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
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

Control of invasive non-native Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
June 11, 2009 - What can I do to control garlic mustard that has moved into my wild area and what should I plant to combat this aggressive plant? Ostrich ferns, Pagoda dogwoods and emerald hemlocks have been recommen...
view the full question and answer

Are non-natives, Dappled willow and Kousa dogwood, toxic to horses?
May 27, 2009 - Are dappled willow trees/bushes or kousa dogwood trees toxic to horses?
view the full question and answer

Pruning smoketree in New Jersey
May 29, 2009 - How far from ground level do I prune a relatively young Smoke tree to get the bush effect?
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of non-native lilac in Plymouth MD
July 18, 2009 - My five year old lilacs are not blooming, WHY?
view the full question and answer

Need help with Wheeler's Dwarf Pittosporum
September 02, 2015 - We have about five Dwarf Wheeler Pittosporum plants. All of them are mature and were doing well. I was on vacation for a week or so and when I came back I saw of each of them is plant 90% dead. The d...
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