Fargesia Nitida got pruned BADLY

Kathieh1June 6, 2011

Help.. I had some helpers here doing clean up in my yard. They were supposed to be weeding and mulching the beds, but one of them decided to do some pruning and severely pruned my Fargesia into the shape of a shrub. They topped it to about 4 feet as well as cutting off all the fountaining shoots. I'm so sad. I LOVED that bamboo and was using it as a privacy screen. Have had it about 4 to 5 years. Now it just looks like an upright rock..

So here's my question -- of course -- to what extent will it ever be all right again? And secondly.. what can I do now to try to encourage the shape to come back? It's about 2 feet across I'd say -- just completely lopped off at the top.

I'm sick about it, but it's no use making huge fuss or demanding money for a replacement (I paid about $100 for it a few years ago).. since neither of those will bring my lovely, healthy fountain back (which was previously over 8 feet tall.

Thank you for any advice... One would think I would NOT have to tell supposedly professional garden service not to do this.

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Well, it's my understanding that the existing stuff is going to stay like that. I don't believe any of the existing culms will get any taller. Fortunately, bamboo is fast growing. Make sure that you have the best growing conditions so your bamboo puts out lots of new shoots and grows well. I think it's all about time now.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 8:29PM
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My yard guy took it on himself to trim my ground cover gardenia this year to make it more uniform in height. What that did was cut off most of the places where it was going to form buds. Needless to say, there were very few gardenias on it this year. As dry as it is, that may have been better for the plant, but it wasn't nearly as pretty as usual. He did the same with my day lilies. Fortunately, they hadn't put their scapes out yet, so they have still had a nice show of blooms.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 8:35PM
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One question I have is if I should cut more of the middle stuff down to the ground in the hopes of getting new shoots there next year. As it is I'd expect new shoots to just come up on the edges.. and that won't look too good.. I guess I'll have to wait.. but good lord.. so sad.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 10:38PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

A very sad story which will only be resolved with time. I would not prune out anything right now as the plant will need leaf mass to generate new culms. It is correct that none of the topped culms will re-grow; you will only get growth from new culms which will come up primarily around the perimeter. In a couple of years, there should be enough new growth to mask the short center, or you could selectively remove a few of them then.

And I would keep those yard guys away from any other valuable plants. If they could do that to a bamboo, who knows what other destruction they are capable of?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 12:31AM
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My first thought was to have you thin the inner culms a little to make more room for new shoots, but then I changed my mind. I only have one "mature" Fargesia, and it's 'Rufa', but assuming that it has a similar shooting habit, it will still create new shoots in the center. If there are any dead ones in the center, or culms that have no chance of creating leaves, then remove those I think. Otherwise leave every leaf you can.

This is why I don't want to pay anybody to tend any part of my garden for me.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 11:39AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Just leave it alone and wait for it to replace the original shape. New culms will break out of the existing outline as soon as they have grown tall enough.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 2:13PM
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The foliage will grow back.

I have a b. multiplex alphonse karr that had about 90% of its foliage removed in order to transport it from the original owner to my place. It also got divided into 3 parts. In February, it looked like a bunch of dead sticks. Now it has sprouted new branches, foliage, and a new 'crown' from the tops of the old culms. New shoots, too.

What you might do to help, though:

If the gardener didn't rim in a way that each cut is just above a node, you'll have lots of dead wood poking up. You might want to trim the stubs back to just above the nearest node.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 1:14PM
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