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What's the Difference Between Running Bamboos and Clumping Bamboos?

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Question: What's the Difference Between Running Bamboos and Clumping Bamboos?
For landscaping purposes, bamboos are generally spoken of as being either "running" or "clumping" bamboos. Here's the difference -- and why it's important....
Answer:

When it comes to using bamboos in landscaping, the question on just about everyone's mind is, "Will they spread too quickly and get out of hand?" To a large degree, the answer to that question depends upon whether the bamboos in question are "running" types or "clumping" bamboos.

Bamboos spread via rhizomes. But whereas running bamboos (monopodial) have long rhizomes that spread quickly, clumping bamboos (sympodial) have shorter rhizomes that don't spread so rapidly.

It's easy to see from this distinction why running bamboos would be considered good candidates for the classification, "invasive plants." Most people new to growing bamboo choose to grow one of the clumping bamboos.

But what if you do to choose to grow a running bamboo? Or what if you are unsure whether the bamboo you're about to plant is a running or a clumping bamboo? Must you throw all caution to wind, or are there measures you can take to inhibit the spread of the invasive bamboos? That is the subject of the next FAQ....

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