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Bamboo rhizome growth habits

18 years ago

I'm still deciding which method of bamboo control to use.

I've read that if I can keep the area around the grove mowed for 20-30 feet, then this will contain the bamboo. Alternatively, kicking over the new culms as they appear in this area, is supposed to work.

But would the bamboo just continue underground from the kicked-over culm's rhizome, and keep going straight ahead and/or branch out underground, until they reach beyond the 20-30 foot zone? I don't want them to pop up in my neighbor's yard.


Comments (9)

  • Roger_Sr
    18 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Leslie, please see your personal email for my detailed answer to this question and several others I have already addressed through our business email.

    Roger Sr.

  • tcstoehr
    18 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Why not post it here? Sounds like interesting material to me.

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  • Roger_Sr
    18 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    OK Tim, below are some of the questions I addressed from Leslie in LA.

    Leslie,mowing and weed eating the new shoots works best for us. We control our 153 species by doing this and have do so for many years. The bamboo rhizomes will grow in several directions underground looking for energy and sun light. When the rhizome buds are aborted ( mowed or kicked) and prevented from their energy and sunlight mission that rhizome will slowly die over a period of several years. In other words the root will grow outward and put up shoots or canes. When all these are mowed for up to three years that rhizome will die back to the point of the last cane that is supplying energy to it. Bamboo is a grass and persistent, but not magical. It will grow where you let it and there are proven ways to control it very easy. The Japanese and Chinese have lived and loved bamboo for thousands of years. They grow it on thousands of acres and in small 100 square foot court yards.

    You should visit a bamboo farm and see first hand how bamboo grows and there are several down your way. Moso does grow to over 70 feet as there are mature groves of Moso on Avery Island, Abbeville and several other cities in LA. Any knowledgeable bamboo grower knows the huge Moso that grows through out the southeast including LA. The Moso growing in LA is second only to the Fant clone of Moso that started it all in Anderson, S.C. This clone can be seen at:

    Directions: Take exit 19 off I85 towards Anderson (US 76, US 25 and Clemson Blvd.) in about 7 miles Clemson Blvd. changes to N. Main Street. Two blocks past city hall, turn left on E. River Street.
    Turn right on White Street, at the forth traffic light. The entrance to Silverbrook cemetery is two blocks after you turn on to White Street.
    The bamboo maintained by the SEC is located at the back of the cemetery.

    I am sure you know where Avery Island is and it would be a great site to visit and see large Moso.

    Roger Sr.

    I have two more questions.

    Your website suggests controlling bamboo by mowing, or by kicking over the newly emerging canes. I like this idea - it may work well for me. But I'm confused. If I mow/kick over canes in a 30-foot zone around my grove, wouldn't the rhizomes eventually continue travelling underground (past the kicked-over/mowed culms) until they got beyond the 30-foot zone (and into my neighbor's yard)?

    Second question: I really like the moso bamboo. Does it really grow to 75'
    in the southeast? (I live in zone 8, south Louisiana). One website said the average height in the southeast is 30 feet -which would actually be better for me, where I'd like to put it. (I have hard, dry clay soil.)


    >From: "Roger
    >To: "Leslie
    >Subject: RE: Bamboo for zone 8? Hot, humid, drought, windy, and clay soil?
    > Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 15:20:25 -0600
    > >
    > >-----Original Message-----
    >From: Leslie
    >Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2005 11:39 AM
    >To: Roger Sr.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    >Subject: Bamboo for zone 8? Hot, humid, drought, windy, and clay soil?
    > >
    >Is it possible for me to grow bamboo? I live in Franklinton,
    >Louisiana, (southeast Louisiana, zone 8). ===========yes, we have sold
    >a ton of bamboo since 1995 to your state and it all does very well.
    > > You specilize in cold-hardy bamboo. What about the heat?
    >==========many species grow in the southwest and are very drought hardy
    >such as the 'giant gray' Henon. It does great in Nevada and Arizona
    >which are much drier than your state.
    > > I see that some of your bamboos, like "Phyllostachys nigra 'Henon'"
    >(pretty!!) mention tolerance of heat and clay soils. I'm really
    >worrked about the clay and dry soils. I don't mind watering frequently
    >for the first year or two, to get it established, but I'm planting
    >things that will adapt naturally to the area.=== Just amend the
    >planting area with plenty of composted manure or good potting soil. We
    >have tried several types of potting soils including expensive mixes and
    >this is what we have finally settled on. Soil is generally not a big
    >problem if you amend the site at first and get the bamboo starter
    >bamboo divisions off to a good start. We recommend using a soil mixture
    >of sandy loam and composted manure (Walmart has a 40lb Composted Manure
    >for around $1.00 and the bamboo loves it). Dig each hole large enough
    >to allow one 40lb.bag per hole + the bamboo plant.
    >possible dig up a large area where you want the bamboo to spread. doing
    >this loosens the soil and mixing in good composted material helps
    >provide rich trace elements that the bamboo will love. If you are going
    >to just dig a hole for each division and not till up the area then the
    >planting hole is generally no larger than 12 inches deep by 36 inches
    >wide. Bamboo has a swallow root system usually in the top 12 inches of
    >the soil. It does not hurt the bamboo plant (unlike trees or other
    >plants) to replant it a few inches deeper. On large divisions such as
    >Field Specimens these are often planted 6 to 8 inches deeper to help
    >stabilize the larger culms. A donut depression is helpful to retain
    >water and we always mulch. The mulch is important not only for the
    >cold, but during the summer to hold the moisture in between watering.
    > >FERTILIZE only after the bamboo has been in the ground for one year.
    > >
    > >
    > >I live on a low hill in the middle of an old cow pasture. It's now
    >growing bahia grass. I had the soil analyzed - the report came back as
    >"fine sandy loam" - this seems correct for the first 3-8 inches, but
    >under that, it's red clay. Hard as cememt in the summer. Rain has
    >been infrequent the last
    >2 years, so I don't want a drought-intolerant bamboo. However, I do
    >have some trees that are listed as "prefer moist" - namely water oak
    >and sweetgum
    >- growing quite happily here.
    > >Also, it's very windy here. There's nothing around to break the wind.
    >I'm on a hill with few trees - I planted a few, but they're small. So
    >the bamboo will have full sun ... at least, 'til the trees grow.
    > >I don't have the resources to dig up the grass to make a bed for the
    > I'll plant in a wide hole with good soil. ===========good, work in
    >composted manure. $1.50 for a 40 lb bag at Walmart or Lowes.
    > > I hope to cut the grass short
    >and mulch heavily with grass clippings - this improves the soil anyway
    >- and fertilize the bamboo well and frequently. If that won't be
    >enough, then I don't want to get bamboo.===========that will work.
    >Water every other day if possible for the first two weeks. Then this
    >Spring as often as possible for new shoot growth. After the bamboo is
    >established normal rainfall is all it needs.
    > >I liked the look of your Phyllostachys rubromarginata for a screen (not
    >as crazy about the golden; prefer a deeper green), and the slender
    >crookstem, and pigskin, and of course the black and giant gray Hebron
    >...========= I will list a few that we know for certain are growing in
    >your area or same climate zone.
    >I know it will take a little while to look over the information, but
    >please do so and just let us know if we can be of help. I will list
    >some links below to click on. These links will show photos of the
    >plants we ship and how they are prepared before we ship them to you. I
    >would not recommend the 'Black' with the needs you described and
    >watering. It is one of the more difficult ones to over all be pleased with little up keep.
    > >A giant, but maybe a little too large for your needs====GIANT MOSO is
    >the largest temperate bamboo on earth. If you are in the right area of the U.S.
    >and want the biggest then take time to look over this page and read about
    >Moso These are currently $xxxxxxxxxxand are almost all gone. There will
    >be any more seedlings once we have sold the remaining stock. We begin
    >with over 1246 last year and now have less than 40.
    > >
    >FAST GROWING BAMBOO FOR SCREENING =====one of top picks for your needs
    >and area. Adapts well to clay and wet sites or soil such as clay that
    >does not drain well.
    >Phyllostachys rubromarginata ' RUBRO ' or sometimes called ' RED MARGIN '
    >is the fastest growing of all our 132 species. I have a limited supply
    >of 2 and 3 gallon sizes at this time.
    >They are $xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    > >TIMBER BAMBOO = SIZES UP FAST======does well in your area and likes
    >clay soil.
    >P.Viridis 'PIGSKIN' is a fast growing giant and was my first bamboo
    >species, I still love it. I have three gallon sizes available, they are
    >$xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx each.
    >Click here to see http://www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    >Phyllostachys nigra Henon ' GIANT GRAY ' This a true giant under ideal
    >conditions mature canes 65 feet in height X 4.5 inches in diameter.
    >I have a just a few 3 gallon sizes left at this time. This one is
    >drought hardy and needs very little attention. I have three gallon
    >sizes available, they are currently $xxxxxxxxxxxxeach. Click below to see this species.
    >P. gray henon http://www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    >Phyllostachys ' VIVAX ' The giant timber species under good conditions
    >normally reaches maturity at 70 feet tall and 5 inches in diameter.
    >Grows to mature sizes in climate zones 7 and 8. It is growing on Long
    >Island, after 10 years they have reported it is now producing canes
    >each Spring that are 40 tall by 3 inches in diameter. Very limited
    >stock of 3 gallon sizes currently priced at $xxxxxxxx each.
    >Click below to see this species.
    > >We often can get more than one bamboo division in our boxes so don't be
    >surprised if the boxes are heavy and contain multiple plants. If you
    >want to see pictures of typical 3 gallon sizes we ship and learn about
    >planting, watering and other tips click here.
    > >Shipping and Handling $xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx per bamboo plant
    > >The 3 gallon should be planted on five foot centers if you are planting
    >several divisions of bamboo.
    >The 2 gallon should be planted on three foot centers if you are
    >planting several divisions of bamboo.
    >Planting on these intervals should really accelerate a screen or grove
    >faster. One division of bamboo will start a grove, however if you are
    >wanting a privacy screen fast then purchasing plenty and spacing as
    >recommended above it the way to get there fast.
    > >We ship on Mondays xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    >shipped out the Monday after we receive them if we are not back up with
    >Please feel free to call xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and leave a
    >message if we miss your call.
    >Due to pending orders our next opening for shipping your bamboo is now xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    > >We hope by now that you have taken time to read over how bamboo grows.
    >If not please click to this page http://wwwxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    > >Thanks and just let us know if we can be of help in anyway.
    > >Roger Lewis Sr.
    >Lxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx http://wwwxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    > >
    >well, most of
    >them are pretty. I'd like 2 types; one for a screen, the other a
    >taller, more foresty-type grove I can walk through, maybe put a little
    >bench. Is this silly, or is it a reasonable dream?
    > >Thanks for your advise!

  • leslie123
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thank you, Roger, for your thorough answers. I didn't know I could reach you here, to ask questions.

    The information that the rhizome will eventually die back to the last growing shoot, even if it takes 3 years or so, is the answer/solution for me.

    I was out this weekend planting 27 new shrubs & trees. On quite a few, I'd set the shovel and jump hard onto it - and bounce off the hard ground. So the idea of rhizome pruning by shovel, around an 80x60 grove, just doesn't excite me.

    I am also going to visit the Avery Island grove sometime soon. The Anderson grove must be something special.


  • tcstoehr
    18 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Roger, thanks for the info... worth reading.
    Leslie, if your soil is that hard, the bamboo is not going to travel very fast thru it. It simply cannot. Also, the rhizomes will tend to run very shallow, even at the surface, if the soil is rock-hard. I've seen this time and time again, that is, old groves of running bamboo that have hardly gone anywhere because the soil is dry and hard.

  • leslie123
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Tim, it sounds like my hard/dry soil is a mixed blessing. Thanks for the info!

  • iandad
    18 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Anybody care to hazard an informed opionion on species that send out DEEPER rhizomes than others? Given identical soil/water conditions of course.

    I think I remember reading (somewhere?) that Semiarundinaria fastuosa has deeper rhizomes than the Phyllostachys species...

  • jenallgood
    14 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I have a client that would like to get rid of his Giant Timber Bamboo. Could someone tell me how to go about it.

  • kudzu9
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    1) Eradicate it, or remove it and pot it up?

    2) How big is it (height/diameter)?

    3) How large is the grove in area?

    4) Is it a runner or a clumper?