Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!

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

When and how to prune lavender (Lavandula sp.)
March 20, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants I have a Goodwin Creek Lavender plant that I planted last year. It did very well but my question is about pruining. It seems that there is some growth coming up now that it...
view the full question and answer

Regulations for transporting plants to Texas from Florida
July 29, 2008 - We are relocating to TX from FL, I have a collection of potted palm trees and quite a few potted tropical plants (none are invasive)that I would like to bring with us, we will be traveling by car and ...
view the full question and answer

Red pods on Canna Lilies from Windsor VA
July 21, 2013 - What are the dark red pods on my canna lilies?
view the full question and answer

Replacements for non-native purple fountain grass in Austin
September 26, 2009 - Hi-- Just found out that the purple fountain grass I bought (fortunately on sale) is a) not native and b)not perennial. Dang it! If I can find the pots I'm taking it back. I have a part-shade wel...
view the full question and answer

Will roots of non-native Bottlebrush damage foundation in Weslaco TX
April 02, 2011 - I have a bottle Brush tree planted 2 feet from a brick wall. The condo board told me to remove it for fear that it may crack the foundation of the wall. I don't want to remove it. I believe they are ...
view the full question and answer

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