Dallas Morning News - July 21, 2016
Q. How do I get rid of bamboo permanently? Someone living in a home that backs up to a house that we own planted bamboo many years ago and it has invaded the entire easement in back of several houses. We would all like to rid ourselves of this invasive plant but don't know how. Thanks in advance for your expert advice. M. S. Plano, TX
A. To control the spread of bamboo, the first step is to knock the shoots down in the spring. As you know, they grow very fast, so this work has to be done daily. Kick them over or slash them off with a machete, which is highly satisfying. Then use a sharpshooter shovel or a hoe to probe the soil and find the underground stems (rhizomes) that the shoots grew from. Trace the rhizomes back toward the plants that will be left and use the sharpshooter or other tool to sever the runners every couple of feet. They do not have to be dug out of the ground. I have killed large areas of bamboo with this technique. Without top growth, cut runners will die.
If you wish the bamboo to be completely gone, cut all the top growth to the ground now and use the same procedure explained above over the entire growth area. This works because bamboo doesn't grow back well from the rhizomes when the runners are severed and there is no top growth. In case you are wondering, herbicides do not work at all.
Q. I know that you recommend bigtooth maple. I have a maple tree that needs to be replaced. It has sunscald on the west side and has struggled since day one. Is the bigtooth maple a good replacement here in North Arlington. R. L. Arlington, TX
Q. Do you know of a sprayer I can use with the 10% vinegar? I need battery powered. The one I bought from Chapin, does not. The sprayer failed in a Month. J. C. Somonauk, IL
A. Try one of the backpack sprayers. The one I use is the Stihl. The hand pump mechanism is very easy to use. Make sure to rinse it or any sprayer well after each use.
Q. We have okra that is growing finally with the hotter temps, but it has only produced 2 flowers and then of course 2 pods. It is green, no sign of issues with bugs, growing bushy this year whereas the last time we used these same seeds it grew just straight up to about 9 feet. What do you suggest the problem might be for not producing any flowers? The brand of seed is Organic Ferry-Morse, Clemson Spineless #80. We had really good results with this seed the first year we planted it. Thanks for your help! D. D. Throckmorton, TX
Q. I have clay soil in SW Fort Worth. My wife wants to plant two Crape Myrtles and wants a large variety. The space in question isn’t limited. What variety do you recommend and how far apart should they be planted? My wife would like them to grow together when mature. Are there any specific planting / care instructions other than your basic organic program and to ensure a crazy exposed flare? I’d also like to plant a live oak on the other side of my yard and I’ve got the same questions. I’ve planted a bur oak and magnolia following your instructions and they’re both great. Last question. Where can I purchase a rusty blackhaw viburnum? I’ve heard you talk about them for a long time and I’ve checked out all your pics online and we’d like one but I’ve looked for a good long while and I can’t find them. J. C. Fort Worth, TX