Can I prevent bamboo culms from "diving"?

Round Rock, TX

I have some promising culms on my black bamboo (Phyllostachy nigra) planted 2 years ago - but half of the culms emerged almost parallel to the ground, and they look like they are going to dive back into the earth. The best example is in this picture.

Now, I'm not opposed to letting this new colony spread out a bit, but I'd like more culms growing UP as well. Is there any way to convince a culm that it wants to go up instead of out? Or, do I just have to let the little guys do what they will?

Thumbnail by D3VNT
Decatur, GA

I don't know much about bamboo but I have kept a clump of running black bamboo in my yard for years. I don't think those culms parallel to the ground in your picture are going anywhere. They look like sprouts that got knocked over. When my plant started to spread it sent out underground runners that went actually far away from the original clump. They went under a sidewalk and came up in the flower bed at least 10ft from the original. I buried a sheet metal barrier to keep it from spreading again. To keep the new shoots from spreading I simply broke off any new shoots when then appeared in the spring. Eventually there were no new shoots and the original plant is doing fine, putting up new shoots only in the spring in the area I want it.
But I hope someone who know more that me will come along and offer some advise.
Good luck. Hope this might help.

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

D3VNT, that is most certainly a strange event. I would recommend you contacting the American Bamboo Society and send this picture along with your questions.

Since you are in TX here is the TX chapter for you to maybe try them first.

Hopefully once someone at this organization can help ID what is going on for you and I would ask that should you find an answer to please return here to post what it is and if there is a solution to it.

Black bamboo is a runner species bamboo and as helenchild mentioned about it sending out shoots 10 feet away, unless contained. So if you don't want it take over, which in TX climate could be a very good possibility, I would suggest containment before it becomes a problem. Now should you have a huge parcel of land, the you have time before it becomes a problem to get it contained.


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