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Bamboo Experts Advice Please!! Moso!

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Okay, here's the story morning glory: About a year and a half ago when we moved into our new house here in Sacramento, the backyard was barren and I wanted to create a tropical Adventureland type jungle wonderland, so to get the landscape going I got a couple of 5 gallon giant Moso bamboo plants as well as a bunch of Alphonse Karr bamboo. So it's all doing very well. I put a dozen 1 gallon Alphonse Karr's along the back fence (about a 60 foot length) and that's doing beautifully, with lots of new tall shoots right now. I put a couple of 5 gallon Alphonse Karr in a couple of select spots and they are doing incredibly, gorgeous with lots of huge shoots coming up now. Well, the Alphonse Karr is the clumping variety for sure, so I'm not worried about it spreading, I can keep it under control. But I just found out that the Moso is the running variety! I'd swear they told me it was a clumping variety when I bought it at the nursery!! I have one on one side of the yard where there's nothing beyond the fence but 15 feet of easment (dirt) all the way out to the street so it's fine to take over, but on the other side, it's maybe 10 feet from neighbors backyards on either side (it's in the corner) and that's the one I'm getting worried about. We do have hard clay soil here, and when you don't water, it's like rock hard, so I never water the back side of the Moso, but on the front side right now there is these great huge alien shoots coming up, maybe 4" in diameter and they're growing fast! No problem there, and so far nothing is coming up on the backside. But boy if you saw them it is kind of scary to think something of that size might wander! I'm thinking of digging a trench on the back side and filling it with concrete for security, I'd hate for them to spread out the backside!
Any advice from anyone who's grown Moso? I definitely want to keep it, it's incredible looking.

First of all, I am so envious right now...I wish I had the room to plant a few stands of Guadua or Alfonse Karr...my plan is to move to out in the 'sticks'('scuse the pun) after kids are grown, and start a bamboo nursery.

Carol Stanger suggests, in her book 'The Art and Craft of Bamboo', using poured concrete, sheets of aluminum, or heavy molded plastic to containg running bamboo. Containment should extend 24-30 inches below the ground, and 2 inches above...angled outward. Sheeting should overlap and be joined together tightly with screws...calking between the sheets would also be a good idea. Roadways and waterways are natural barriers.

Here are a few links...

Also, you should pm TC member Bamboo Bob, he is the vice president of the Southern California Chapter of the American Bamboo Society. He's the resident guru...I've only just started learning recently.

Gook luck to ya!

Thanks for the advice and thanks to BambooBen for sending me an email with more advice. I think for now I'm going to dig a 3' trench around the back perimeter (oh my acheing back!). They say that the bamboo roots won't go any deeper than that. So I'll see if any roots get to the side of the trench by next season. Then I'll put a plastic barrier backfilled with concrete in the trench. Brother! Glad I'm doing it now before the roots got out of the area. But it is worth it, the bamboo is so incredible, I love it. I'll post some picture soon so you can see what I'm talking about.

Dude, where is 'Martinland'???

"AAAAHHHH," says I, as I readjust the specs,"I see, Martin-i-land...not 'Martinland'."

Never mind! lol

[ Edited by: Bamboo Dude on 2004-08-02 10:28 ]

Martinland, that's funny. Yes our home's official name is MARINILAND. Richard mixes some mean martinis. Last year the big vogue was the green apple martini with a thin apple slice floating on top. This year he's been making these tropical blue martinis with 'Island Blue Pucker Schnapps' and they're good. But my favorite is a good old dirty martini with lots of olive juice, boy a few of those and you'll be set. I'm not too fond of the sweet drinks, I prefer something meatier. And there you have it!


I'm envious I would like to get some Moso myself, But where to put it. As I understand it the rhizomes stay within 12" of the surface and don't dive down. I've heard a 24" deep barrier will keep it contained. I have Oldhami, golden, golden goddess, and black bamboo right now. And plenty of room for runners, but they don't seem to stray where the ground is not watered.

I just received 100 Moso Bamboo seeds in the mail --- $5 with shipping on eBay from overseas.

Before I purchased the Moso seeds, I knew I would have to "start" them. No biggie, because there are good instructions all over the web. I was also told two things - that Moso IS a runner, and that it is NOT a runner. I'm going to assume it's a runner, so that means I'll take precautions.

Or not.

I visited a Central Florida farm where they have told me that if a bamboo runs, all you need to do is stomp on a runner, break it off by hand, or otherwise mangle it and that will stop the run. So --- since Moso is such a huge and tall and thick variety, I am expecting that any runners will be FEW and that they will be easy to spot and control by breaking them off if they were to run too far. The big problem with runners comes not with the gigantic bamboos, but the small bamboos which can send MANY shoots in fairly quick succession.

From what I've read, some of it here above my post in this thread, is that Moso may also be controlled by reducing watering, however we do in some years get a ton of rain here.

Are there any other Moso bamboo growers out there who can confirm this, or warn me before it's too late?

I'll post some pics of my seeds, and the process to get them started. I definitely will be starting a number of my seeds and, if they thrive, will be looking to plant them and maybe give one or more away to friends. (I have a green thumb.)

I have briefly thought about how cool it would be to plant one or more in a wild drainage area near my home, because it would look so cool, but I'm not at all keen on the idea of introducing a non-native specie into the native Florida wilderness - so ixnay on that idea.

If I plant Moso along my fenceline then I may get to see if my neighbor freaks out, hahahaha.

Follow-up to my last post -- just found this interesting message on forums.gardenweb.com:

Posted by kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)
Just some friendly advice. Bamboo on eBay are often sold by people who know very little about digging, stabilizing and proper shipping of bamboo. The prices may look good, but you may end up with only non-viable rhizomes or with a plant that dies on you. Other people sell bamboo seeds that are improperly identified, and are, in any case, illegal to bring into the country without a quarantine permit. Further, if they are not confiscated, they will still take years to produce decent size bamboo...and that's if they are viable and you can get them to sprout. Don't mean to sound too negative, but I've seen too many paople get bad deals on eBay with the bamboo sellers. They're not all bad...just a lot of them! Good luck, and be cautious.
ø Like ø‘ Bookmark October 1, 2009 at 12:36AM

So, sounds like a crapshoot for 5 bucks. As to the legality of the material I received, I'll have to give that some thought. I'm still searching for more info before I do anything.


I'm in N Florida and I'm just now having to deal with some black bamboo I planted 10 years ago to screen our fence line. It's finally reached critical mass, putting out some nice, big, 2 1/2" shoots and seeking sun in the neighbors' yards. I've started digging a trench along the fence line and furiously chopping runners. I'm hoping once I isolate the runners from the mother plant, continuing to knock down new shoots will eventually kill off the runners.

If you have neighbors, or don't want this bamboo getting into places you don't want it, I STRONGLY suggest putting in some sort of barrier when you plant it. Concrete or corrugated aluminum seem like the cheapest routes. I'm considering building concrete trough planters and transplanting to those so I can keep this monster under control in the future.

I started with 2 5 gallon plants from the nursery ten years ago. It took about five years to get nicely established. And now it's trying to take over the neighborhood.


Ace, The bamboo you see here is Phyllostachys Vivax I've had it run 15' through good soil in one season then pop up. I was told by Jerry at Jungle Fever Nursery that all Phyllostachy's are runners and I can tell you that stomping on or breaking off the shoots WILL NOT stop it from running it just stops that shoot from growing but the root will go further out and send up a new shoot. Also in terms of timber bamboo not being as bad as smaller bamboo for running, of the running bamboos I have its been far worse! The small ones seem to run a short distance before they pop up so are easier to spot and dig up before they get out of control. And as to controlling them with drought I can't see how that would work when they send out runners to seek moisture (and fertile soil) and will extend to continue the search (I've heard of them going all the way under a houses foundation to pop up on the other side!). Do put in a bamboo barrier for these (angling out from them) you'll be saving yourself a lot of work in the long run and with this type of bamboo I'd extend it 6" above the ground so you can see when the root tries to jump the barrier to cut it off. Moso is the bamboo grown for edible bamboo shoot so yum! Good luck with growing seeds, most of the bamboo I see up here (Washington state) are from new shoots off established clumps.

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