big suggestions for z8?

berklady(z9 ca)February 7, 2006

Hey everybody, I'm about to become the proud owner of a chunk of land in northern california, and i would love any suggestions for bamboo in z8? i'm from the bay area, so i'm not used to snow- i'd say it probably gets to about upper 30's pretty regularly, with dips into the 20s. I love large clumpers- i have oldhamii, tuldoides, textilis, dolichomerithalla, and h. hookerianus teague blue. ABS says some of these will live in the cold, but i'd love to hear if and what people grow where it snows? I'm not against runners. The bigger the culm size the better. Thanks a ton!

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How low into the 20's does it get, and how long does it stay that cold?

B. beecheyana is one you might want to try.

Other large clumpers are the Dendrocalamus', such as Brandisii, Gigantea, Asper, and Latiflorus. The Guaduas also get very large, but most have thorns. The Dendro's have the largest and tallest culms of any bamboo known, but they are NOT cold hardy. If the temps get below 30F, they start to lose leaves and even a frost will burn them.

My Dendrocalamus and Guaduas burn each year here in z8, and never grow to more than just bushes, but if you protect them and it doesn't get below 30F, I'd try them and see what happens.

On the other hand, there are many runners that are large and would probably do well in your area, such as P. vivax or maybe giant black.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 9:05PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I continue to wonder about the suitability of some of these for your area. Tropical clumpers I do not associate with areas as far north as you are, but maybe global warming is changing this. Here the growing season is said to already be two weeks longer; marlin are occasionally being caught off the Washington coast.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 9:58PM
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berklady(z9 ca)

Thanks for the imput- i do think it gets too cold to grow many happy healthy tropical bambooos here in the bay area- and i know that my lands going to be even colder. I don't know how long it stays in the 20's- but i think it can drop to about 25ish. Its at 3600' and it snows every year some, and it seems like the average winter low temp is right above freezing. I'd love to grow varieties that look as similar to all those lovely tropicals as possible, but will thrive in zone 8.
Beecheyana looks like a good contender, any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 1:02PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I really think you are too cold for these, especially at 3600 feet with snow! Supposedly some low temperatures bandied about for some bamboos are based on episodes when the top froze to the ground, but the plant grew back from the root--probably mostly in an area where conditions are suitable (subtropical) the rest of the time. Try to find out what, exactly a minimum temperature given for a bamboo represents before basing planting choices on that.

The complete environmental picture determines what kinds will grow for you. That includes occasional severe cold snaps, how long normal cold persists (does the soil become chilled by weeks of cold every year?). Many plants that are touted as being hardy to a certain low temperature do not tolerate such cold for periods of weeks or months. A couple nights in the 20s followed promptly by a return to summerlike conditions is not that same as frost and snow for weeks (or months) every year.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 6:46PM
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Other bambusas you may look in to are:

B. tuldoides varieties, such as PUNTING POLE, 'Ventricosa' BUDDHA'S BELLY, 'Ventricosa Kimmei', or CloneX. I grow these here(except CloneX) and they do very well.

B. malingensis, B. pachinensis, B. pervariabilis 'Viridistriatus', B. eutuldoides 'Viridivittata', B. chungii, and
all of the textilis varieties do well here. The cold is their only enemy and it isn't that bad.

Temps into the mid 20's did little, if any, damage to them this year. Nighttime lows range from mid 30's to upper 40's. Daytime highs range from low 50's to the 70's.

A few years back, some were completely covered in ice for almost one full day, but the temps didn't drop below 28F, so they had little damage. Snow won't be a big problem as long as it doesn't get extremely cold and as long as it doesn't stay covered in snow for long periods of time.

If you have oldhamii, tuldoides, textilis, dolichomerithalla, and h. hookerianus teague blue, then these will do well also. Your high altitude may be more of a factor than the cold, although I can't say for sure since I'm in Texas. Your area is a whole 'nother country. The Bambusas do love heat and high humidity so they are suited to this Texas climate, yet it could be a bit warmer in the Winters.

Any of these are definitely worth trying but may need Winter protection in their first couple of Winters and keep them watered well during all Winters thereafter.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 8:19PM
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I'm here on the CA coast, and these mountains are pretty meager is size. That probally means you are inland, and have much hotter summers. I would agree with the colder hardy Bambusa votes, but you definatly have more leway if you choose a Phyllostacy. Running bamboo isn't as much of a problem in places with hot rainless summers like we have here on the west coast.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 9:39PM
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Here in TX, and I presume in CA, there is too wide a range to say what Bambusas grow well in Zone 8. It is the minimum temperatures that occur, usually in the very early morning hours that do the damage. Each individual plant can vary in hardiness and I think some adapt somewhat to the lower temperatures.

I am in USDA Zone 8b about 50 miles north of Kentuck. Our minimums sometimes get down around 18 F most years. B. Multiplex, textilis, tuldoides and ventricosa all do reasonably well here but another 80 miles north of here in Zone 8a B. ventricosa struggles and tuldoides also gets some more damage. Their areas even further north, still in Zone 8a, where even more damage occurs.

If you are not sure what your minimums are I would try B. textilis first and see how that does after a couple of years in the ground. If your minimum temperatures do only get down to the low twenties then, as Kentuck says, you have several choices.

Mike near Brenham TX

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 7:38PM
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berklady(z9 ca)

Thanks everybody. Since I already have some oldhamii, textilis, and punting pole i'll try those up in the cold.
I'm also interested in runners- moso and vivax look like beauties and i know they're mentioned a lot. Can they handle 95 temps in the summer? Any other runners that can thrive in cold (and hot) zone 8 that form a open forest look? Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 12:21PM
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Around here in inland southern Humboldt county(zone 8 and colder) P.vivax, P.bambusoides, and P.moso all seem fine, surviving 110 F every summer. The Moso definatly would take alot more water, and TLC to get to timber size.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 2:00PM
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berklady(z9 ca)

Thanks for the info tropicallvr- What other bamboos do you grow, or wish you could? Which ones thrive for you? I'm buying land in n. Mendocino county, so i bet our environments are pretty similar.
I'm looking for a runner to get BIG for a sloped area about 30'X 600' (heehee, coming from a yard thats under 20'x20', i'm so excited!) to form an open, upright forest to wander in.Suggestions anybody?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 10:44AM
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I'd love to try out Bambusa beechyana, Bambusa tulodies clone X, Bambusa dolichoclada 'Stripe'(Tawain) if I was in a nice microclimate in the hot coastal hills.
On the cool coast I'd like to try any Chusquea, and Himalayan mountain bamboos(B.boliana, Himalayacalamus hookeranus'Teagues blue', and Himalayacalamus falconeri 'Damarapa').
Vivax would probally be the best bang for your buck, but there a few others that would work.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 4:32PM
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my moso that i have here in anderson, sc handle 15 days of 103 degree heat with no water.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 11:49AM
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