Phyllostachys bissetii, clumping or runner

bonniejean001May 8, 2010

I have a friend in CT that planted this last year and it's doing well. It is 20 feet from his house and I am concerned as to it's invasiveness. He got a little scared this year when he saw it sent a shoot up 2 feet from the main plant.

I have read conflicting things on the web. Some sites say it is clumping, some say it's a runner.

What do you folks think?

Thanks for any opinions offered.

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Most definitely, positively, NOT a clumping species. Bissetii will spread with vigor but can be easily controlled with rhizome pruning and wayward shoot culling. I have 6 groves of it and one is planted directly on my property line. I am watchful and a good bamboo neighbor so it has not put up a single cane in their yard after 4 years, I let it run to my side.

Like any Phyllostachys, it can be easily controlled but if your friend is not willing to do a tiny bit of maintenance twice a year then he should get rid of it if he is truly scared.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:20AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Bissetti, as inversa says, is a vigorous runner. Just yesterday I did the annual work on mine: I removed about a dozen new shoots and a piece of rhizome about 8' long that was expanding to a location I didn't want it to go. To control it, the only other alternative to rhizome pruning is to install bamboo barrier.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 11:49AM
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Thank you. Your advise is a big help.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 1:54PM
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OK, it's me, the guy from CT....

Can you tell me how to prune rhizomes and cull wayward shoots? Is it anything like adjusting my flux capacitor?

And can you recommend a hardy clumping variety, perhaps something that would grow a couple of feet tall, and where I could purchase it?

Thanks to all, especially BonnieJean, my mentor in all phases of my life...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 6:07PM
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OK, I found the rhizomes, about an inch deep. They seem to propagate in one major direction, perhaps with side branches.

Do I have to remove the entire rhizome, I presume it could propagate from a fragment.

And still need advice on culling shoots.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 8:19PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

There may be other rhizomes deeper than the ones you found. You need to sever and remove any rhizome that extends beyond the perimeter you want to maintain. The rhizome will not regenerate from a fragment.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 1:57AM
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Kudzu, what are your thoughts on removing the rhizome? I prune and don't bother removing them, in all the places where I need to prune I also mow and that combination has never let a new culm establish 'out of bounds'.

Culling wayward shoots is simply knowing that during shooting season you need to 'patrol' and if you see a shoot coming up where you do not want the bamboo you kick it over to snap it off or harvest it for a stir fry - never let a shoot come up where you don't want it and turn into a new cane.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 3:04AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I always have pulled them out of the ground after severing them, but, if you get them soon enough, they should die in the ground and not extend or put up new growth. I pull them out for several reasons:

1. It's an insurance policy that the rhizome won't continue to grow; sometimes when I discover them, they may have been in the ground long enough that simply severing them may not stop them...I have no way of telling. This is mainly a concern near my driveway and the private road in front of my property, which are asphalt. Because rhizomes like warmth, they will grow right under the surface of the road, and, since asphalt is deformable when it is warm, I can get humps like those caused by tree roots if the rhizomes get that far. I also have a few bamboo along a fence line and want to make sure that I don't have to go over and do maintenance in my neighbor's yard.

2. I have a pretty good size yard -- about an acre or so -- but I have a lot of plantings and am always moving stuff around or putting in new plants. What I've found is that the rhizomes from my mature bamboo are pretty massive and are in the way when I'm digging if I just leave them in the ground.

However, you have a good point. I think your way of maintaining is probably just fine if you don't need to deal with the issues I described above.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 1:00PM
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Your practice of pulling them goes a step beyond and ensures that they are done but I believe that once severed, they stop growing unless they are able to push a survival culm to keep feeding energy. I feel like a dang mole if I pull them out as the residual damage is similar - plus I have cut my hands on dormant rootbuds pulling them out so I've stopped.

Good timing on your comments, today I moved an ornamental grass to a spot where I killed off Viridis Houzeau 2 years ago, the planting hole I dug hit 3 old rhizomes from the Viridis and I had to pull them out today even though they were quite dead.

I've now killed off several groves by cutting down all canes and then mowing for 1-2 years to keep hitting the survival shoots but I've always left the rhizomes and never had them come back with any new growth. They do have a tendency to rise to the surface as the soil erodes so there are lots of bumps and your way eliminates that but does takes LOTS more labor.

Asphalt driveway and running bamboo is a different thing for sure, I'm 'blessed' with crushed stone and they can't work into that.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 9:53PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Fortunately, my lawn is pretty "rustic," so it's not like I'm messing up a putting green when I pull the severed rhizome out, but those roots are good at grabbing soil and grass, so I do have some spots to fill in when I'm done. I have seen rhizome making its way through crushed rock if they are larger pieces (1-1/2 minus) where there are small spaces.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 11:55AM
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