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Syracuse, New York
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Special Topics

Worst Weeds in Landscape Plantings

Japanese Knotweed/Bamboo -

Polygonum cuspidatum

Though not a true bamboo, the hollow stems of Japanese bamboo are certainly bamboo-like!Native to Japan, China and parts of Korea, the hollow, bamboo-like shoots of Japanese knotweed or bamboo, at right, sprout from the ground and grow eight to ten feet tall before bearing clusters of creamy-white flowers in mid– to late August, below left!

Introduce to North America as a fast-growing, late summer-flowering ornamental plant before 1890, its rhizomes have been reported to send up shoots more than fifty feet away from a main crown. In addition, rhizome pieces weighing no more than one-quarter of an ounce can send up new shoots.

The creamy white flowers held in drooping panicles are the main ornamental feature of this plant.As with the other weeds featured here, the vigor and reproductive capacity of this plant’s rhizomes makes it very difficult to control - especially when infestations straddle property lines.