Need acidic soil for Fargesias bamboo?

centaura57(5a/5b)October 11, 2009

Hi everyone, first time posting and first time bamboo grower. It's in the 40s here at night and I just received about 10 rhizomes of Fargesias, unknown sub. Lady said hers grow to 12' and she's only about 100 miles west of me. Anyway, they look to be in really good shape. I was reading somewhere that they prefer acidic soil, so I checked my soil and it's pH is about 6 and some places 6.5. What do I add to make it more acidic, or do I really need to? I'm planning on setting the rhizomes later this afternoon when the temps are closer to 60 degrees. As an FYI - these are the first plants to go in my yard and I really need them to hide the not so pretty view of my neighbors homes.

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The bamboo is probably dormant at this time of the year, so I'm not sure if they will grow now, maybe not until next year.

I grew Fargesia Murielae and Fargesia Nitida here. Neither was in acidic soil. They did fine until the high triple digit heat and two year drought finally got them.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 11:37AM
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Thanks kentuck! I really didn't expect them to grow this year, too late in the year, but didn't want to ruin their chances of coming up nicely next spring. Mild summers and sometimes harsh winters here, but the bamboo are going against a privacy fence and a good 2/3 of my yard is shade - and all bright light shade against that fence. Will post pics if they come up next spring. Wish me luck in hiding the neighbor's houses from my view! lol

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 12:59PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

You may or may not have luck growing from rhizome. I've done this with many species, have had anywhere from a 0-50% success rate, and the best luck I've had has been in the spring and summer months. Usually it's best to have rhizome with at least one culm attached, and I'm curious why you only have rhizome: fargesias are clumpers and they do not sent out rhizome runners. Lastly, you should be aware that, if you do get these to shoot, it will be a number of years before they get tall enough to form an effective screen. I'm not trying to discourage you...just injecting the voice of experience here.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 1:26PM
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Hi and thanks kudzu. I'm not discouraged. ;-) I decided to plant them against the brick building on the south side of my property - never sees sun. I received 8 rhizomes with 2-3 culms & leaves each and 3 rhizomes with no culms, but they did have several little...not sure what you call them....nibs/buds. Price was right at $25 for all including shipping, so if some take and some don't, I'll still be a happy camper. Just didn't want to not do the best I could with them, you know?

I was hoping they'd mostly come up this spring and whichever actually made it through the winter I'd move over to that fence line. I think these are called rhizomes. Look like bamboo sticks and have roots coming out all over, culms with leaves and those little nibs. Yes?

I plan on buying many more next spring, but just didn't have my yard cleaned up enough (house was empty for several years and weeds ruled!) to even plant anything until now. Had to put up that privacy fence to keep them from throwing their dog over the short fence and having it do its business in my yard (gross neighbors, didn't even bother to come clean it up!) And it still doesn't close out the view of laundry, laundry and more laundry hanging 20 feet in the air from the 3 row houses (2 of which are dilapidated) behind me. Can you tell I'm not enthused about my neighbors??? lol I'll stop now, it looks like a novella. :-)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 2:02PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

ok...I feel better now. Sounds like those have a decent chance of survival compared to what I thought you had. My only concern is that bamboo take a while to get established and you will get maximum growth out of them if they are planted in their permanent location from the outset. Bamboo are tough, but digging them up again next year is not optimal. Also, while fargesia are cold hardy, you are in a pretty cold Zone which is close to their limits, so make sure you put a pile of mulch around each one for the winter. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 5:43PM
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Thanks again! So when the leaves fall, maybe I should just rake them onto my bamboo bedding? We're almost there now, another 2 weeks and they'll start falling heavy. Okay, so the spot I put them against the brick warehouse building will become their permanent home. Maybe I should be as nasty (should have heard the names they called me when I put up the privacy fence!) as my neighbors and put runner bamboo against the fence, huh? lol

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 6:17PM
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I've done fine growing bamboos from rhizome, but I didn't plant them outside; I put them in big pots and kept them inside until they had sent up several canes. You might want to do half one way and half the other, to cover your bases.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 9:13AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Bamboo are not deciduous until you start to get closer to their hardiness temperatures, so your plants may not do this for a while. By all means keep the fallen leaves at the base as this helps provide both a little insulation and a source of silica for the plants. And, given that fall has started, rain2fall's suggestion is definitely worth considering if you have a place to do this.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 12:47PM
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Thanks everyone. The bamboo seem to do be doing fine. The ones that had culms with leaves have perked up and even though my thermometer says 31 degrees this morning, there's no frost on my yard - areas a mile away had frost - so maybe I won't get as much freeze as them. Hope so! I doubt I'll put any in pots just because they're where I want them now and if they don't make it, I'll get more in the spring. So off to buy mulch. I'll put the leaves over that once they start seriously falling. :-) Thanks again everyone!!!!!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 7:48AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Good luck. Post an update in the spring...

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 12:19PM
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