What is a Bamboo Rhizome?

The bamboo plant has a number of structures, some like most other plants, shrubs, and trees, and additional ones that other plants do not have.

The element of the bamboo plant responsible for a number of functions is the rhizome. The following are the functions of the rhizome part of the plant:

1. Energy storage, in the form of starch and sugar, in the internodes

2. Water storage in the internodes

3. Propagation of new above ground shoots from the nodes

4. Propagation of new underground rhizomes from the nodes

5. Propagation of underground roots from the nodes

The following are functions of the roots:

1. Gather moisture from the soil

2. Gather nutrients from the soil

3. Deliver the moisture and nutrients to the below ground rhizome and the above ground culm, branches, and leaves

To summarize the functional difference between a root and a rhizome:

The function of a root is the gather moisture and nutrients from the soil and to deliver these to the other parts of the bamboo plant. The function of the rhizome is to propagate the various parts of the plant, store energy, water, and allow the plant parts to access that energy. Rhizomes consist of nodes, inter-nodes, small leaves, and buds, please note that roots have no such parts. Illustrations below. A few of the characteristic differences between roots and rhizomes are that roots are opportunistic, filling soil spaces available to the roots. Rhizomes, in contrast, are aggressive and invasive and can cause significant damage to concrete structures, fences, wood, siding, foundations, and footings. Rhizomes have a very sharp and hard point, like a sewing needle, and can flatten to get through cracks in concrete, between wood and concrete in window wells, travel under foundations and footings, and actually crack concrete with the pressure they exert.

If there are masses of these rhizomes under the cement surrounding your home, under the foundation of the home, pushing on the wall, coming through breaks in the concrete, traveling under the concrete and into other garden areas the grove probably needs to be removed.

Always feel free to call or email us to discuss whatever bamboo problems you might be experiencing.

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