Bamboos (Phyllostachys aurea)
Carr. ex A.& C. Rivière
'Miller, J.H., E.B, Chambliss, N.J. Loewenstein. 2010. A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests. General Technical Report SRS-119. Asheville, NC. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 126 p.
Perennial infestation-forming bamboos, 16 to 40 feet (5 to 12 m) in height, with jointed cane stems and whorls of branches at each node. Bushy tops of lanceolate leaves along branches, in fan clusters, often golden green. Plants arising from branched rhizomes.
Solid jointed canes 1 to 6 inches (2.5 to 15 cm) in diameter. Hollow between joints. Golden to green to black. Branches wiry and projecting from joints. Lower shoots and branches with loose papery sheaths that cover the ground when shed.
Alternate, grasslike, often in fan clusters. Blades long and lanceolate, 3 to 10 inches (8 to 25 cm) long and 0.5 to 1.5 inches (1.3 to 4 cm) wide. Often golden, sometimes green or variegated. Veins parallel. Hairless except for large hairs at base of petiole, which shed with age. Deciduous sheaths encasing stem.
Flowers very rarely.
Seeds very rarely.
Common around old homesites and now escaped. Colonize by rhizomes and less so by stolons with infestations rapidly expanding after disturbance. General dieback after period flowering and seeding (about every 7 to 12 years) resulting in standing dead canes and new shoots.
Resembles switchcane [Arundinaria gigantea (Walter) Muhl. and other native Arundinaria spp.], the only native bamboolike canes in the South, distinguished by its persistent sheaths on the stem, short alternate branches or branch clusters, and its lower height —usually only 6 to 8 feet (2 to 2.5 m). Also resemble giant reed (Arundo donax L.), also described in this book.
History and use
All native to Asia. Widely planted as ornamentals and for fishing poles.
Found throughout the region with scattered dense infestations in every State.
- Do not plant. Remove prior plantings.
- Bulldoze and root rake to excavate root crowns and rhizomes, pile, and burn. Caution: Do not bulldoze bamboo infestations where blackbird species frequently roost because the infectious fungus, histoplasmosis can be present in the soil and cause deadly lung infections.
- Repeated cutting to groundline will not yield control but can assist herbicide applications to resprouts.
- Burning treatments are suspected of having minimal topkill effect due to scant litter.
Recommended control procedures
- Cut large stems and apply foliar sprays to resprout tips when plants are 3 to 4 feet tall, or use restricted spray nozzles and increased spray pressures to treat leaves as high as possible. When damage of nontarget plants is a concern, repeatedly apply a glyphosate herbicide as a 10-percent solution (1 quart per 3-gallon mix) in water with a surfactant. When there are no concerns of nontarget plant damage, thoroughly wet all leaves and sprouts with Arsenal AC* as a 1-percent solution (4 ounces per 3-gallon mix) in water with a surfactant. For greatest effectiveness, use a combination of the two herbicides. Treat in September or October with multiple applications to regrowth when adequate foliage is present.
- Cut just above ground level between stem sections and immediately apply into the stem cup a double-strength batch of the same herbicide or herbicide mixture in September or October.
- For treatment of extensive infestations in forest situations, apply Velpar L* to the soil surface as spots in a grid pattern at spacings specified on the herbicide label at 2 gallons of herbicide per acre.
* Nontarget plants may be killed or injured by root uptake.