En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
5 ratings

Tuesday - February 16, 2010

From: Smithville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native bamboo for a privacy fence in Smithville, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am considering planting bamboo along my privacy fence inside my back yard. I like the informality of it and durability. Is it safe for children and pets?

ANSWER:

Please don't, and our concern has nothing to do with children and pets, but rather the integrity of your garden, and those of your neighbors. Bamboo is a bad idea because it can be extremely invasive, and simply take over. See this invasives.org website on Phyllostachys aurea, Golden bamboo for more reasons why you don't want that. In addition, bamboo is native to Southeast China and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Another article with arguments against the use of this plant is from the University of Florida website on Aquatic and Invasive Plants, Phyllostachys aurea. Over and over, we hear complaints from gardeners who either inherited a stand of bamboo from a previous owner or have had it leap into their yard from neighbors. The only way to prevent it from becoming invasive is to never plant it. 

We would be happy to recommend other screen plants, native to Central Texas, if you would like to send us the light requirements, size desired and space. Or you can go to our Recommended Species section, select Central Texas from the map, and then "Shrub" from GENERAL APPEARANCE and the sun exposure that is available to the space. Following each link on the list, you can decide which plants you like, what would be required for each one in terms of water and what height they will attain.  

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native St. Augustine grass in Spring TX
July 09, 2009 - St. Augustine. It's July 6th, 3 weeks ago my grass was green and healthy, today I've got large patches (20' x 3') that are dying. I water my yard 10 mins / day in the morning (5:00 am). It's been...
view the full question and answer

Using non-native Red-Tip Photinia as a mulch from Pittsburg TX
March 23, 2011 - Wondering if its ok to use Red Tip Phontinia as a mulch? thanks
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Miscanthus sinensis grass in Lewes DE
May 11, 2010 - I have morning light ornamental grass, which was just three days ago. The ends of the grass are shriveling up and appear to be dying; why is this?
view the full question and answer

Non-native gardenia in Cedar Park, TX
October 07, 2009 - My gardenia, which is planted in a large pot, drops the buds before they bloom. What do I need to do. I already fertilize it with gardenia food.
view the full question and answer

Removal of non-native invasive Ligustrum japonica from Austin
February 14, 2012 - I bought a house that I am slowly turning into a native garden, but as a teacher, I have a really small budget. One entire border of my backyard (30 feet) was planted with evil Ligustrum japonica. I l...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center