Bamboo calls for a special kind of killer

21:55, Feb 25 2013

There are some plants such as bamboo and privet that are hard to eradicate from your gardens.

Take bamboo for instance. You may have seen a cute bamboo plant in a container at a garden centre and thought that it would be nice to have your own little stand of this cane plant.

It would be great to be able to pick your own bamboo stakes for free.

So with no more thought you purchase the cute plant.

A few years later you find you have released a monster into your garden.

Sometimes one inherits a stand of bamboo when buying a new home and you wonder later on if the previous owners only sold the house to be rid of the bamboo.


This week I was informed by the manufacturer (here in New Zealand on Waiheke Island) of the dab-on weed killer Cut'n'Paste that they had a new formulation called Bamboo Buster, that is stronger than the original.

Here's what I learnt:

Bamboo Buster is designed to tackle those toughest of all weeds, bamboo.

There are more than 1000 species of bamboo in existence. Some spread like wildfire and are much more of a problem weed than others and while many are not in New Zealand there are a great number of different types that cause problems for landowners.

Clumping varieties in general cause fewer problems than those with long underground rhizomes that can spread, rapidly damaging decks, water tanks, concrete paths etc. They are often very hard to get rid of.

Bamboo Buster has been trialled on a number of different species with very satisfactory results.

Some species may require several follow-up treatments until all vigour has gone from the root systems and no more shoots reappear. Where deformed new growth appears from old stumps, cut and paste the leaves of the many little stems.

There are other more toxic methods of killing bamboo, some of which are more immediately effective but they have long-term residual effects on the soil and other plants nearby. Bamboo Buster gives you the ability to tackle your bamboo without spoiling your soil.

Bamboo Buster is also great on all those very tough woody weeds like chinese privet, tree privet, Rhamnus alternus (evergreen buckthorn), willow, gorse, barberry, hawthorn and other vigorous coppicing shrub weeds and trees.

For bamboo species, cut near to the ground, just above a node. Paste the entire cut surface and into the hollow in the middle of the stem.

Don't skimp with the gel - apply a generous layer of paste to the whole area of the cut stem. Take your time and apply with care and it will pay dividends.

Make sure you apply the paste as quickly as possible after cutting. That means immediately.

When stems are cut the plant quickly withdraws its sap and seals the cut. When the paste is applied immediately it enters the plant most effectively.

Ensure that the whole cut surface is covered. When part is left a section of the stem can remain alive.

The ideal methodology is one person cutting, one clearing away cut stems and one pasting. By using a third person whose job is simply to apply the paste in the way recommended you will get the best results.

When outlying bamboo shoots are treated the dieback can reach some distance into a neighbouring clump of bamboo as the effect travels along underground root systems (rhizomes).

Like Cut'n'Paste, Bamboo Buster is still very low toxicity to animals whilst being very effective on your weeds.

At the lowest herbicide hazard classification of 9.1D, Bamboo Buster is not classed as dangerous goods.

Bamboo Buster is available in 450ml bottles from some garden centres or by mail order.

Problems? Phone me on 0800 466 464 or email

The Southland Times