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Strange Plant
updated: Apr 07, 2014, 8:04 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

I have five of these plants popping up in my garden. Does anyone know what they are? They look like a type of palm but it seems odd to have coming up out of nowhere.

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 509202 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:14 AM

Looks like bamboo to me. You might look around at your neighbors to see if they have any bamboo. It might be "running" from their yards. We had running bamboo in our yard as a kid, and it was hard to contain to the planter in which it was planted.


 COMMENT 509203 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:16 AM

I second the bamboo. Must be coming somewhere else within 10'. Dig it out before you have an instant grove!


 COMMENT 509209P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:26 AM

Five of them means you have trouble. When you locate your neighbor's bamboo forest, you can try digging a trench about 2 feet deep between that and the rest of your yard. Put a solid metal barrier in the trench (maybe sheet aluminum) and refill. Pull out as much of the root runners of the bamboo on your side of the barrier as you can and cut out any new shoots as you find them.


 COMMENT 509210P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:27 AM

These things should really come with warning labels and liability waivers at the nurseries.


 COMMENT 509217 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:36 AM

OP friend here (she posted for me). I thought it might be bamboo, as the neighbors have planted bamboo as a privacy screen directly on the other side of the fence. Thanks for clearing it up.


 COMMENT 509222 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:46 AM

Bamboo can be like a cancer in your yard. I battled mine for years until somebody shared with me the only thing that works to eradicate it. This is the only instance where I use chemicals in my garden. Try cutting the stalk about an inch from the ground. The center of the stalk should be hollow. Use a hypodermic needle filled with RoundUp and inject it directly into the center of the stalk. This is tedious if you have a lot of bamboo but the ONLY thing that worked for me. I learned the hard way ... I had a crew of four strong men dig out my bamboo over the course of three days. They went three feet down. Bamboo was back in two weeks. If you only have five stalks, this might be worth nipping in the bud now. Good luck!


 COMMENT 509223 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:53 AM

May be Arundo. That may have come with the mulch in your garden. This is common, as we have little idea just what went in to the mulch pile.


 COMMENT 509241 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 09:24 AM

Ahhh, the ol' bamboo.


 BECKY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 09:35 AM

"Just for Now" -- Thank you for the smile. My Dad battled his errant bamboo the same way -- hypodermic needles filled with high test RoundUp. That stuff is tenacious! and the runners go a l-o-n-g way.


 COMMENT 509254 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 09:57 AM

Looks like Arundo.


 COMMENT 509260 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 10:26 AM

Why does everyone hate bamboo? I think it's beautiful. Put it in a large pot and enjoy it.


 COMMENT 509280 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 11:39 AM

As others have said, it looks like Arundo.

260, drive around the area and look into creek beds. You will see Arundo choking out every other plant. I would not consider Arundo to be bamboo.


 COMMENT 509281P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 11:42 AM

I don't think everyone hates bamboo...but the "running" variety can take over the entire yard in very short order. There are "clumping" varieties that tend to stay put without taking over.


 COMMENT 509299 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 12:27 PM

Let it grow, harvest it in a few years, and use it to put sustainable flooring in your house.


 COMMENT 509345 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 03:41 PM

PLEASE don't use pesticides!
Not Arundo donax. Arundo leaves don't wrap around the shoot, as shown in this photo. I don't think this is Phyllostachys aurea (Golden bamboo), either. Looks like a variegated type bamboo. Removing bamboo is no big deal, and certainly doesn't call for poisoning your soil and your yard and yourself and your pets and any wildlife you have in your yard. Get smart and be pesticide-free. You can kill bamboo by "cooking it," using high-nitrogen fertilizer (but this isn't my preferred method, as any run-off can create problems, too) OR---you can pour boiling hot water on the shoots: Just look up ehow's (online) "way to kill bamboo" and please use an environmentally friendly method. Bees and butterflies are dying off in record numbers, thanks to use of pesticides. Homeowners are some of the worst offenders, with their uninformed and "oh, just a little won't hurt" use of pesticides.


 COMMENT 509364 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 04:47 PM

If your lucky it could be some type of dracena, take a look at some online images. For your sake hope it's not arundo


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 05:19 PM

Running bamboo can definitely take over your yard in no time; doesn't matter if it's bamboo or arundo, both will give you grief . 345 has good information.


 COMMENT 509380P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 05:43 PM


You can use vinegar, too. Youtube has a short vid about green methods of killing bamboo.

I have had a 30' long, 2' wide and 10' high bamboo privacy hedge along one side of my yard for 50+ years. We have *no problems* keeping the bamboo back. Just snap off the new growth and dig up the runners. Beware: if you decide to go the pesticide route anyway (lazy and silly), bamboo is much easier to dig out when it is green and growing. Once it is dead---ugh. Rough going.


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 07:27 PM

I agree-running bamboo. It's horrible - get rid of it before it's too late.


 COMMENT 509407 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:58 PM

I Agree, use roundup. A highly valuable tool used appropriately. This is a good use- it is particularly effective w grasses, such as bamboo. Don't need to inject it, just paint it on a cut end undiluted with a small brush. It is a systemic treatment and will be effective with running bamboo. Its a herbicide, not a pesticide. And you aren't aerosolizing it or doing a mass application so I think its fine.


 COMMENT 509414P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 05:07 AM

Yep. 345 nailed it. And above we witness yet another proponent of the "Oh, a little won't hurt" faction. Pesticides are bad, bad, bad. Read up on Roundup and its effects on frogs and other aquatic life. You're kidding yourself/selves, pesticide user/s, if you think the nasty killer chemicals you're using aren't finding their way into our creeks and ocean.


 COMMENT 509416 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 06:43 AM

April 1, 2007 AB Wire Service

In January 2007, The US Department of Agriculture, together with the Department of Homeland Security, introduced a bill to Congress that would make the cultivation of certain types of bamboo illegal in the US. That bill was passed by the House in February and passed in the Senate with a clear majority today. The law takes effect January 1, 2008.

Specifically, all species of leptomorph bamboos (commonly called "running" or "spreading" bamboo by laypersons) must be removed from nurseries and all private property by the end of the year. These species of bamboo may not even be grown in containers.


 COMMENT 509422 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 07:12 AM

407 is right. Cut and paint with glyphosate, Remuda.

Roundup is not just glyphosate. It was re-engineered to stay under patent protection by adding a chemical(2,4-D) that gives more immdiate visual results and is far more toxic than glyphosate. Please do not support Monsanto(roundup) as they are leading the GMO charge and suing farmers for planting seed from their own( the farmer's) crops that has been wind pollinated from GMO adjacent fields. It's like getting sued for smelling your neighbor's bread in the oven.


 COMMENT 509423 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 07:12 AM

I think he was suggesting using some Herbicide not Pesticide, there are significiant but different health issues for each.


 COMMENT 509427 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 07:30 AM

Why does someone always conflate insecticides with herbicides when this kind of thing comes up?! You're not doing your (specious) argument any favors by getting something like that wrong. If your position is simply "aaahhh, chemicals, toxins, stuff I can't pronounce, . . ." well then there's not much point explaining.

Along the same lines, tossing out the red herring Monsanto suing farmers story only highlights the lack of actual evidence for such positions. Go to a primary source or two and you'll find that the only farmer who was sued in that fashion *knowingly* collected blow in plants and then knowing replanted his field with exclusively those seeds - not exactly an unwitting victim, whatever your position on the status of plant patents.

You know what they say about a little information . . .


 PLANTMAN agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 07:35 AM

The aforementioned Bamboo Bill was an April fool's day prank. Ever hear of the AB Wire Service? The "running" forms of bamboo are some of the most beautiful of the bamboo species and are relatively easy to contain using properly constructed root barriers but it would be best that they not be planted along property lines where their unintended spread into a neighbor's property cannot be controlled.


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 08:32 AM

I wish someone really knowledgeable about bamboo would chime in--this doesn't look like any bamboo I've ever seen. The way the leaf bases wrap around the stem is like nothing I've seen, and the way those leaf bases persist. Stem doesn't have that distinctive bamboo look, segmented with crosswise ridges where the leaf nodes are. And the leaves don't look like bamboo leaves, either--never seen a bamboo with leaves growing in a rosette form like the top of this plant. Does look like a dracaena to me, the pattern of overlapping leaf bases is very like a dracaena, as are the leaves. Just does not look like a bamboo to me. Does your neighbor's new bamboo screening look like this at any stage of growth?

I won't get into the Roundup fight.


 COMMENT 509452 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 08:47 AM

This is bamboo. When the stalks first emerge, they are wrapped in juvenile leaves which will guide the stalk towards optimum light. Later on branches will form and it will resemble bamboo more. Its probably Phyllostachys bambusoides "Castillonis" - a type frequently offerred in nurseries. If you snap off the emerging stalk it will not come up in that spot again. If you snap them off when they're about 6in and you get some of the base (by digging down a little) you can steam and eat them ("bamboo shoots").


 COMMENT 509459 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 09:09 AM

Dracena marginata it what it looks like to me. I have both that and bamboo but keep the bamboo contained in pots.


 COMMENT 509479 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 09:58 AM

Yes, PLEASE try to research the green methods of eradicating this pest plant before resorting to a chemical poison. Bamboo is really pretty, but it is rampant and destructive and very very hard to get rid of if you decide not to keep it.


 COMMENT 509520 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 12:04 PM

This is not bamboo so don't try to eat it either! Bamboo grows much differently, please dig it up and take all parts of it and dispose of properly if you don't want it, don't use chemicals, we have enough problems, this is easily erradicated by digging up early as you see it. Remember a weed is only a plant out of place. This isn't an ugly plant think before panicking


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 03:53 PM

Here's a link to photos of shoots of Phyllostachys bambusoides "Castillonis". Does not look like the same plant to me. And the leaves on the poster's photo are nothing like any bamboo leaves I've seen. Would love to be convinced. But if it IS a dracaena, I wouldn't be eating it for sure.
Oh, can't post the link, because it's to a photo. Googled the species and it wasn't hard to find a photo of young shoots.


 SHORELINER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-08 08:39 PM

It is absolutely, positively bamboo. I have in along my backyard perimeter - it came with the house when we bought it 27 years ago.. It will seek out moist areas so don't water where you don't want it to grow.


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