The Q&A Archives: Bamboo????

Question: I am trying to name a plant that I have growing in my backyard. It it quite common in my area, especially around old farmyards.

It grows to about 10 to 12 feet high, and has the appearance of bamboo. It has fairly large leaves, flowers in the fall, dies after the first hard frost, and loses its leaves. The stalks will turn an amber color as they dry out, and they will remain standing for the winter. In the spring I snap them off at grown level, and the growing cycle renews itself. As the weather warms, the plants can grow up to 2 to 3 feet in a week.

This is a very invasive plant that I have contained by digging down 40 inches and installing a barrier of rolled roofing. If one little piece of root is missed when digging it up, it will produce a plant that will later produce runners, and will eventually take over a yard if unchecked. The roots will run 20 ft under a weed barrier before popping up.

It is a very nice privacy barrier if contained.

No one in my area knows where it originated, much less its proper name. Can you help???

Answer: Based on your description I think it's Japanese knotweed. If so, this plant is on the State Noxious Weed Board list and should be eradicated at every opportunity. Japanese knotweed is a member of the buckwheat family. The botanical name is Polygonum cuspidatum.

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