Contact Us Host an Event 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
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

How to Deal with Leggy Artemisia 'Silver Mound'
October 03, 2015 - I have two Artemisia (I think 'Silver Mound') in full sun in West Austin. They have been happily growing there for the past 10 or so years. Both were hard-hit by last winter's cold weather and did...
view the full question and answer

Pride of Barbados seed for Ft. Worth TX
February 07, 2013 - When can you plant the Pride of Barbados plant seeds and how to go about it in Fort Worth Texas?
view the full question and answer

Possibility of invasiveness of blackberry bush
March 27, 2008 - I bought a blackberry bush from Home Depot last year. My sister said if I planted it in the ground it would take over my lawn. So I put it in a big planter up against my fence, but I'd like to put it...
view the full question and answer

Non-native herbs being burned by pool chlorine in St. Petersburg, FL
July 11, 2010 - My herb garden is next to my swimming pool, which is serviced by a company using chlorine. I have found that on the two unsuccessful attempt to establish my herb garden, the herbs burn off after the p...
view the full question and answer

Need advice on Angel Wing Begonia in Round Rock, Texas
October 13, 2010 - My Angel Wing Begonia seem hardy and healthy; I keep them in bright, indirect light and feed them periodically with diluted fish emulsion. I keep them dry as opposed to moist. But they don't bloom. ...
view the full question and answer

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