How to fight the neighbor's plant that comes under the
I have a problem with my neighbor's bamboo plant. They
planted it along the fence line. It is spreading down an unmowed
bank. It has to be pulled in order to keep it out of my yard. From
there it could spread into my woods which is about an acre. Is
there anything I can do to keep this off my property?
Property line wars are fought every day over running-root
invasive plants, from traditional groundcovers such as snow on the
mountain (Aegopodium podagraria) to the bamboo you're
battling (probably not a true bamboo but an August flowering
jointed-stem plant known as Mexican bamboo,(Polygonum
cuspidatum). Basic defenses are the same for every plant.
Dig down along the property line. Note how deep the plant's
roots run. All along the front, maintain a trench that deep --
roots don't grow through air -- or bury an impermeable, vertical
barrier. If black plastic edging isn't deep enough, buy carpet
runner and cut the roll to make strips the width you need. Carpet
runner is 27-inch wide clear or tinted plastic mat with
carpet-gripping nubbles on one side, meant to protect carpet in
high traffic areas and sold by the foot off a large roll.
Be prepared to dig deep for some plants, including Mexican
bamboo which may have runners from surface level to 12 inches or
If digging isn't feasible or if as in your case creating a
trench separator still leaves you with live runners on your side,
use a herbicide such as Roundup to kill everything in a four or
five foot wide strip or however much area is already infested.
Cover it with a thick mulch and continue to watch for sprouts and
spot treat with the herbicide. Once the area is clear, if it's
protected by a trench or root barrier, you can replant with a
desirable plant. Without a trench or root barrier, the no-plant
zone must become a permanent fixture, mulched and killed
Be sure to tell your neighbor what you're doing and that you
would have appreciated a no-plant zone being established on their
side of the property line in the first place. Keep in mind that
many people make mistakes or are misinformed about a plant's true
nature, so your neighbor may be looking for a chance or a way to
say I'm sorry.
I am unable to get seed or tubers to raise Jerusalem
artichokes. No one knows what they are! They look like
I"m also looking for the Mediterranean herb
For uncommon species, don't look in department superstores. Ask
at local garden centers, preferably those that specialize in the
type of plant you're seeking. Yours are classified with vegetables
and herbs rather than ornamentals so check garden centers known for
those.They'll help you with the oregano and if they don't carry
Jerusalem artichoke they may suggest a source.
To shop by mail, search the Internet for the plant's scientific
name. Find the scientific name from a common name index in a plant
encyclopedia such as Hortus Third or from the Internet. Oregano is
Origanum and there are many varieties. Jerusalem artichoke
is Helianthus tuberosus.
If you don't have Internet access at home, go to a library. I
was delighted while searching for Jerusalem artichoke to find it in
multiple places. The great thing about searching this way is
that you can find out of state suppliers easily if your local
locations do not cary them.
Want to multiply your Japanese maple?
Are you like M.H.? She read of the probable dollar value of her
45 year old dwarf laceleaf Japanese maple, in recent news of such a
tree being stolen. So she's looking for a way to make more of or
find a buyer for her tree.
It's not likely your maple will be stolen -- such thefts,
despite their rarity as front page news stories, have been going on
now and then for as long as nurseries have been in business and
usually happen at nurseries. If you're serious about selling, put
an ad in the classified, but don't expect the high dollar value
reported in the news. That applies to only choice varieties of
nursery grown, ready-for-transplant Japanese maples.
It is a good time to make clones of the tree. Take tip cuttings
about six inches long. Strip off the lowest leaves and dip that end
in a rooting hormone -- available at garden centers as Rootone or
Dip n' Grow. Insert the cut end into a small pot filled with
moistened potting mix and make a terrarium type tent over the pot.
In about six months, about one third of such cuttings will
Green thumbs up
to common sense. No, you can't seal-coat rocks, plants or siding
to prevent rust stains. But you can redirect the spray, place
sprinkler heads to shoot out away from a house rather than toward
it, or install drip lines rather than spray heads!
Green thumbs down
to softened water as irrigation water. If you can arrange for
outdoor water lines to bypass your water softener, that's better
for plants and the soil, which don't appreciate the added
Originally published 7/26/03