Will Black Bamboo Grow Under a House?

produceguySeptember 7, 2006

I recently planted some black bamboo in a small triangular planting area directly next to my house. The planting area is formed on two sides by a concrete wall with the house forming the third side. I assumed that the bamboo would be contained by the concrete. Then it occured to me that the rhizomes might grow under the sill plate (only a foot deep)and then burrow through the hard packed clay basement floor of our house. Do you think that the bamboo will spread in a dry sunless hard packed area?

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

It could happen, but I'm having trouble visualizing how your house is built. What's the sill plate made of, and what is the level of the basement floor in relation to the ground level of the planting? Do you have a daylight basement or what?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 12:44PM
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Many plants will try to grow A)In the easiest direction B) toward the most light. There are a few exceptions, like some morning glories and blackberries. Id contact someone at the closest chapter of the American Bamboo Society, and ask what this type of bamboo does in your area. Some things like hardieness and your climate might influence how voraciously this grows. Also, as BBoy a says, water it more, it grows more. Usually bamboo just takes the easiest Route. If it is easiest to push a runner up and over the curb, it will. especially if that is the direction toward the water, soil and light. After a few years, when the corner gets very full, unless you root prune and thin it, It might crowded enough to move out under a building. There isnt much opportunity for it to shoot up though, I assume the walls of your basement are finished. If it were just dug in the earth, like a root celler,It would be different. Still, whats the stalk going to do once it gets in there, It needs light, water and nutrients to live. My Boo has been along my studio for about 8 years and it to grows away from it. Im guessing its easier and because its growing toward the sun, not under the dark foundation. Some roots may have gone there, but they are not pushing up through the floor. This is stong, timber bamboo. It is capable of splitting pots, and busting planters, so I think if it wanted to go there it would try. I have been watching another grove that is planted in a corner between the house and cement porch, and they seem to be only root pruning the out side edge. It looks lovely. This is a very valuable piece of real estate, and the owners are very knowlegable about landscaping. I doubt they would have put it there if it was going to ruin the house. At any rate, the privious posters questions are important, as is your willingness to do the maintanence which determin how fast the plant needs to leave the area you have it in to avoid over crowding.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 1:45PM
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It also occurs to me that you might have more concern about the water the plant will need seeping down into the floor area and causing problems there. You do have to water it alot, just like lawn.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 1:50PM
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Thanks for the very helpful information. To answer kudzu, I may use the wrong words because I don't know construction. The front of the house appears to be built on a short 18 to 24 inch high concrete pony wall with a 2 by 6 sill plate. The house is placed on a steep slope, so the front has a small in law apartment that occupies the front 25 feet of the "basement". The rest is a dirt floor area that slopes up to the rear of the house. The access is down some concrete stairs. There is no sunlight in the basement, nor under the in-law. It's all dark, dry and hard clay. Listening to zzepherdogg's reply, it sounds like my bamboo would not be interested in growing there. The bamboo is otherwise contained by a concrete wall.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 6:00PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I don't think you'll have a problem. I don't think the rhizomes will dive deep enough to go under the foundation, and, even if the plant somehow sends some rhizomes down to the basement, they're not going to do much...and would be easily pruned back in any case. Bamboo is the subject of much urban legend and, while it can be a vigorous grower, it is not going to be destructive to your house. Enjoy it!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 10:29PM
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