Bamboo for NE Oklahoma

macmexMarch 24, 2006

Folks, I have a question for you. We're new to Oklahoma and would like to plant some bamboo on our place to produce stakes for garden use, perhaps even for use in making some smaller poultry cages. I've looked around on E-bay and found Golden Groove Bamboo for about $20.00,including shipping and handling. That's for a #1 sized plant with 12-24' length of cane on it (Bamboobuddy). This sounds like a fairly good deal.

If I had my druthers, just based on what I read on the Lewis Bamboo site, I'd probably go for Red Margin Bamboo. But I'm a bit tight this spring and $40.00 is a chunk of money. I'd like your advice though. If there is really a big difference between these two types or if the e-bay way of getting a start isn't so good, I'd be willing to hold off until I can get the $ together.

We moved here from NJ. A friend of mine there, had some kind of bamboo in his back yard. It produced canes up to about 2" diameter and about 30' tall. I had gotten a couple of divisions from him, but in 3 years they either died or just sat there. From reading on this forum I think I understand now that I should have planted them with at least one ring under the ground.

Thanks in advance for your input!


Tahlequah, OK

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Cindi McMurray

Hello George
You should be able to find stands of yellow groove bamboo growing around your area. I've seen arundo donax growing wild there also.
Having said that, I will vouch for the ebay seller BambooBuddy. I bought 'Henon' from him and was very pleased with the size plant he sent.
Most likely anything you grew in NJ would grow just as well in Tahlequah.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 10:39PM
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Hey, George. I'm trying to imagine your climate. When I think Oklahoma I think really dry and dusky, but that's probably because I have spent most of my time in OK SW of the capital where I have many relatives. I have relatives in the city of Canadian though which is near Lake Eufala that I visited once and I remember thinking at the time (I was pretty young then) that it was one of the most beautifully lush and green places on the planet.
There are lots of bamboos that can be had for $20 or less- maybe not with S&H included- but shop around. If you like the ebay route- keep an eye on PhilinShelton's stuff. He offers a good variety and consistently excellent quality.
Are you still in swamp cooler country there in Tahlequah? If so, you might really want to consider one of the clumpers. Not to discourage you at all from other selections, but clumpers can be a maintenance dream and you're probably cool enough and dry enough to do well with them, especially in the shade.
As for utilitarian issues- with the rubromarginata eventually your culms will come up over 3" around. You might be a great tomato gardener, but this seems a little like overkill for your stated purposes.
Maybe someone else can offer some good suggestions for smaller stake bamboos. The ones that come to mind for me right away are Ph. heteroclada 'Solid Stem'. I went to the lewis sight and they emphasize the wind tolerance for rubromarginata. If that is an issue, 'Solid Stem' is described as "Exceptionally hardy to wind, drought & aridity." Another common bamboo is Pseudosasa japonica or "arrow bamboo". Its almost always for sale on Ebay and is wind tolerant too. Consider online retailers also. I wish I could remember all that I have ordered from, but I know I've been very pleased with I just saw they have some P. japonica for $19. Now, they have the peculiarity of not telling you your shipping cost in advance, but my experience with this has been that they are definitely NOT out to make a profit on shipping charges. P. longiligula is used for furniture making and I think is about as hardy as the arrow bamboo, so it may be the best recommendation yet. I want to say that I've had good luck with God, lets hope so as I've just recently placed a VERY large order with them and am anxiously waiting. In any case, they've got great pics.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 12:53AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions! I didn't receive an e-mail notice that there had been any follow ups, so I only just checked.

We are still in what they call "Green Country," much like the Eufala region you mention. We do get wind, but not like out on the plains. I actually have a place in mind, to put this bamboo, where we have a spring fed creek running through and it is always moist.

I'll look around. If I could find some yellow bamboo wild, I'd be delighted to get a start from it. Wish I knew what we tried in NJ. I know that some culms reached 3" in diameter. But it was quite prolific (at my friend's home, anyway), and I remember on one occasion taking a "pack of young'uns" over there to cut themselves a fishing pole. We simply cut culms down and then cut them to the right size and length for poles. The leftover part was useful for other things. I remember some culms having a little "jog" at the bottom, but I can't remember the color. I'll keep monitoring this forum and this string; and I'll let you know what I end up doing.



    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 8:15AM
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I found 9 seeds for water bamboo. p. heteroclada on e-bay for $5.00. Does this sound like a good idea? I can plant it near the creek, but we don't have swampy conditions. It is well drained.

Does bamboo start fairly easily from seed?



    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 11:03AM
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9 seeds for 5.00 seems really expensive to me. Bear in mind that you rarely get 100% germination with anything, and, from what I can gather, bamboo seed can be a little more fickle than a lot of things. Even if you get some germination, bamboo seedlings require more care than your average tenacious bamboo division. 9 seeds for 5.00 just doesn't seem like very good odds to me.
'Solid Stem' is a special kind of P. Heteroclada that is not hollow inside (like just about every other bamboo). You can imagine the added strength such a property would give to a bamboo. Normal P. Heteroclada MIGHT be a good utilitarian bamboo- a lot of bamboos are- but I don't recall ever reading anything specific about its durability other than in reference to 'Solid Stem'. Sorry.

I would like to know what others think....

    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 8:42PM
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Thanks Hoe Hoe,

This is the kind of input I really appreciate. I may have hit the jackpot last night. I was talking with two gardening friends from church last night and asked if they knew where I could find bamboo locally. They mentioned a friend of theirs who has bamboo and would probably be happy to share a start. I believe they said he has a couple of kinds, and he's right here in town. I'll let you know what develops. In the mean time I'll hold off on the seeds.

Being new here, we want to grow a good many things, some of which we had to leave behind, when we moved. But we simply can't afford to acquire many things at once. I've got a habit of scouting out cuttings and trying to do seeds, for whatever I can. This summer, for instance, I intend to begin the process of growing blueberries from seed. It'll take a couple extra years to get fruit, but theoretically we can be way ahead in the long run, because of the number of plants.

I'll be interested to see what input we get about normal P Heteroclada.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 10:15AM
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Good news! My friends directed me to a new friend who has a good sized collection of bamboo, right here in Tahlequah, OK! He'd let me have a start of anything he has, but since I'm pressed for time to get garden beds ready this first year in OK, I decided to just ask for a start of one kind. I let him chose what he thought would best suite my needs (gardening stakes, etc.) He gave me three nice starts of Stone Bamboo. So I'm real happy! Next year I'll probably ask him for a start of fishing pole bamboo and possible of yellow grove. He speaks very highly of both. Thanks for your advice.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 5:33PM
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Congrats! Did your new friend happen to mention how well the P. Angusta overwintered for him in 6b? Did he get dieback, etc. I'm just wondering as this is one of the less hardy Phyllostachys- though not unmanageably so, I'm sure.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 1:00PM
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He said that he had a little leaf loss during the winter but that the culms survive. He has quite a nice stand of it and by this time in the spring one would never suspect that there had been any die back. It's in an unprotected spot on a hill top, no less.

Among his many comments I do remember just how impressed he is with yellow grove bamboo. He commented that he planted it in a less than ideal location and has neglected it, but that it has proven itself completely hardy and prolific.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 1:37PM
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This article talks more about phyllostachys angusta. I have gotten a start of angusta this year, to grow in my Iowa climate.

Possibly, is very hardy. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: stone boo

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 3:07PM
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