Planting things is too easy. 1) Dig a hole. 2) Put plant in hole. 3) Fill what’s left of the hole with dirt. 4) Pat, pat, pat.
Landscaping seems like a great DIY project, so very few of us turn to professionals who know what not plant and where not to plant it. As a result, all across this nation of ours are trees that were planted way too close to a house because the homeowner never considered that cute little sapling was going to grow up to be a pine tree that will one day destroy siding, gutters and roof shingles whenever the wind blows.
Which brings us to our backyard and the son of a panda who decided to plant bamboo a few years ago. It’s pretty and makes a fantastic privacy screen, but as much as I’ve enjoyed looking at it, I’ve never forgotten the horror stories of people who’ve needed enriched uranium and a priest to get the stuff out of their yards. So I researched.
There are two kinds of bamboo – clumping and running. Simply put, clumping is good, running is bad. The iNaturalist app and Google told me in short order that my bamboo was not the type that played well with the other photosynthesizing children. It has more of a “world domination” type of vibe. We needed an expert, so I searched the How NOLA Grows Dat Facebook Group and found my guy.
Mark from Ninth Ward Nursery is a self-proclaimed bamboo savant, and he quickly identified our bamboo as sinobambusa ‘tootsik’. Yeah, THAT sinobambusa ‘tootsik’. It’s beautiful and grows quickly, but it’s invasive and nearly impossible to stop from spreading. Our plan is to cut it down, dig up the rhizome (roots), and plant that in a container to eventually get a screen we can control once it grows back. However, it’s impossible to get all of the rhizome out of the ground. What’s left has to be poisoned with precision, so it doesn’t kill the neighboring plants. Fun!
All bamboo is not the Stalk of Satan. That’s where Ninth Ward Nursery comes in. Bamboo is practically all they do, and they sell beautiful varieties (check out the baby blue and black bamboos) that won’t eat you whole like our confounded sinobambusa ‘tootsik’. If you’re thinking about working some into your landscaping, please talk to them before you plant.
There’s no “I” in plant, but there is a “plan.” And that might be the cheesiest thing I’ve ever typed.