The MulchMaid has bamboo and she likes it a lot. This isn't news to those of you who read this blog, since she's posted about her bamboo control methods in the past. What is news is that, sadly, the MulchMaid needs to get rid of her bamboo - soon.
It's become abundantly clear that this particular strain of running bamboo is stronger, sneakier and much quicker than we gave it credit for, or can keep on top of.
About three weeks ago, I did the tri-annual exploration of the sand barrier with an old pruning saw. I found a lot of runners and roots heading south through the barrier and beyond, as far as three feet from the mother plant.
Lots of the roots were deep, too.
This surprised me, because the sand was supposed to offer so little resistance that the bamboo would stay shallow if it traveled.
I filled this big pot with roots. I was concerned that the bamboo had managed to penetrate so far beyond the barrier in the months since my last cleanup.
About a week prior to my cleanup, I had thinned the bamboo substantially, to encourage the growth of fresh, thick canes.
Be careful what you wish for, MulchMaid: lots of fat, juicy bamboo sprouts are coming your way.
This area doesn't seem quite so threatening, but look what we discovered yesterday:
This bamboo shoot is coming up a foot past the end of the sand barrier. It's at least two feet north of the mother plant.
Considering I just cleared the sand trap three weeks ago, this looks bad.
In our last garden, the Mulch Man controlled the bamboo nicely with a twice-a-year thinning. Maybe it's all the rain we've had, or maybe it's a different strain of bamboo, but it is acting way too happy.
The Mulchers will get some help removing it, but the first question is: what can adequately replace the bamboo in this narrow, partly-shady spot? As good as some people's containers of bamboo look, that's not a good solution for this area. The replacement needs to provide the same evergreen privacy screening, yet contend with the neighbor's pin oak on the other side of the fence. One idea is Nandina domestica.
Heavenly Bamboo has an evergreen, bamboo-like quality, hence its common name. Summer blossoms turn into nice red berries in fall and winter.
And the new growth is a pretty reddish-green. However Nandina will take years to get tall enough for much privacy, at least compared to the bamboo.
Since our front garden already has a area planted in Nandina, I'd prefer a visually different solution. But it's a definite contender.
The Mulchers are open to other suggestions, so if you have an ideal candidate, please share here!