Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
3 ratings

Sunday - March 26, 2006

From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Native alternatives for non-native, invasive bamboo in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I hope you can help me. This is not about wildflowers. I'm interested in planting bamboo as a screen (25'+). I know all the pros/cons and would need to have a nursery to put in barrier. I need some good sources/and or contacts to purchase bamboo that will thrive in this area. Can you direct me? Thanks so much.

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise are in plants native to North America. The only bamboo native to North America is switch cane or giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea). There are two subspecies, Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. ssp. gigantea and Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. ssp. tecta (Walt.) McClure. A. gigantea is apparently hardy down to -23 degrees F, grows to 25 feet and does occur in New York. You are already aware that bamboos can be invasive since they spread quickly by rhizomes (underground stems). You certainly should install a barrier to keep it from spreading out of control. A suggestion for a different native plant to serve as a screen is Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana). It is evergreen and would also form a dense, tall screen, although it would not grow as quickly as the giant cane.

For nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants, visit our National Suppliers Directory There are also internet sites (such as, Bamboo Garden and Lewis Bamboo) that list A. gigantea as well as non-native bamboos for sale.
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Planting non-native sago palm and philodendron from Pflugerville TX
September 15, 2012 - I have a small/young sago palm and philodendron I'd like to plant. Do you advise to plant them now with fall/winter approaching or wait until next spring.
view the full question and answer

Advisability of growing Silybum marianum (Milk thistle)
November 26, 2013 - I just received a load of clay-mix-dirt - and after our recent rains noticed the pile sprouting what looks like "Milk Thistle." Lots of them. The leaves are spiny and variegated - quite pretty. ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native photinia in Austin
October 07, 2013 - Hi, I live in Cedar Park, TX (Austin Suburb)and have planted a number of Photinia shrubs in various areas of my property. All about 10 months old. The leaves are curling along their length on many...
view the full question and answer

Trailing snapdragon hanging basket has flowers that are turning brown.
June 09, 2009 - Trailing snapdragon hanging basket in yellow, flowers are turning brown all over the plant. Why? I water every day as told & fertilized once in 3 weeks. It was so beautiful.
view the full question and answer

Deterioration of non-native weeping willows in Alabama
May 19, 2008 - I have a small lake behind my house. 8 years ago we planted two nice weeping willow trees, one on each corner of our yard down toward the lake. One started looking bad last year and we cut all the de...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.