TOO much mulch

hank11(8 Northern Ca.)December 21, 2009

More is not always better, Some of my bamboo was planted in such a thick mulch of wood chips, manure and grass clippings that it has grown extremely fast, Some of the Phy. Dulcis in only two years old from 1 gallon plants and are an inch and a half thick at the base. the problem is the mulch is so thick the Rhizomes and roots aren't anchored in anything solid and keep getting blown over in the wind. I'm hoping that as the mulch decomposes, the plants will get a better grip in the soil

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

You should not be amending the soil at all when planting your bamboo...other than maybe throwing a handful of slow release fertilizer in the hole. You should dig a hole, plant the bamboo, and backfill with the excavated soil . Then, after the bamboo is established, you can mulch to your heart's content.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 2:33PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

And if I were you, I'd take those existing bamboo out of the ground, remove all that loose soil mixture, and re-plant them with ordinary dirt. Since they are tall, they should also be staked for a number of months until they lock-in to the soil.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 2:36PM
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hank11(8 Northern Ca.)


This bamboo has been in the ground 3 years not 2 as I originally said, From 3 little 1 gallon plants it has filled an area about 10 ft. by 20 ft. and is a mass of plant and rhizome and I'm seeing Rhizome 15 ft outside the grove. digging it all up would be a massive undetaking. I staked all the ones that kept falling over. The original plants were planted in soil like you said, it's the ones that grew out from there and stayed in the upper layer of mulch that are the problem.
All my other bamboo is behaving nicely

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 5:59PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Ok...thanks for clarifying...that's a different situation than I assumed from your description. I thought you were having problems with the original clump.

All you can do is stake them, and clear the mulch away from areas they might grow into. Of course, for those that are falling over, they can't be very well tied in to the soil, so you could at least cut out some of those clumps pretty easily and plant them where you don't have mulch. I can't think of another solution.

Maybe I should let you plant your bamboo in my yard, and I'll plant my tomatoes in yours!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 7:48PM
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What about removing most of the mulch and just dumping in topsoil? Still a lot of work, but it seems like it should help with anchoring.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 10:36PM
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hank11(8 Northern Ca.)

The problem with trying to remove the mulch now is the Rhizomes are all near the surface and there are a heck of a lot of them. I think I'll take Kudzu's advice and just remove the problem culms. Also I will cut back on the water this summer and force them to grow deeper and after this shooting season the grove may be thick enough to hold itself together

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 11:41PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

That sounds like a reasonable plan that won't be a massive amount of work. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 3:49AM
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