Quick Thinking

Remember the other day when I posted about the hot exhaust from an excavator working at my neighbor's house fried some of my plants? The day after that happened, I got a knock on my door while I was eating lunch. "Is it okay if we bring the excavator down your driveway? We can't get the right angle from the front."

"Sure", I said, "that's fine."

"Some of your bushes are in the way. We'll dig them out for you..."

"DON'T DIG UP ANYTHING!!" I commanded as I hurried out to the driveway.


You know you're in trouble when the guy in charge of the digging equipment uses the word "bushes" to refer to all of the plants in your garden. In this case, the "bushes" in question were bamboos.

There are three bamboos planted on the side of my driveway here, and the top photo shows two of them: Indocalamus longiauritus is the taller one on the left, and Sasaella masamuneana 'Albostriata' is just barely visible in the center there. There's an even smaller Sasa oshidensis to the right out of the shot, and it was these two smaller bamboos that they were eyeing to dig up.

Or drive over. That was their chosen access path though.

My first thought was to dig up one of them temporarily, but that would be a lot of work and it was already over 95ºF in the shade. The Sasa had only been in the ground for a year or so, and I really didn't want to disturb it.

"Plywood" I said.


"Do you have a sheet of plywood? You can lay it over the plant and drive on top of that. It's bamboo so it won't really hurt it."

"There's some plywood in the garage" one guy said, so after reconfirming that they were not to dig up anything I went into the house and snapped some photos through the window.

I was hoping for a larger piece of plywood, but that will have to do.

After they had finished -- they only needed 10 minutes or less over here -- they removed the board. The plant looked okay, but I took a closer look the next morning:

Not too bad! Some culm breakage as indicated by the completely desiccated leaves, but I can live with that. Much less damage than trying to dig up the whole plant. I probably should have laid the plywood myself -- I bet even less damage would have been done -- but I'm happy with this.

How many other plants in the garden could be driven over by an excavator and come out relatively unscathed? That's one of the reasons I love bamboo.

Quick thinking saved me lots of work and a beautiful plant!

(Good thing I work at home!)


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Modern Mia  – (July 13, 2012 at 7:45 AM)  

Yay for not having to dig up the bamboo! I would never have thought to cover it with plywood. Thanks for the tip! Our neighbor is starting a massive yard renovation in a month so this tip will probably come in handy.

danger garden  – (July 13, 2012 at 10:46 AM)  

You are a very nice neighbor...I'm not sure I could have/would have been so accommodating.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 13, 2012 at 10:49 AM)  

I would have had a heart attack! You handled it very well, and I learned something new (the plywood trick). Of course plywood wouldn't work too well with succulents :-).

Chad B  – (July 13, 2012 at 12:31 PM)  

Agree with danger garden. I might have been tempted to tell them to figure out another way to get their work done. Very nice of you!

Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (July 13, 2012 at 3:33 PM)  

Good thing you were there when they came - this reminded me of the way my plumbing guys 'took care' of some of my plants a while back - its enough to freak us gardeners out completely :)

Renee  – (July 15, 2012 at 1:09 PM)  

You are a very nice neighbor... I'm not sure I'd let my neighbors' contractors drive over my grass, let alone a plant I actually cared about! And I shudder to think how they were going to dig up bamboo...

Bom  – (July 16, 2012 at 12:17 AM)  

At least they had the courtesy to ask for permission first. Glad your bamboo plants are relatively okay.

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