The Q&A Archives: Sasa pygmaea

Question: Three years ago, I purchased a quart of your Sasa pygmaea or dwarf bamboo. For the first time last year I did not give it winter protection. Despite this, it is cropping up all over in our Japanese Garden and looks beautiful. In this garden we have three Japaese maples: Bloodgood, select red, and shaina. Do we need to worry about the bamboo taking over and killing/harming our Japanese maples? If so, can we still grow it in this garden such as in a sunken pot?

Answer: Sasa pygmaea is a fast grower and aggressive spreader, as you have discovered. Since the plants remain short, they should not threaten the health of your maples (in terms of overgrowing them), but the bamboo will compete with your trees for moisture and nutrients. I'd dig the bamboo out of the beds and replant it in containers. You can sink the containers into the ground so you can enjoy the look of the plants without the concern that it will spread out and eventually take over the entire bed.

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