frost damaged bamboo leaves: how best to proceed?

linaria_gwMarch 4, 2012

Hi there,

we got a very late frost after it was quite mild already in January, about -10C or 14F for almost 2 weeks in February.

A friend has a Phylostachys-type in a big container, and I had promised her to repot it this spring. The leaves are all dry now, still clinging to the plant.

I guess that the roots/rhizoms could be still ok. Should I cut off all those canes with dry leaves completely to make it produce nice new shoots? Or is there a chance that the canes produce new foliage?

Thanks for some hints, bye, Lin

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kentuck_8b(__)

Any dead foliage, culms or leaves, will not interfere with the new growth, and removing it certainly won't increase new growth.

I prefer to leave all apparent dead growth since some might still be alive and will recover, and removing it will only further harm the plant.

Some prefer to remove it but I've seen people do far more harm to an already ailing plant by removing growth that they believe is dead, but isn't.

I'd wait a couple of months into the growing season and see what parts put on leaves and/or remain green.

Good Luck.

Kt

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 8:12PM
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pcan

Check out my post on the evolution of bamboo. My leaves turned yellow the first winter but stayed on the plant. This is the second winter and no issue with yellow leaves. I waited till mid summer and cut the culms that did not spring back to life.

Here is a link that might be useful: This might help

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 8:43PM
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linaria_gw

hello kenntuck
thanks for your swift answer. Some more details: I know my stuff about pruning woody plants, with them one rule is that hard pruning gives strong new growth.

So bamboo/ Phylostachys is different.

1) are those culms/canes with dry leaves on completely dead or could there be somewhere buds that could start new twigs or foliage? For instance on spruce trees (Picea) you can't expect new buds on older twigs/ branches.

2) do dry leaves still cause transpiration and could weaken the plant?

3) if there grow no new leaves on the culms, can the plant still benefit from them? I reckon that they would be useless as there can't happen no photosynthese any longer.

Thanks for more advice, bye, Lin

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:22AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Lin-
Forget what you know about pruning other plants. Anything you prune off a bamboo culm will not grow back and will not stimulate new growth. Here is what I can tell you from my experience:

1) The rhizome mass may still be alive, although bamboo in containers can have their root systems damaged/killed at higher temperatures than those in the ground.

2) If the rhizomes are still alive, the plant will put up new growth when it's ready as long as it continues to be watered properly.

3. Culms with no leaves or dead leaves may or may not be alive. Give them until summer to see if you get re-leafing. If they don't re-leaf, or have turned tan, they are dead and can be removed.

4. Pruning out culms or branches will not stimulate or harm the plant; however, if you are too speedy in your pruning, you may removing parts of the plant that will recover.

Bottomline: Keep it watered and see if it recovers. Don't try to out-think it with strategies for other plants that don't apply to bamboo.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 3:15PM
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kentuck_8b(__)

I agree with everything that Kudzu said.

1) are those culms/canes with dry leaves on completely dead or could there be somewhere buds that could start new twigs or foliage? For instance on spruce trees (Picea) you can't expect new buds on older twigs/ branches.

Limbs and new leaves can emerge from culms that have lost their leaves and limbs due to stress such as frost.

2) do dry leaves still cause transpiration and could weaken the plant?

Dry leaves are dead and NO moisture will pass though them.

3) if there grow no new leaves on the culms, can the plant still benefit from them? I reckon that they would be useless as there can't happen no photosynthese any longer.

Photosynthesis can occur even without leaves, but from the culms...that is, if the culms are still alive.

Kt

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 8:19PM
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linaria_gw

thanks for your answers,
so we will feed the poor thing and wait,

bye, Lin

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 1:25AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Lin-
Good luck...and please report back on how the plant is doing in a few months.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 11:21AM
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