Phyllostachys: Invasive Running Bamboo
A new invader is on the radar and it may be the worst alien invasive the USA has ever encountered.
Phyllostachys is Giant Cold Hardy Temperate Timber Bamboo, 15 below 0. This is the genus of all invasive running bamboo. This invasive forms a monoculture that excludes all native vegetation. It grows more aggressive each successive year, so that when one realizes it is a problem it is almost too late. It is virtually impossible to eradicate and is destructive to all assets as the rhizomes invade undetected approximately 20 feet per year in a 360 degree pattern around the mother plant.
There are two types of bamboo – running (invasive) and clumping (non-invasive). Phyllostachys running bamboo is easy to propagate from small fragments of rhizomes.
The sellers (many online using eBay and Craigslist) do not want the truth to get out as this equates to huge profits online. They cannot easily propagate the clumping bamboo.
One cannot plant Phyllostachys in the ground in Tokyo. Phyllostachys cannot be shipped into Hawaii. Worldwide, it is invasive. The Hiroshima bomb did not kill Phyllostachys.
In fact, it was the only living thing and flourished just a few days later.
The damage reports and invasions are all through Connecticut. I am receiving damage reports from all our states. I am collaborating with many, as this may be the worst non-native invasive Connecticut has ever encountered. Towns are banning it all through New York almost weekly now. This is a new problem, and we are just finding out.
This is the fastest growing plant on earth. When an invasion shoots in May and June, the culms grow approximately two feet per day, destroying all other landscape and structures. Backhoe to remove the huge rhizome mass that is like horticultural concrete underground.
I am keeping the database for Connecticut and we are up to approximately 150 invasions.
Many have escaped already into forests and wetlands. In Connecticut, homes sales have fallen through due to invasive bamboo. This is very serious at this point. Entire neighborhoods are invaded in just a short time.
We need to work together to have this invasive placed on the "Do Not Sell List."
The plant tags just proposed by Bob Heffernan, CNLA, to warn the public contains incorrect information. The links to view the incorrect tags and my opposition are here: https://sites.google.com/site/invasivebambooresearch/assignments/homeworkforweekofoctober11th
The recent town bans are here: https://sites.google.com/site/invasivebambooresearch/useful-links
The Institute of Invasive Bamboo Research: https://sites.google.com/site/invasivebambooresearch/home
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/InstituteOfInvasiveBambooResearch
Caryn Rickel is an invasive bamboo research specialist. Please contact 203-734-6344 to see and learn more about bamboo invasions.