Keeping a colony within bounds

poaky1October 19, 2012

I have2 varieties of clumping bamboo. They were divisions from a very nice gardenweb member from this forum. However, I want to grow a grove of running bamboo, mostly for the resulting culms. I know I can buy the rods, but they are not cost prohibitive. I have dedicated most of my yard to trees. I want to be able to control the grove. If I try a pond ( Poly ) container like from Lowes/ Home depot, will that be strong enough to control growth for a year or 2?

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

If you plant running bamboo, you will not have to worry about it running much until it gets established and starts to send out rhizomes: probably about the third year.

Pond liner will not contain bamboo: I did a bamboo removal dig several years ago in the yard of a guy who had planted Black bamboo next to his very large koi pond. The rhizomes had gone under the liner, and come up through it.

If you want to contain it with a physical barrier, buy yourself some actual bamboo barrier (email me if you want to know where I get mine). You can also not use barrier and just rhizome prune twice a year along the perimeter you want to maintain. I have some runners contained by barrier and others I just address with a pickaxe every so often.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 2:55PM
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If I tried a galvanized metal container, would that be too small? I will have to price them.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 8:45PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Please clarify. Are you talking about one of those oval containers that you get at farm stores that are used as watering troughs, or what?

If you plant it in one of those, you have to drill holes in the bottom for drainage, and that means a rhizome might escape. This is not a big deal in my opinion, but just something you should understand. Also, at some point you will want to divide the bamboo as it grows bigger and the root system gets denser. Typically, when I divide bamboo it's in the ground, or in a pot that I can take it out of. With a large container, it will be too heavy to get it out and it will be extremely difficult to divide in place, particularly since the rhizomes will exert great pressure and cause great friction against the sides. Trust me on this last point: trying to divide bamboo in such a container is a recipe for frustration...which you may not fully appreciate until you try it. Lastly, do not consider sinking such a large container in the ground. There is a point at which you will have to divide it, if only to maintain the health of the plant, and the only thing harder than trying to divide bamboo that is rootbound in a large above-ground planter is trying to divide in one that is in the ground.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 1:55AM
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Sorry I waited so long to reply. I am putting the in-ground idea on hold. There is a grove nearby and I want to ask the owners if I can buy some culms. My clumpers will eventually need thinned out. I was thinking of the giant oval farm troughs but I'm sure they are pricey. I tried to email you. I have to change my email address to the right one. I gave you mine, the one listed is my moms.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 7:23AM
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Not sure if this will help, but last year I went to cut some bamboo from someone, and I noticed that the bamboo wouldn't grow underneath mature dense shady trees. I'm guessing that that can also keep it from spreading, otherwise it would have engulfed the entire neighborhood by now.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 5:55PM
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I guess it depends on the type of running bamboo that you have and on your location.

Phyllostachys aurea aka Fishpole bamboo spreads slower in direct sunlight here then it does in the shade of trees, and Arundinaria gigantea aka River Cane will rarely grow beyond the shade of trees here. P. Nigra and Moso also need shade particularly when they are young.

In cooler areas, they may grow completely different then down here, so keep that in mind.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 7:34PM
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It's been a while since I checked this thread. I have trees but they are very small yet, so they won't be casting shade for about 7-8 years for the fastest growers. I have 5 clumping bamboos already,but I really like some of the thicker pole bamboos but I am afraid of the runners. If I get ambitious I may make a raised bed and try some thick culmed runners. I want the thick culms for making fences and gates. I have nothing (bamboos) old enough to trade yet. I just received my clumpers last season from I think Steve Lau, sorry if that is incorrect, I think it was him. But those I have are newly divided yet. I have a couple Texas live oak whips that are extra. They are the smaller zone 6 hardy Q. Fusiformis live oaks. They are shorter and about half as wide as the Big Southern live oaks Quercus Virginiana. They are more drought and cold hardy. I only have 2 extra though. What I would want to trade for would be just some of the poles from thicker culmed bamboos, not the rooted plants. If nobody is interested I will understand. I will be looking on ebay if you can buy the poles after this post.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:05AM
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Okay Ebay is outragious for thick culms (no roots). Willis Orchards has a Black bamboo listed as zone 5 hardy. If I can contain a small grove, does the zone 5 seemright? I dont recall Black bamboo being so hardy, am I wronge? Is it maybe a different strain than I have seen before? I don't see a latin name for it on the Willis orchard site.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:42AM
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Okay, me again. I 've seen it isted as hardy to 0 F and 5 F. Two different sources there. I guess my first thing should be obtaining barrier if I want black bamboo that is a runner. Any Black bmboo info is appreciated. Are there any thick culmed clumpers that are zone 6 hardy? Even zone 7 hardy? I am listed as zone 6/7 on the Arbor day hardiness zone map. Our coldest the last 20+ years is above 0 F. About 7+ F. I can provide extra protection if needed.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:25AM
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If I understand correctly, you want bamboo canes to make fencing, gates, projects from, right? Why not make contact with some bamboo owners in the area and ask if you can thin their groves for them? I would be thrilled if someone thinned my grove - the culms in the middle eventually die out and need to be removed for the health of the grove anyway.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Yeah MiaOKC I want some thicker culms for the frame at least, for some fence or gate panels. I have seen groves of running bamboo here but the culms are about .5 inches, the same as my clumpers anyway. The patch that I have seen is in front of a house that looks abandoned. I don't know if I should cut any. It is literally right next to a busy road. I have seen the same kind in 2 other places here and I can get the same size from my clumpers eventually. The culms are still green now on the ones by the road, don't they have to get dry and woody? I may get some barrier and if I can get a decent area lined next spring without much cost I may dare to get a runner with thick culms. Too bad the large( thick culmed) clumpers are not very hardy.I would try indoor container growing for the non-hardy but would'nt they need a high ceiling? And would the culms be strong if they only got wind in the growing season outdoors, they would need shade too in summer if they go indoors for winter, right?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:49PM
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