I am looking for bamboo in the Tulsa area

ewal_60November 12, 2009

I am interested in growing bamboo. I don't know what varieties grow here. Would like to get some plants from bamboo growing in the Tulsa area

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Below is a snippet from a pleasant movie called Fantasia. I saw it first when I was about four or five years old, so that must have been over 55 years ago. You probably know it well. It's called 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice,' in which Mickey Mouse tries so very hard to stop the monstrous chain of events he started by animating a broom.

I speak from first-hand experience, as I have probably the largest bamboo forest in the state of Oklahoma. Just like Mickey, I spend a great deal of time trying to stop the onslaught, only to fail.

The good news is that the types of bamboo that grow in our climate all die off when they flower and go to seed. The bad news is that that event isn't due for another 75 to 80 years. Also, people will plant bamboo and then move away in a few years, leaving the bamboo behind which, like pod-people from outer space, will wake up some day and devour the new inhabitants.

But, if you insist, there are a few experts over in the bamboo thread who know all about the different kinds of bamboo and can give you advice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sorcerer's Apprentice

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 1:09PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

You might check with someone who knows. I think it is considered invasive, and that it takes forever to dig out the underground roots that start to take over.

The Master Gardener will tell you if you could face problems with it.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 2:41PM
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Just be alert as you drive around and be on the lookout for the dried seed heads. Stop and gather the seed, if it's a public place. Knock on the door and ask, if it's a residence.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 7:24AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Bamboo is considered highly invasive and can be almost impossible to erradicate once it is growing and spreading. So, first of all, understand that unless you grow it in a very deep container or put down a bamboo barrier product, you will not be able to control it---it will control you.

Generally, the only way to remove bamboo is to hire someone with a backhoe to dig it out at great expense, and if you plant the bamboo in an area with underground pipes, power or phone lines, etc., the use of a backhoe might not be possible.

Some neighbors of ours in Fort Worth when I was a kid spent years and years trying to remove all the bamboo from their back yard, and never really succeeded.

I would love to grow bamboo but I just won't do it because of its invasiveness.

There are running forms of bamboo and clumping forms and they spread in different ways, so if you are determined to grow it, google and read about the different types so you'll be able to choose the one that will cause you the least amount of trouble in the future.

If you are wanting to plant it so you'll have your own bamboo for garden stakes, save yourself the headache and just buy bamboo stakes.

Finally, if you do plant it, I'd suggest you put in a bamboo barrier to contain it and keep it from spreading out of control. I've linked a website that carries bamboo barriers just so you can see what is available. And, just to be clear, even a 24" deep bamboo barrier is not a guarantee that bamboo won't escape and run wild, but it is better than not having a barrier.


Here is a link that might be useful: Bamboo barriers

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 8:16AM
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I know a fool proof way to get rid of it. I know, because we planted it for a couple of years and it never took. I'm sure I could eliminate an established stand inside of two or three years, and with almost not much labor. I'd just put a fence around it and set my goats loose inside the fence. If I cut the stuff down, they'd make sure that NOTHING ever made it more than a few inches up, afterwards. Inside of a couple of years, there would be no more bamboo.

We're growing rock bamboo, which is very hard and sometimes used for furniture. I had to plant it away from the goats.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 4:26PM
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I generally just lurk but I have to respond to this post.
DON'T plant bamboo!!! I can tell you that it is the most miserable stuff.....now, of course I am talking the running bamboo (the most cheap and common) rather than the clumping bamboo.

If you do get some be sure that you have concrete at least 3 feet deep and 3 inches thick around it. And it will need to be raised several inches or the bamboo will go over it and spread everywhere.

Just think of very large bermuda grass and you'll get the idea.

Don't do it!!!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 12:35AM
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Now that I think of it, I bet George is right.

I remember many years ago when I worked in North Africa and in the Mediterranean area I marveled at how there were ruins in the middle of the desert and ruins on islands that were completely bare.

I later learned that the desertification of northern Africa and many areas of the Near East was due to (a) over-farming and (b) overgrazing by goats and sheep over a 3,000 plus/minus period of years. Of course, the process started early with the deforestation for construction materials and charcoal production. Secondary desertification was driven by poor farming techniques, overgrazing by goats and sheep, and a lowering of the water table from water wells--the same thing we are doing to the American prairie.

And that is why one can drive one hundred miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea in places like Algeria and Libya and find Roman ruins--marble pillars and empty sports stadiums--rising out of desert sands. It is a really strange thing to see.

So, yes, the goats will probably do in the bamboo if given no other alternative, and leave a wasteland behind...


    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 7:19PM
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That's an example of overgrazing. But, yes, when working on my master's thesis I ran across articles discussing how someone had fenced off areas of the Sahara, and once goats and sheep couldn't get in, TREES actually sprouted.

Still, this is not to say that caution ought not to be used in planting bamboo. I just believe I have a "nuclear solution" if the stuff starts to get out of control.


Regular English = goat

Gardening language = WMD (Weapon of mass destruction)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 7:22AM
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