Help! Dried out leaves!!!

silversword(9A)December 14, 2009

We transplanted a Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr' and all of the leaves turned crunchy brown!!! None of our other transplants did this. Any suggestions to making it happy again will be appreciated!

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

When you say you transplanted it, what does that mean exactly? Did you dig up the entire plant, including the entire root ball, or what? What you are describing is representative of a transplant where you may have taken too little root ball, or where you have damaged the culm-rhizome connection, or where the plant did not get enough water after the transplant. Does any of this sound like a possibility?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 1:30PM
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silversword(9A)

Sorry. Need to clarify. We bought it from a nursery. The pot was damaged, so we cut it out and it sat for a day. The pot size is about 18" tall and 2' across. The boo itself is about 20' tall. Then we planted it and gave it ample water for a few days, then it's been raining for a week, pouring actually, in S. California.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 1:48PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Ok...that's important to know. Your symptoms sound to me like the plant was allowed to dry out for a couple of days at some time prior to your planting it. A healthy bamboo that goes from the pot to the ground and is kept watered does not react like this. The only other thing I can think of is that, if there was a lot of damage to the pot, there could have been damage to the root system...but that's a long shot. What did the pot look like when you bought it, and how dry did the soil in the pot look? Typically bamboo are very tough, and can tolerate some abuse. Leaf problems like you describe are almost always the result of inadequate watering. When you took it out of the pot, you should have had a tight root ball and it should have been planted without removing soil from around the roots. If you didn't have a solid root ball the size of the pot, then it might have been a division that someone took very recently and you got it as shock was just setting in. Usually, when you divide bamboo, you re-pot it and let it stabilize for at least 6 months to make sure it stays healthy. If this is a reliable nursery, you might want to consider a talk with them...

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 4:53PM
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silversword(9A)

The pot was trashed, barely hanging on. It "burst" out of the pot. The root system was very tight/strong/together and it was not a recent division. I don't think there was any damage.

If it did dry out for a bit... are the leaves just going to fall off then? Will they grow back on those culms or will we have to wait for new culms to sprout before we will get any more green?

Thanks for your help. Of course, this is the plant we put in the area a person sees first in our yard :(

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 11:27AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

When a bamboo has burst the pot, it means that it has been in there for a while, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Although such root balls can look rootbound, it's not a big deal like with other plants, and it's best to not mess with the roots...just plant it as is. Now if it had been in that pot for years and there was very little soil, then it might have been harder for the nursery to keep it moist. However, if the plant looked good when you got it, I doubt that there is much permanent damage. With any luck, the culms will put out new leaves in the next couple of months as long as you keep it well watered. Don't have standing water, but it's ok to soak it and make sure it's moist. And don't prune off any parts of the culms, because anything you prune off is gone for good and, unlike other plants, bamboo do not grow back their lost parts. I have had bamboo that completely defoliated from shock or abuse and came back fine. I wouldn't give up on any of the existing culms unless you get to next summer and there are no new leaves. You may not get any new culms coming up for a while as it usually takes a year or two for a bamboo plant to get established. Last of all, if this is a tall plant, you may want to stabilize it for a few months with a couple of pieces of twine and stakes: it makes it easier for the plant to get "lock-in" to the ground and not be blown over by a wind. Good luck, and re-post when it (hopefully) starts recovering.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 2:50PM
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silversword(9A)

Ok, will do. Thanks for the advice. It just looks so pitiful!!! It is a very tall plant. I'll try to put up some pictures so you can get an idea.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 11:13AM
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silversword(9A)

WHEW!!!!!!!!!

All of our Alphonse ended up losing their leaves, turning our yard into a giant leaf pile. I got more and more scared. Then the rains came, and with it the wind... and I went out yesterday and every single plant has tiny new leaves coming out. YAY!! I could not be happier. I did a little bamboo jig right there in the planter.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 4:21PM
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moto72850(No. Calif)

Wind Damage?
I transported several potted Boo for a grand opening and the wind damage in the back of my truck caused leaf drop. The plants lived but looked terrible for the opening. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 3:41PM
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silversword(9A)

They all dropped before the winds.... I think they were just in shock. The winds were so bad they blew a couple I had just transplanted completely out of the ground...

Oh. I just re-read. You were talking about wind damage from transporting them to my house?? That's entirely possible.

I'm just happy they're so lively looking now, the thought that we just spent over $1000 on some big sticks and days digging and planting dead boo was sure scary!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 12:28PM
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