Bamboo Conference on Long Island, October 19, 2012

Bamboo – Every Plant Has Its Rightful Place

Friday October 19, 2012   8am – 4pm

Little Theater, Roosevelt Hall

Farmingdale State College, Farmingdale, NY

Sponsored by the Department of Ornamental Horticulture, Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association (LINLA), the Northeast Chapter of the American Bamboo Society, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County

Many “running” bamboo species spread into unwanted areas, often resulting in disputes between property owners.  At least eight Long Island municipalities have banned the planting of bamboo, and other communities are proposing bans. This is unfortunate, costly and not necessary.

Contrary to popular belief, bamboo is not truly classified as an invasive plant, and there are many clumping species that stay right where you want them. In this all day conference nationally and regionally recognized horticulturists, designers, growers and bamboo proponents will separate fact from fiction.

The conference will conclude with an examination of legislation that has been enacted and or proposed within Long Island communities that indiscriminately bans all bamboo from being planted.

Legislators who have proposed or written laws banning bamboo will be invited to discuss their point of view within a panel discussion composed of other conference participants.

Landscape Architects are eligible to receive 5 Continuing Education Credits by attending the full day program. NY State CNLP’s can receive 5 Continuing Education Credits. ISA Certification credits are available for attendees.

Schedule of Events

8:00am – 8:30am: Registration and coffee

8:30-8:45am    Opening Remarks and Greeting –Michael Veracka, Chairman & Asst. Professor, Dept. of Ornamental Horticulture, Farmingdale State College

8:45:-9:15am   The Amazing World of Bamboo: a Global Perspective of Bamboo– Michael Veracka

9:15-10:15am  Bamboo Basics –Not All Bamboo is Alike: a Close Examination of the Properties of Bamboo (running and clumping) and Their Cultural Requirements – Susanne Lucas, Executive Director, World Bamboo Organization ( ) and Northeast Chapter Director, American Bamboo Society (

10:15-11:15am  Designing with Bamboo: Selecting Useful Species for Landscapes and Control Strategies – Susanne Lucas, Horticulturist (

11:15am – 12:15 pm  Incorporating Bamboo into Northeastern Landscapes – Designers’ Case Studies: Bamboo – The Good, the Bad, the Ugly – Stephen Morrell,  Director of the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Mill Neck NY; principal of Contemplative Landscapes, Chester, CT


12:15-1:00pm Lunch break; books and plants for sale

1:00-2:00pm   My Neighbor’s Bamboo Has Escaped: an Examination of Sane and Sound Strategies for Controlling or Removing Unwanted Bamboo — Mike Johnson, Summer Hill Nursery, Madison, CT

2:00- 3:00pm  Incorporating Bamboo into Northeastern Landscapes – Designers’ Case Studies             Matthew Urbanski, landscape architect, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc

3:00-3:15pm   break

3:15- 4:00pm  Banning All Bamboo:  An update on Legislation Within Long Island Communities. At least eight Long Island municipalities have banned the planting of bamboo, and other communities are proposing bans. Panel discussion featuring Long Island legislators, growers and educators.

4:00pm            Concluding remarks

Registration fees are the following:  Adults: $65.00 (includes lunch); $50.00 without lunch.  Students (presenting valid ID): $40.00 (includes lunch); $25.00 without lunch.

For more information about the conference call: Michael Veracka (631) 420-2113 or email

Talk Descriptions

The Amazing World of Bamboo

Natural, durable, abundant, and, bamboo is the most popular plant on the planet. Whether it’s birds using it for their nests or builders seeking it out for green construction projects, the hardy plant proves to be one of the most versatile and enduring plants. Farmingdale State College Ornamental Horticulture Chairperson Michael Veracka reveals just why bamboo is the plant of choice for so many around the world, where you can find it in many popular products on the shelves today, and how city dwellers in even the most urban environments can grow and incorporate bamboo in their homes.

Speaker background: Michael Veracka is an Assistant professor and Chairman of the Department of Ornamental Horticulture at Farmingdale State College. Michael is a frequent lecturer and writer on a wide variety of design and horticultural topics. His teaching interests and design practice focus on sustainable design, edible landscaping and the adaptive reuse of urban spaces.

Bamboo Basics

Bamboo is a group of very diverse plants, including evergreen perennials in the Poaceae family, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae.  There are more than 70 genera divided into about 1,450 species.  Bamboos are found in diverse climates from cold mountains to hot tropical regions.  Although most people have a place in mind as to where they want to plant bamboo, one should consider many factors to properly site bamboo.   This talk will examine the properties of running and clumping bamboo and their cultural requirements.

Speaker background: Professionally and mentally, Susanne Lucas’ days are filled with bamboo. She manages 3 separate companies, in which one she is a horticultural consultant and landscape designer, in another she steers and promotes a commercial line of in-vitro bamboo clones for the U.S. nursery industry (, and last, but not least, Susanne is the CEO of the World Bamboo Organization.

Designing with Bamboo: Selecting Useful Species for Landscapes and Control Strategies

Bamboo plants vary in height from 2” to 100’.  In landscape settings bamboo can be used as a ground cover, as an edging, hedge or screen plant, as a solitary specimen or utilized in groves.  Bamboo genera have varying cultural requirements, some requiring control strategies.  In this talk we will uncover useful cold-hardy species suitable for the Northeast for different landscape situations.

Bamboo: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

For more than a century the exotic beauty, graceful form, and unique growth habit of bamboo has seduced western gardeners. In Asia it is considered the most useful plant known to man, finding expression in art, poetry, architecture, and an endless array of utilitarian objects. The varied forms, growth rates, and mysterious flowering cycles have confounded botanists for years. This in turn has contributed to misinformation regarding the proper siting and maintenance of bamboo in the home garden. This presentation will examine the design considerations, cultural requirements, and the realities of maintaining bamboo in the landscape, based on nearly forty years of growing bamboo in the northeast.

Speaker background: Since 1982 Stephen has been Director of the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Mill Neck NY. As principal of Contemplative Landscapes, Chester, CT, Stephen has designed Japanese inspired gardens for both private clients and as public gardens in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. His public projects include gardens for a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Rye, NY, Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, NY, Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and most recently Connecticut College in New London, CT.

My Neighbor’s Bamboo Has Escaped: and Examination of Sane and Sound Strategies for Controlling or Removing Unwanted Bamboo

The reality is that many running bamboos spread into unwanted areas.  Contrary to popular belief, bamboo is not truly classified as an invasive plant. In this presentation we will uncover how running bamboos spread into unwanted areas and describe proven strategies for removing, controlling or containing bamboo.

Speaker background: Mike Johnson started Summer Hill Nursery, Madison, CT in 1957. Mike was one of the first nurserymen in New England to start growing landscape plants in containers. Today Summer Hill grows a wide variety of flowering shrubs and trees, Japanese maples, and many rare and unusual varieties of plant material, including native plants, and “hard to grow” varieties that are uncommon in the trade. Mike has extensive experience working with bamboo and currently grows fifty two varieties of hardy bamboo.

Incorporating Bamboo into Northeastern Landscapes – Designers’ Case Studies

Speaker background: Matthew Urbanski, is a landscape architect at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. He has planned and designed landscapes in the United States, Canada, and France, including waterfronts, parks, college campuses, sculpture gardens, and private gardens. Matthew lectures frequently on the expanding role of landscape architecture in urban design and the emerging recognition of parks as the engines of the livable city.

Banning all Bamboo: An update on Legislation within Long Island Communities

At least eight Long Island municipalities have banned the planting of bamboo, and other communities are proposing bans.  Panel discussion featuring Long Island legislators, growers and educators. 


As sponsor and host for this conference, the Department of Ornamental Horticulture feels strongly that every land use decision we make will have a positive or negative effect on the land in our care. Throughout the college’s one hundred year history, the department has always promoted sound green policies. With its recent development of a sustainable garden within Farmingdale State College’s renowned 4-acre Teaching Gardens, the Department of Ornamental Horticulture offers an opportunity to foster greater awareness and understanding of a truly green movement among its students, who will serve as future industry leaders. This new outdoor classroom continues the department’s long tradition of utilizing practical, hands-on experience to complement and enhance traditional academic programming.


Generations of talented students and dedicated faculty have developed and maintained the Teaching Gardens since the 1930’s as a model for successful landscape design and horticultural practices. The gardens are separated into a series of theme areas, or “garden rooms,” which feature a diversity of design styles and planting schemes in a relatively small area.

Said project creator and chairman of the Ornamental Horticulture Department Michael Veracka, “The Sustainable Garden will ensure that students have access to progressive ideas and strategies that will influence Long Island’s large horticulture and landscape design sector to ensure that industry practices respect the environment of this heavily populated area.  It can also influence how the average citizen utilizes dwindling resources in a finite world and promote sound environmental stewardship within the region.”

Sustainable practices introduced within our Teaching Gardens will serve as a model for how-to conceive, implement and maintain a green landscape on sites with or without buildings. This garden will prepare students to enter the contemporary work force where knowledge and skills of sustainable practices are increasingly desired and workers receive well-compensated income. It also will serve as a model for existing green industry practitioners and the general public.

The Teaching Gardens are conveniently located adjacent to the Smith Street entrance on the Farmingdale State College campus.

Co-Sponsors of the Conference include:

The American Bamboo Society (ABS)

The American Bamboo Society (ABS) was formed in 1979 and currently has over 700 members living throughout the U.S. and in 37 other countries. The ABS issues a bimonthly magazine, BAMBOO, and the Journal of the American Bamboo Society. The ABS sponsors lectures, conferences, tours and plant sales in the chapter areas. Chapters maintain bamboo libraries, distribute publications and donate plants to public gardens. Since 1980, the ABS has successfully introduced many new species of bamboo to the U.S. The ABS is a member of the World Bamboo Organization, an association of bamboo societies throughout the world, which sponsors an international bamboo conference every four years. The American Bamboo Society’s mission includes:

1. To provide a source of information on the identification, propagation, utilization, culture and appreciation of bamboos. To disseminate and store this information, the Society maintains a library of references and publishes a Journal and a Magazine.

2. To promote the utilization of a group of desirable species by development of stocks of plants for distribution to botanical gardens and introduction to the general public.

3. To preserve and increase the number of bamboo species in the United States.

4. To plant and maintain bamboo gardens to display the characteristic beauty of mature plants and to provide plant material for research in the taxonomy, propagation and culture of as large a number of species as possible.

5. To support bamboo research in the field and to establish whatever facilities are deemed necessary to carry out the research projects approved by the Directors.

Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association (LINLA)

LINLA is a professional trade association dedicated to advancing the interests of Long Island’s nursery and landscape industries by providing its members with access to education, science and research. As a part of the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association (NYSNLA), LINLA offers professional training and accreditation through the statewide Certified Nursery Landscape Professional (CNLP) licensing program, which represents the highest level of professionalism and horticultural knowledge. The group works to support the common interests of its members, promotes the skills of those in the industry, encourages sound business practices and exerts leadership in the development of sustainable communities. LINLA recognizes outstanding Industry leaders through its annual Environmental Enhancement Awards and Man of the Year Award. By providing a robust Grants & Scholarships program, LINLA endeavors to seed the industry by supporting the next generation of professionals.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County (CCE-NC) is an educational not-for-profit association serving Nassau County residents since 1914. Staff and volunteers provide programs and research-based information on horticulture, IPM, environmental issues, food and nutrition, consumer issues, parenting, 4-H youth development and outdoor educational camping programs that build resilient communities. Volunteers help bring programs into Nassau communities.



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