What is the look of a Mediterranean bamboo (or reed, or stubble) plant under the soil? Some years ago I heard a story from a man who had a field in which he inherited many bamboo plants. He was talking about how he had a hard time getting rid of them. “It is so hard to get rid of bamboos once they grow in your garden,” he was saying.
In Greece, we have a place at the cottage where my father planted bamboos to use its reeds straws for supporting climbing plants, like tomatoes and peas.
Everything wend well until the bamboos were expanding, occupying each year a larger area. Their growth seemed unstoppable. You cut the top of the bamboos and they grew again and again, a few inches away from where you had cut them. They were expanding like hell. They covered any place they could find and competed with any other plant that was near them.
If I let them go, they’d cover any space they could find. I was surprised that we were talking about a dry, unwattered area, a typical Mediterranean terrain. The opposite of what all the literature defines as the ideal environment for reed growth. According to the sources, reeds grow in moist environments. Our environment was anything but moist.
So I took a hoe and first cut the bamboo straws that were sticking out above the ground. I thought this was it.
In some of the strokes, the hoe went into the ground and I had a hard time getting it out. It was like hitting an obstacle.
I dug again and again and then came the revelation!
Under the soil, there was a whole network of roots of what we see as bamboos on the surface.
I discovered that underneath the soil bamboos extends horizontally, parallel to the ground. It looks like a living organism expanding by horizontal roots.
In some places, it grows upwards and from there the structures we see on the surface appear like bamboos.
The photos below show what a Mediterranean bamboo looks like under the soil.
To remove the bamboos and stop them from growing in places you don’t want them, you need to pull out the roots. And that can only be done by digging…
In Greece, we call Mediterranean bamboos as “kalamies” (καλαμιές). I had a hard time finding the right translation to English.
The best English term candidate is “Mediterranean bamboos“. Other candidates were reeds and stubbles. But I am not sure. So, your help is welcome.