Fertilizer for the Upcoming Shooting Season

newbamboonutFebruary 16, 2014

Hello all,

Since bamboo shooting season is upon us I wanted to hear from the panel about their preferred fertilization methods for Feb/March as many of the running Boo's gets ready to shoot. I have not done a pre-spring specific fertilize and was hoping to try it this year and maybe follow some of the suggestions/methods from your replies. Historically, I've dumped hot chicken manure, composted horse and steer manure, goat bedding, leaves, and woodchips all around my small groves throughout the year as they become available but without any real specific schedule. Needless to say the bamboo has all responded well and I'm sure there are more than enough nutrients floating around. However, this year I was hoping to do a specific late Fall/early March application of a high Nitrogen fertilizer (time-released or otherwise), Miracle Gro, or something to that effect to see if it pushes growth during shooting time. I would love to hear what methods you employ in preparation for this very special time of year! haha. Thanks and I look forward to hearing your secrets.

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pcan

I have never actually fertilized my running bamboo, just added a lot of compost as our soil is extremely sandy and a heavy layer of wood chips. But I do clean the stinky nasty muck out of my pond filters on occasion and toss it in the bamboo bed. I actually just cleaned one the other day and got about 8, 5 gallon bucket of muck that was thrown in the bed. Cleaning the other one today and it will get get dumped in the bamboo bed as well. Stinky nasty goodness LOL

When I scoop the bottom of the pond it gets put in a wheel barrow and dumped in the food garden.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:58AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

With bamboo, it's not necessary to get fancy. Each of my runners gets a handful of Osmocote controlled release fertilizer in the spring. In the fall, each one gets a handful of 0-10-10, which will help rhizome growth without producing unwanted foliage stimulation at the wrong time of year.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:29AM
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newbamboonut

Thank you for the replies. kudzu-Is the handful of Osmocote you use in the spring just a high nitrogen controlled release formula? Pcan- sounds like me over here, but instead of a pond though I just fill up wheelbarrows of nasty barn delicacies and they go right to the Boo.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:59AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I use Osmocote Indoor & Outdoor Smart-Release Plant Food; the formula is 19-6-12, and one application is supposed to last about 4 months.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 12:42PM
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newbamboonut

Thanks kudzu, can i ask what one should do in terms of application if there i 8" or so of mulch? Ie move some mulch away and apply then recover with mulch. I wouldn't think a top dressing over woodchips etc would effectively get down to the root system. Thank you.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:49PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

With time-release fertilizer, it will trickle down over time due to moisture, but I think you're right to wonder whether it will effectively get through wood chip mulch. I'd just clear away the mulch in about a 1' perimeter around the plant, throw down the fertilizer, and move the mulch back in place. However, I will also go on to say that you may want to reconsider using wood chips for mulch in the first place as I understand that they steal nitrogen from the soil as they decompose.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:10PM
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newbamboonut

I think wood chips are ideal for easy rhizome travel and their eventual breakdown value in the soil. My understanding is that wood chips robbing the soil of nitrogen is somewhat debatable but I too have heard that so as a counter measure I have decided that this season I am going to supply more nitrogen in the form of a monthly Miracle Grow application starting early March until the fall. If there is any draw on the nitrogen from the wood chips this (along with the other layers of hot chicken manure, livestock bedding, and leaf mulch) will do the trick. It's all an experiment of course and since bamboo tends to store up for next year's growth it's possible that if this fertilizer schedule works then I won't see the results until next year. I think this is what I will try though. Unfortunately i will have no control to compare it to so I might only do it to half of my plantings and see if there is any measurable difference. My guess though is that a monthly feed of Miracle Grow through shooting season will have more impact than the those that don't get it.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:57PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Good luck. It sounds like you've thought this through pretty well.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 12:04AM
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michael723(6)

Just an FYI: Woody material on the surface isnt AS bad, but any wood in/on the soil will temporarliy bind up available nitrogen due to aerobic bacteria feeding on it in order to break down the wood.. Once the decomposition is complete the nitrogen will once again be available for the plants to uptake.

I personally stay away from synthetics due to the high levels of salts that actually negate the natural work of bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi ( by essentially creating a high salinity environment which is detrimental to their existence, along with chlorine so know your tap water if you're going for mycorrhiza). Synthetic ferts make plants rely upon us rather than mother nature; how it was originally intended..

I like to use some compost/manure and earthworm castings during the intial planting, and then I top dress with milorganite (8-10 week time release) mixed 4:1 with ironite, and bloodmeal for a quick shot of N when needed.. I also give'em an occasional root drench with "stump tea" (htg garden supply), which contains a variety of bacteria and fungal spores..

This post was edited by michael723 on Wed, Apr 23, 14 at 15:39

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:53PM
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stevelau1911

As soon as I saw that leaf buds were starting to elongate, I applied a nice layer of rodent manure, then chicken manure. I also mixed in some milorganite, and brewed some alfalfa tea to water thoroughly. I add molasses and epsom salts to the alfalfa tea, and let the rain do the rest.

Another thing I like to do is put pots around where I would like shoots to emerge. It may not necessarily happen, but I know where the rhizomes are, and it's possible that the heat from the pots will be enough to encourage shoots where I want them.

Shooting season usually happens in May here, but it could be later this year.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 1:38AM
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michael723(6)

Sounds like a solid regimen Steve! I use alfalfa on the veggies with nice results, haven't brewed any yet.. I just dont like the cancer warning on the packaging! LoL
Any luck with the pot method? How about using watering to your advantage? Allow the places where you don't want them to thoroughly dry out (tarps etc), and keep the desired locations comfortably moist.. By your surroundings and zone it looks like we're relatively close! I'm in Southern CT myself.. No shooting yet myself but I've had one runner so far in the pruning trench. I like to guide them up through pots and then snip the rhizome once I get a decent shoot.. viola = new plant lol . ..

Here's a pic of a new planter I just finished... Wanted to mix it up a bit.. Left to right: Spectabilis, Nigra, Decora

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 4:12PM
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stevelau1911

Winter is still lingering around, and we have gotten enough rain or snow recently so that there hasn't been a need to water at all. If the soil still appears moist, I really doubt watering will do any good at all.

Your spectabilis will probably dominate that box in a couple years.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 10:25PM
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pontyrogof(8b)

Elsewhere on this forum I had read about people urinating on their bamboo. Some here may now know me from my problems with squirrels. Elsewhere online I have read that urine is a good deterrent for squirrels.

So I put two and two together. It is awkward for my gender to collect urine on a daily basis or pee in situ, so my husband volunteered. He's a bit of a vitamin pill popper I might add. Anyway, I have never seen any plant respond so positively to ANY substance. Where shoots have been bitten off at the ground and do nothing for days, the day after a dose of pee, I find inches of regrowth or brand new shoot. We will be careful not to overdo it so we don't accidentally burn them.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:24AM
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michael723(6)

Steve, what I was referring to was the use of controlled watering (and lack thereof) to influence the running direction of the rhizomes and thereby effecting the approx shooting vicinity. . .

Yea I was planning on the Spectabilis over powering the two, but I'll root prune as necessary... no biggy ..
I've entertained the thought of doing some HDPE between the three just to keep them as separate specimens but I'm still undecided...

Ponty: I've never used urine straight up, but it seems you're having good results!.. It's an excellent "watering" agent for compost lol. . .

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 3:55PM
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pontyrogof(8b)

Maybe urine straight up is effective fertilizer in my location because the soil is high in decomposing pine needles and leaves, and sandy.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 4:45PM
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stevelau1911

Now that shooting season has started, I have added a good 6 inches of grass clippings to heat the soil up some more, and give a good boost of nitrogen for shooting season.

Here's how it looks. The west side of the greenhouse was left up since there is tree shade anyways once the sun gets to that angle.

Existing culms can produce a ton of foliage too so it's good to have plenty of nitrogen available.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:02AM
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michael723(6)

Looking good Steve! Have a bunch of new shoots coming up from the decora and the spectabilis as well.. The Nigra has yet to begin her ascent..

Funny, neither the Auerocalis or the other Nigra's (another planting of around 80x4' property line screen) have started shooting yet.. Plenty of new foliage on the way though..
Just gave them another dose of milorganite to be sure they're chock full of N ...

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 1:27PM
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stevelau1911

Once they get over 3-4 inches in height, they will usually accelerate their growth until they get close to their full height.

You can tell that these gained more than an inch since yesterday, but once they are taller, they could gain close to a foot on a warm day.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 10:48PM
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michael723(6)

Loving that ruler! Yea I notice they start slow but once they get off the ground they just explode, nothing like it!

So to my surprise I came home to about a dozen Nigra shoots coming up in the longer screen, and a few aureocaulis as well! The decora shoots are starting to get beautiful, as well as the spectabilis! I'll have to take some pics

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:25AM
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michael723(6)

For some reason I can't select multiple pics on the mobil format so I'll have to do a few posts.. Here's the spectabilis:

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:11PM
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michael723(6)

Supposedly decora but the sheaths don't look like other images I've seen, although the culms do... Strange? Perhaps it's another variation? It resembles nuda with the spotting... Beautiful none-the-less...

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:18PM
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michael723(6)

Here's the aureocaulis.. Made it through its' first winter but it was a cold one this year in CT.. The culms took a beating..

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:23PM
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michael723(6)

And last but not least, an extremely photogenic Nigra shoot lol :

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:26PM
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stevelau1911

The big shoot gained another 2 1/2 inches today, and we are getting some warm rains tonight so I expect it to be taller than the ruler by tomorrow.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 8:24PM
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stevelau1911

Going from 6 inches to 12 inches in a span of 2 days is not bad. It looks like in another 2 weeks, this shoot should exceed 10ft in height. I just hope it doesn't hog all the energy for itself.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 6:28PM
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michael723(6)

We're shooting like crazy now! I have a monster erupting as well from the spectabilis. I'll take a pic and throw it on here tomorrow.. Beautiful sheaths on the spectabilis...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 6:48PM
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stevelau1911

The bicolor shoot from the previous picture is now over 5ft, and should start accelerating its growth. There are definitely 4 shoots that should make it, and this is the biggest.

It is branching all the way to the ground.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 9:38PM
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michael723(6)

That's a giant! I find it amazing that some of my divisions will throw up monsters, and little sucker shoots as well... I usually just chop the suckers as to not waste the energy, I assume you find the same thing?

This post was edited by michael723 on Wed, May 28, 14 at 11:23

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 11:21AM
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stevelau1911

I believe the plant knows what it is doing when it sends up smaller ones so I generally leave them alone.

I only have 4 shoots that have committed to growing up on the bicolor, and the tallest one is around 9ft now. The rest are not growing at all likely because the grove can only handle 4 shoots at a time so hopefully I can have enough energy for another one to come up. That would only happen when one of them is just about done sucking up energy, and there is more left over.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 2:28AM
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