Bamboo info

knock_on_woodMay 21, 2010

I was wondering if anyone has experience in growing bamboo in New York, preferably Western NY. I already have incense bamboo but haven't planted it in the ground yet.

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treeguy_ny USDA z6a WNY

Hey Knock on wood,

I've been growing 'boo in WNY (Lancaster) for four growing seasons now, this being my fifth. I haven't had the best luck due to the very exposed location I decided to plant mine in. Theyre in an open field fully exposed to winter winds. If they were planted in a protected area, I am 99% confident that I would have less winter top kill, more canes per plant, and taller/thicker canes from each plant. My friend lives on the west side of Buffalo, right in the city. He planted two of the same species as I did at the same time I did (P. aureosulcata Âspectabilis and atrovaginata). His are 75% evergreen each winter and are nearly twice the height/diameter of mine. I mulch with hardwood mulch (free loads dropped off by the town), fertilize with balanced slow release granules, and water only when it hasn't rained in ~1 week or if the plants look like they need it (I water new transplants weekly their first growing season). All my Âboos have been producing 12 or fewer canes per plant each spring except my red margin. At this point, that plant is producing between 12-20 canes each spring. Despite the significant winter kill I experience, they are slowly gaining size.

Here is a list of the species I have and my observations on each so far:
P. nigra henon:
- planted spring of 2006 as a 2 gallon division (2-3' tall)
- killed to the ground most winters
- culms defoliate but survive and leaf-out again the following spring (such as this winter) in mild winters
- anything below snow cover remains evergreen
- currently producing (few) canes 7' tall and 1/2-5/8" diameter
- has only spread to cover a 4-5Â diameter circular area
P. aureosulcata 'spectabilis'
- planted spring of 2007 as a 2 gallon division (2-3' tall)
- defoliated every winter, but re-grows leaves in spring
- killed to the ground during severe winters
- currently producing canes 6-7' tall and 3/8-1/2" in diameter
- has spread to cover a 6-7Â diameter circular area
P. nuda
- planted spring of 2006 as a 1 gallon division (1-2Â tall)
- defoliated every winter, a few leaves survive mild winters
- killed to the ground during severe winters
- 100% culm survival with new leaves in spring during an avg. winter, more for a mild winter
- currently producing canes 6-7Â tall and 3/8-1/2" diameter
- has spread to cover a 7-8Â diameter circular area
P. rubromarginata
- planted spring of 2006 as a 2 gallon division (2-3Â tall)
- defoliated every winter
- killed to the ground during severe winters
- 50% culm survival with new leaves in spring during an avg. winter, more for a mild winter
- currently producing canes 6 tall and ¼-3/8" diameter
- has spread to cover a 6-7Â diameter circular area
P. atrovaginata
- planted spring of 2006 as a 1 gallon division (1-2Â tall)
- defoliated every winter, a few leaves survive mild winters
- killed to the ground during severe winters
- 100% culm survival with new leaves in spring during an avg. winter, more for a mild winter
- currently producing canes 5-6 tall and ¼-3/8" diameter
- has spread to cover a 4-5Â diameter circular area
F. muriellae
- planted summer 2009 as a 1 gallon division (1-2Â tall)
- 75% defoliated this winter (itÂs first winter) but leafing out now
- current shooting culms look to be same size as last yearÂs
F. sp. ÂscabridaÂ
- planted summer 2009 as a 1 gallon division (1-2Â tall)
- killed to the mulch line this winter (itÂs first winter) but leafing out below the mulch line and producing new canes
- current shooting culms look to be same size as last yearÂs

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 7:04PM
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knock_on_wood

Thanks treeguy that helps ALOT. I just am wondering how to prepare the planting site... I want to do everything right.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 11:14PM
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treeguy_ny USDA z6a WNY

I would mix in a bag of compost with the native soil roughly 1:1 and mulch well to help conserve moisture.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 9:05PM
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knock_on_wood

Thanks. just planted my bamboo where an old compost heap used to be out back.The soil has a lot of 60+ year ash in it, is it a good thing to have ash in the soil? also is miracle grow good for bamboo?: 24-8-16 and if so, how often should it be applied for the most rapid growth?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 4:32PM
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