It's shooting season!

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Every spring, circa March or April in New Orleans, the shooting season begins.

What's this mean?

First, a couple definitions: "Running," or scientifically speaking, leptomorph bamboos are the ones that you've been warned about. Left unchecked, they can become invasive and turn your back yard into a forest. It's due to their root  structure, which sends out long strands of rhizomes through the soil, eventually popping up a few feet (or even a few yards!) away from the source plant. "Clumping" (aka pachymorph) bamboos exhibit a root system that's completely different, and, as its name suggests, they have roots that form a clumping structure.

So now that we know what running bamboos are, let's talk shooting season.

Shooting season is a roughly 60-day period in the spring when the running bamboos, which have been storing their energy for months, begin sending up new growth. Whereas clumping bamboos grow throughout the year, runners compress almost all of their growth into this short timeframe. As a result, this is an incredible, dramatic time of year in the life of a bamboo.

Some species (e.g. phyllostachys edulis, aka "moso") can grow a foot or more per day. Others can grow at nearly that rate, turning a patch of bamboo into a forest within days.

That's what's happening now, and at Ninth Ward Nursery — depending on how much of a plant nerd you are — it's pretty exciting.

Mark SandersComment