the Tree?

Once a tree is treated with Roundup, its effectiveness can be seen within a few hours.

You can tell if the Roundup is working on the tree or not by the color of its leaves which should be turning brown or yellow. Within a couple of days, the entire foliage of the tree will end up shedding and the tree will die shortly after.

A small to medium-sized tree will end up dying in a couple of weeks after it has been treated with the herbicide.

What Are the Better Alternatives To Kill a Bamboo?

Although Roundup can be effective on Bamboo trees, Triclopyr-based herbicides are stronger in nature with much more soil activity which is more effective on the extensive root system of Bamboo trees.

What Equipment Will You Need to Use Roundup?

One of the best parts of using Roundup is its ease of use. Other than the herbicide, you will only need an efficient delivery method.

A backpack sprayer or a portable sprayer will get the job done. If you only have to spray the herbicide on a couple of trees at a time, then you should use a comfort wand.

This sprayer provides a continuous herbicide flow while being portable and easy to use at the same time.

How Long Does Roundup Stay Active in The Soil?

The exact time frame for Roundup’s life in the soil has been a point of contention among the researchers for quite some time. One of the studies conducted by the USDA revealed that the half-life of Glyphosate in the soil can range from a couple of days to about 249 days.

But at the same time, most of the studies also point out that Roundup becomes harmless towards animals and vegetation rather quickly.

How Can You Protect Bamboo Trees Which Have Been Exposed to Roundup?

If some of the wanted Bamboo trees have been exposed to Roundup, there is no need to panic. It takes up to 30 minutes for the chemical to be absorbed by the plant.

You should use water to wash off the herbicide as soon as it comes in contact with the tree. Roundup and Glyphosate are susceptible to water and it can easily be washed off.

Alternatively, you can also use dirt, ammonia, or bleach to neutralize the chemicals.

Also, if only a small amount of Roundup was applied to a mature tree, it will not be enough to seriously harm or kill a Bamboo tree.


Bamboos can be killed using roundup, though it will take multiple treatments if you are dealing with a number of Bamboo trees in a small area. Multiple treatments are necessary to kill the entire root system and prevent the sprouting of new plants. A better alternative to Roundup would be to use stronger herbicides that contain Triclopyr or 2,4-D. For Example Garlon 4 or Relegate.

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