Has anyone ever tried growing bamboo on the prairies? I found one hardy down to -33 at Canada's bamboo world, and I think that with several feet of snow cover, it might make it. Any suggestions on how to grow it?
Very few bamboos will take well to zones north of 5, but it may be possible to grow them if you are able to accept total top kill each winter. The only one I would suggest is Arundinaria gigantea. Plant it in a sheltered position, blocking cold winds. Water and fertilize excessively during the growing period. Hold off fertilizer as cold weather approaches. Mulch more than a foot. You might want to wrap the culms with straw and burlap when the temperatures drop past -10 (-23C). However, you might find it, despite all efforts, simply impossible to grow it with such brutally cold temperatures.
If the bamboo would live, it would die to the ground every year.
I'm assuming you are talking -33C, since you're Canadian; that's equivalent to about -27F for those of us who have yet to adopt the more sane metric system. Having said that, I have never found a bamboo that is documented to survive anything colder than minus 20-22F, particularly on a sustained basis. Maybe the one you found at Bamboo World has acclimated, but I suspect that -33C is an optimistic number, and may be a function of siting and winter protection. I'm not trying to discourage you; just trying to be realistic. If you succeed, I'd love to hear about it.
I was looking at dacoolest's zone 2b. That would mean temps down to -40 to -45. There are some that would be rhizome hardy down to those temps.
Please enlighten me. What bamboo can survive -40 to -45?
"Dan Nielsen in New Berlin, New York has a minigrove in the ground which covers an area 10' by 4' & is heavily mulched with horse manure. In January of 1980, when the plant had been in the ground for 4 years, the temperature went down to -25 for a week & then down to -50 degrees for several days! There was a foot of snow on the ground. When spring arrived it sent up new shoots which during the summer got their normal 8-9' high & an inch thick, business as usual, as though nothing had happened!"
That's the easiest one I can find.
Mini-grove of which kind?
ha, I forgot to write that down. Phyllostachys bissetii
Here is a link that might be useful: hardy bamboo
Thanks for the help, I think I'll buy it as soon as it warms up. Does anyone have an idea about what kind of soil would be te best for cold climate bamboo?
One that drains well. The sandier the better. Cold and wet is a combination that few plants survive well.
I'm in 3a. Have a couple p. aeureosulcata alatas, and a f. murealea I planted last spring in my back yard to see if they would survive a winter. No mulch or covering. Wanted to see just how hardy these are.
No doubt all top growth is done for, but I'll find out come April if it's still alive and kicking. I hope for the best, expect the obvious. But my fingers are crossed. I'll let you all know.
Here is a link that might be useful: My blog detailing my experiences with bamboo and palms