Request tips to protect two bamboos for Ottawa's first winter

daniel_clJuly 14, 2010


We plan to have two bamboos for our new house in Ottawa (zone 5A), Canada. (1) Fargesia 'Rufa' and (2) Phyllostachys 'Noda'. The Rufa bamboo has been growing well in Kingston, Ontario, which is a few degrees milder than Ottawa on both ends. We mail-ordered the Noda bamboo.

We have done some research online and know what they like and dislike. Since it will be the bamboos first winter in Ottawa, we wish to protect the plant better.

Now we are thinking about (1) thick-mulch the root and (2) wrapping up the entire plant with cloth. The bamboo will be planted on the south side of the house to shelter from the chilling west wind.

Will that be enough? Thanks for advices.

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Here's what I do. I sink some large bamboo canes around it giving it some room to breathe, and then wrap the stakes. I think if you just wrap the plant it will get too heavy when it snows and rains. And the canes will break. As long as you block the cold winds from hitting it directly you should be fine.Even though both of those are hardy to -20 F.Their first year they may not be this hardy. They should be just fine. Leave the top open. And good luck with your new addiction. I say that because I started 10 years ago and now have 22 species of bamboo. And still looking.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 8:41AM
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I guess the same technique can be used for our other new trees.
Question: If I leave the top open, won't the snow bury the plant?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 11:25AM
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It might bury the bamboo but it won't crush it. The snow actually acts as a blanket, believe it or not. With the cloth over top the weight will definetly break your canes. but the snow falling slowly and accumulating slowly will not hurt the canes. I've done this 3 years in a row to 3 different bamboos. It absolutely helps the bamboos strength for the following years shoots.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 7:16PM
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Great! I'll get some burlaps and sticks ready for winter.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 9:07PM
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My P nigra was buried in snow most of the winter. It never really stood upright again. The canes appear to be permanently bent.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 5:55AM
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Is it okay to plant running bamboo next to your house in your zone 5 without fear of rhizomes damaging the house?? I have runners and clumpers but the runners are a couple hundred feet behind the house.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 11:49AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Trees could be a problem, but rhizomes will have zero impact on an intact foundation. If you have, say, an old cinder block foundation with cracks in it, then a rhizome might find its way in by accident.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 2:25PM
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I have been able to over-winter pots of heteroclada & moso by simply burying the pots in the ground and putting a plastic tarp over them. There may be a bit of leaf burn from the leaves that touch the plastic, but by keeping them low, they stay very well insulated and close to the soil temperature which means less water loss. As far as bending the culms, they will spring back up once the tarp is removed and new shoots will be larger anyways, but this has been my most effective method so far.

Burlap doesn't really stop the cold winds from dessicating plants especially if you are even 1 zone below me.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 11:11PM
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Highlander, be patient and when the new canes from next year come up and harden off you will be able to use them to prop up last years canes and the plant will look great again. I have so far struggled getting P. nigra going I lost 3 already. I think I finally found a good protected place for it, plus I'll wrap it like I do my other tender boos. Good Luck to all and their Bamboos.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Actually, no, the new canes are quite substantial, but there is no way they are substantial enough to hold up the canes that are more-or-less lying down. This is not a case of floppy culms incapable of supporting themselves; it's culms one-inch and less that are actually, physically and permanently bent at an angle, just a few inches above the soil line.

I think it looks like crap and was heart-broken about it. The upside, though, is that because the grove was burried under snow, for the worst of the winter, I had almost no folliage loss and the upsize this year was considerable.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 6:14AM
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