Explore Plants

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
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
2 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

Smarty Plants on Oleanders
June 11, 2005 - I have 3 Nerium Oleanders. In the winter they come indoors, and are under grow lights. They are in big pots. We just put them outside on patio, and they don't look good. They still have green tips ...
view the full question and answer

Sprout from a non-native sago palm in Poinciana FL
October 16, 2013 - I have two mature (10 years old)sago palms. One of them sprouted a new "head' at the top of the trunk. It is competing with the original one. It is not a pup coming from the root area. Can I cut it ...
view the full question and answer

Will drought-stricken non-native St. Augustine come back in Cedar Park TX
January 30, 2010 - I recently bought a new house but the grass in the yard looked completely dead (bought house in Nov) even though the neighbor's grass was still green. The previous owner stopped watering the grass (e...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to my Norfolk Island Pine in Houston, TX
March 18, 2010 - Houston, Texas experienced a rare 3-day snow event this winter that allowed snow to stay on my 20 ft. Norfolk Pine, in the ground for over 10 yrs. Every branch is now brown with all dead foliage. I ha...
view the full question and answer

Question about non-native tree hardiness
March 06, 2009 - Hi there, im wondering if you can help me. Which of these plants can grow on poorly drained soils. Tamarix Tetandra, weigela 'moulin rogue', ulex europaeus or salix alba?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.