Kathy Crowley on Taming the Notoriously Unruly Bamboo

Gardening

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY APR 30, 2020

Our new weekly gardening column had sprouted its way into week four and the plant care questions keep rolling in for Kathy Crowley of Crowley Nursery. Kathy started the nursery in her own backyard in Bayshore Gardens. As the family business began to grow, so did its facility. Now situated out in Old Myakka, her and her family have been working bringing beauty to backyards for close to 30 years now. Kathy will be providing useful tips and expert advice to share each week, as a new question will be posed to enhance your green thumb evolution. 

SRQ: I'm a bit intimidated by bamboo and its notorious reputation for unruly growth and constant maintenance. What are your recommendations on integrating and maintaining bamboo in the yard?

Kathy:  We find many people that come to our nursery feel bamboo is a nightmare. Well, in a way it is, if you are from up north and have only seen running bamboo grow.  You can not stop running bamboo and it is the only (or main type) grown in the north. The clumping kind does not grow in the cold as they are tropical. Running bamboo has a flat side on it, while the clumping kind are round. Tropical bamboo are clumpers and can be stopped by putting landscape timber on the ground. Outline it on how you want it to grow like a square or a narrow run for a living fence.  When bamboo is inside the wood and grows forward and feels it, it will stay inside the wood. Bamboo does not like to be walked on so if it is on your walk path it will grow the other direction. Bamboo comes in hedge types that usually grow to 20 ft on average. You can also trim its back with a saw jaw and keep it closer to 4 ft if desired. These are thinner types that grow close together for privacy. However, there are others taller, many times used as a specimen, and can top off at 30 to 40 ft. Plant your bamboo every 10 ft, as planting closer is not better and hurts the bamboo. 

If you have a particular gardening question you'd like answered and featured in a future column, email SRQDailyGardening@srqme.com

Crowley Nursery, 16423 Jomar Road Sarasota, 941-322-0315.

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