Lawn & Garden Lawn Care

How Much Does Bamboo Removal Cost in 2024?

Removing bamboo may be necessary when it is causing mayhem in the yard. The average cost of bamboo removal is $875 nationwide, though the typical range is $450 to $1,300.
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A view of a bamboo grove.
Photo: istockphoto.com

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Highlights

  • Homeowners can expect to pay between $450 and $1,300 to remove bamboo from their yard, or a national average cost of $875.
  • The cost to remove bamboo depends on the height, density, and type of bamboo. Other factors include the size of the property, scope of the project, removal method used, digging conditions, labor costs, geographic location, and barrier installation.
  • Bamboo is an invasive species, so removing it can improve the biodiversity of a yard and decrease the risk of instability bamboo inflicts on nearby structures.
  • Bamboo can be removed by a homeowner, but it will likely grow back. A professional can remove the bamboo by the root to ensure it will not return.
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Incorporating bamboo into landscaping creates a tropical, picturesque scene, offering a way to build backyard privacy from neighbors. However, those same neighbors may come knocking if the bamboo starts encroaching onto their property. 

Known as one of the fastest-growing types of vegetation, bamboo can spread aggressively and lead to problems. Therefore, homeowners may consider removing it if it is spreading too much. Bamboo removal tends to have a higher price tag than tree removal because its roots are so aggressive and resilient. Indeed, it can take multiple efforts for homeowners to fully remove bamboo from their yard. 

According to Angi, the average cost of bamboo removal is $875 nationwide, though the typical range is $450 to $1,300. This guide reviews the factors involved in determining bamboo removal cost, different removal methods available, benefits of removing bamboo, and more details to help homeowners address the problem.

A bunch of bamboo that has been cut down.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Key Cost Factors

The exact cost to remove bamboo will depend on a number of factors, such as property size, scope of the project, bamboo height and density, type of plant, method used, digging conditions, labor fees, geographic location, and barrier installation. 

Property Size and Scope of Project

Both the size of a property and the scope of the removal project will determine the overall budget. Considerations such as how many bamboo plants there are, how far they have spread, and how deep they are in the ground can affect price. Those who added bamboo to their landscaping before realizing the downsides may have widespread plants that will take time to remove. Homeowners can expect to spend about $400 for a half day of work by a contractor and $800 for a full day.

Bamboo Height and Density

The height of the bamboo will impact the price of removing it. Taller plants will take longer to extract, therefore costing more. Depending on how tall they are and how many plants exist, it could take several days to effectively remove them. The density of the bamboo also plays a role in cost. Homeowners can expect to pay more if the bamboo has robust growth, dense spacing, and deep rhizomes (underground stems that send up new shoots).

Bamboo Type

While there are hundreds of different species of bamboo, there are two main types to keep in mind: running and clumping. 

  • Running bamboo—Bambusa, Phyllostachys, Pleioblastus, and Pseudosasa—is the hardest to control and remove because it spreads quickly. It is common for running bamboo to grow several feet away from the original plant. Therefore, this variety will take more time and money to remove. 
  • Clumping bamboo, such as Fargesias, does not pose as much of a problem, since it usually stays in the same location. However, when homeowners are getting rid of this kind, the whole root ball will need to be extracted.

Removal Method

There is no clear pricing based on the removal method, so homeowners will want to speak to the contractor about the methods that will be used and ask for a quote for completing the job. Some methods, such as those involving vinegar and boiling water, have a minimal price tag, but others, such as mowing, require repeat work over months or even years, leading to more expense. The overall cost will depend on how many times the contractor needs to come out to the property and how much time each visit will take.

Digging Conditions

The project price will depend on how simple it is to dig up the bamboo. Soil that is silty and soft will make it easier to remove the plant than it will to remove it from lumpy clay soil. Types of soil with good drainage are also easier to work with. If the bamboo roots are growing under hard-to-reach places, such as under fences, concrete, or wood, the price will increase. The farther down the contractor must dig to reach the rhizomes, the more the removal will cost. Finally, accessibility plays a role; if the plants are hard to reach, it will cost more to complete the project. For a multiday, labor-intensive bamboo removal, homeowners can expect to pay up to $2,400.

Labor

The typical bamboo removal project takes anywhere from a few hours to 4 days, depending on the number of plants involved. Contractors charge by the hour or by the plant. Most landscapers charge between $50 and $200 per plant. The cost per hour ranges from $25 to $80; this fee factors in travel time and expenses, materials, and insurance. Hauling and dumping fees may or may not be bundled into the hourly rate and often cost between $25 and $100.

Geographic Location

The location where the bamboo extraction takes place can influence the bottom line. While bamboo removal services tend to follow similar price ranges throughout the country, rates can vary depending on the locality. Here are some average costs by state.

StateAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Arizona$500
California$760
Connecticut$1,300
Kansas$625
Louisiana$1,100
Michigan$800
Montana$660
Pennsylvania$950

Barrier Installation

When bamboo is creeping into the neighboring property, setting up a root barrier can be a helpful solution. Made of concrete, metal, or plastic, a barrier prevents rhizomes and roots from spreading. Barriers can be purchased at a local home and garden store, with plastic being the least expensive choice yet the most recommended because of its durability. To install the barrier, homeowners or contractors will need to dig a trench around the bamboo (2 inches deeper than the roots), place the barrier down, and then refill the trench. 

A view of bamboo in a field.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Bamboo Removal Methods

Managing bamboo can become challenging if it begins to spread into unwanted areas. It is important for homeowners to tackle their bamboo problem early on and to be consistent with removing bamboo roots if the plant becomes a nuisance. Several options exist for bamboo removal, including excavation, boiling water, herbicides, mowing, and vinegar. Homeowners will want to learn about each of these tactics to see what works best for the situation at hand. 

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Excavation and Removal

Removing bamboo by hand is extremely difficult, requiring the right tools and a great deal of effort. It also requires precision, since the root ball needs to be fully removed in order for the plan to be destroyed. Professionals typically use mini excavators instead of manual labor to get the job done.

To manually remove the plant, a contractor will start by cutting bamboo to ground level with pruners or a handsaw to prevent it from completing photosynthesis. Next, they’ll water the area thoroughly with a sprinkler or garden hose. They’ll repeat this cutting and watering pattern until the roots no longer send up new shoots. Remaining rhizomes will rot in the soil. Contractors will then dig around the base of the plant to loosen up the soil. Then they can pull the plant out from the ground, including the root ball. Finally, they’ll break up the rhizomes with an ax and will need to ensure they discard all remaining pieces. This process might need to be repeated for up to 6 months.

Boiling Water

For one of the most environmentally friendly approaches, homeowners can opt for boiling water. The heat makes it easier to remove the plants without using harsh chemicals. The process starts by cutting the bamboo stalks down to stumps and then digging around the bamboo plants using a shovel or garden spade until the bamboo roots are exposed. The next step is to pour the boiling water over the roots and continue to do this even as new growth develops. More than one attempt at this method may be necessary to avoid regrowth. 

Herbicides

Herbicides are a very effective way to destroy bamboo plants. The spray helps weaken and ultimately kill the plant over time. However, herbicides are often made from toxic chemicals, such as glyphosate, that will kill other plants and wildlife in the area. These chemicals are toxic to humans and animals and can damage the ecosystem. According to the University of Maryland Extension, herbicides should be used only as a last resort. 

When applying herbicides, the applier is strongly advised to wear protective gear like gloves and to spray the bamboo directly either on the leaves, stump, or chute. This will help avoid spraying it directly into the soil, which can poison other vegetation. Repeat applications over months or years may be required to totally address the situation. Both glyphosate (Roundup and others) and imazapyr (Arsenal and others), used at high rates, can help control bamboo.

Mowing

Bamboo does not tolerate frequent mowing, so this is another removal tool. The mowing causes the plant to run out of resources and eventually die. Homeowners can regularly mow new growth using the lowest lawn mower setting to keep the growth at bay. For fully grown bamboo shoots, homeowners will want to first cut them down using a chainsaw or lopper. They’ll need to continue mowing at least once per week during the main growing season and repeat this process for a couple of years to keep the bamboo growth under control. 

Vinegar

Something as simple as vinegar can also do the trick. By persistently spraying bamboo plants with white distilled vinegar, homeowners can destroy them. This is due to the acetic acid in the vinegar, which dries out the plant. Homeowners will want to be aware that this process can take a long time and involves consistently reapplying the vinegar on the bamboo over months or even years.

Benefits of Bamboo Removal

Bamboo can be an attractive addition to the landscape if planted and cared for properly. “If it’s done right, it can be a huge benefit to your privacy and views from your window,” notes Susan Gainer, a bamboo expert and owner of Bamboo Guru Landscaping in the Seattle, Washington, area. However, if left unchecked, bamboo can quickly spread, since it can grow at a rate of more than 3 feet per day. This makes it an easy-care plant for those looking for quick landscaping ideas, but it can then wreak havoc on the property and nearby properties as well. Three main reasons for getting rid of bamboo include addressing an invasive species, improving biodiversity of the area, and minimizing harm to nearby structures.

Invasive Species Eradication

In many areas bamboo, such as golden bamboo, is considered an invasive species and can be difficult to control as it grows. When it spreads, it can hinder the growth of surrounding plants and impact the local ecosystem. Bamboo displaces native plants by creating a dense shade that prevents seedlings of other species from being able to grow. It essentially takes nutrients, space, and other resources away from the native plants in the area, causing them to die.

Improved Biodiversity

Clearing out bamboo from an area can help improve biodiversity. When bamboo is left to flourish, it ends up stealing habitat from other native plants and trees. Since birds rarely nest in bamboo due to its weak branches, having too much bamboo can keep wildlife from visiting the space. Bamboo, therefore, often leads to a decline in birds, butterflies, and insects. Removing bamboo can ultimately help restore the biodiversity in the local area and aid in woodland creation and restoration.

Decreased Risk to Structures

Unfortunately, bamboo can quickly spread and cause damage to nearby structures, such as pipes and building foundations. If not controlled in a timely manner, the damage can get worse over time and lead to a costly fix. Gainer advises, “There are definitely times when I recommend removing bamboo from a property, mostly when it’s the wrong plant in the wrong place causing issues with the neighbor. If a client wants to lower the overall maintenance expenses on a property, bamboo is the first to go. If the bamboo is planted near any underground utilities, I will also recommend removal.” 

A close up of bamboo.

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

While it is certainly possible for a homeowner to learn how to remove bamboo as a DIY project, doing so is not recommended for a number of reasons. Sure, it is less expensive to try to remove it using tools like a handsaw, garden hose or sprinkler, pruners, an ax, a spade shovel, or tarps. However, bamboo removal is particularly challenging to do without a pro due to the way it spreads in the soil, making it necessary to kill shoots below ground level. This endeavor can quickly become a time-consuming, labor-intensive project with no end in sight, causing a great deal of frustration.

“Hiring a professional who can offer a guarantee is the only way to go when it comes to bamboo removal,” says Gainer. “Bamboo is a woven mat of rhizomes that need to be followed closely underground. If a homeowner starts to do the removal themselves and takes out a chunk of rhizomes, it will disrupt the map that we need to follow, and inevitably some parts of the plant will be missed. I have seen several root barriers that were destroyed underground by someone who didn’t have experience.”

Trained contractors specialized in bamboo removal services have the experience and expertise to effectively clear away bamboo, since they understand the unique characteristics of different species and can determine the best way to remove it. They also have the right tools and equipment to extract bamboo completely, without causing damage to nearby structures. 

“It’s a lot of work and materials, and we are much more efficient at doing it compared to homeowners,” notes Gainer. “All of the clients whom I’ve extended this option to have reported back that they wished they just had me do it all.”

Finally, there are risks involved that can come up for a homeowner who is not familiar with how to properly handle bamboo. Removing it can be dangerous, especially if the bamboo is located near power lines or other structures. The best tree removal services have the appropriate safety gear, and their staff is trained to prevent accidents and injuries. 

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How to Save Money on Bamboo Removal

When considering their bamboo removal project, many homeowners will be looking for ways to save money. Unlike with many other landscaping and garden projects, there are not too many tips regarding how to reduce costs when it comes to removing bamboo from a property. It is also hard to get around the cost of hiring a pro, since removing bamboo as a DIY project is strongly discouraged. Nonetheless, here are a few considerations when homeowners are evaluating estimates for bamboo removal services and ways to cut costs. 

  • Shop around. Get multiple bids from contractors to compare estimates.
  • Remove bamboo shoots early. Save money on time and labor by removing bamboo shoots before they overgrow.
  • Remove canes yourself. Gainer recommends, “If the homeowner needs to save some money, then removing all of the canes would be their best use of time. A Sawzall with a pruning blade will cut canes down quickly, and then they will need to break those down with loppers to get them in whatever vehicle to haul away. That will eliminate the prep work for the professional and allow them to focus their time on the rhizome removal.” 

Questions to Ask a Pro

Before homeowners hire a professional service when removing bamboo from a yard, it is helpful for them to collect as much information as possible about the company and project. Knowing the right questions to ask when choosing a contractor can help save time and money as well as avoid missteps. Besides making sure the pro is licensed, insured, and highly rated, homeowners will want to find out key points, such as how long they have been in business, when they can start, what equipment they use, and what happens in case of damage or an accident on the property. Homeowners may want to ask some or all of the following questions as well.

  • What type of experience do you have with bamboo removal?
  • Which certifications do you have?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Can you provide a list of references?
  • Does your company use subcontractors or temporary laborers?
  • What type of methods do you use for trimming bamboo and killing bamboo?
  • Will you take care of removing any debris?
  • How long will you honor your quote?
  • Do you provide a guarantee that the bamboo won’t grow back?

FAQs

Determining the cost of bamboo removal and ways to go about it requires some research and consideration. It is helpful for homeowners to ask the right questions about bamboo removal options and to understand what they will pay for their specific project. Total cost will depend on numerous factors, such as property size, type of bamboo, bamboo height and density, location, removal method, labor fees, and more. For those who have never had this type of service before, it is helpful to consider some questions that may come up.

Q. How deep do bamboo roots go?

Bamboo roots, called rhizomes, typically grow at least 1 to 3 feet below ground. 

Q. What tool is used to remove bamboo?

Several tools are needed to effectively remove bamboo. Use a long-handled lopper, pruner, or folding hand saw for cutting bamboo. Snip or saw off the tips as close to the ground as possible, and then cut the bamboo to ground level.

Q. How long does it take to remove bamboo?

The time it takes to remove bamboo varies depending on a number of factors. The higher the bamboo plant, for example, the longer it will take to remove. Running bamboo will take longer than clumping bamboo to remove since it spreads more quickly and widely. Deeper roots will also add more time to the project. Unfortunately, regrowth is common. Even with diligent pruning, containment, and pesticides, it can take years to fully remove bamboo plants.

Q. Why did my bamboo grow back after I cut it down?

If the underground rhizomes are not treated properly, the bamboo will grow back. Just cutting down the bamboo is insufficient. The rhizomes need to be dug up, killed, or smothered during removal to fully address them. 

Angi, Checkatrade, Lawn Love