What will cold weather leaf loss look like?

guyfrom505December 4, 2006

I'm sorry I have lots of questions here. I appreciate any general winter advice as well. What will cold weather leaf damage look like? Will damage be immediate or will it take a few days, or even weeks to be seen? Where my bamboo (P. Nigra and P. Aurea) are planted it appears that the ground (or at least the mulch layer, about 5 inches) will be frozen for a few months. It is on the north side of a building and even though high temps here have been in the upper 40s the ground is still below freezing. The coldest temp so far was this morning, about 13 degrees. The area is somewhat protected from most winds, at least direct winds. Also, what type of watering schedule should I follow? And should I water at all when ground temp is below freezing? I think, well watered plants overwinter better is that correct? Should I measure the below ground tempature? I do know that the air is very dry here (Albuquerque) and evaporation (or sublimation) is still taking place. I spilled some water on concrete near my plants and it froze up, but evaporated without ever melting. I know fruit growers spray trees on very cold nights does anyone use that method to insulate bamboo or would that make things worse or cause damage due to the weight of the ice? I know this was kind of rambling but I have never grown anything at all and this is my first winter with bamboo. THANKS! :)

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You will know when the leaves are dead. They are dried out and show no signs of life. Once the leaves are dead, the culm may start dying off from the cold temps. Watering the frozen ground won't work. It'll just be ice laying on the surface and in the cracks. Bamboo can't uptake ice. If you have good drainage, then water the bamboo when the ground is thawed out. Just make sure you put down a nice layer of mulch around the plant it will be fine. Its probable, that since its the first winter, it might die to the ground if the temperature dips low enough.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 9:37AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

It may be a bit cold there for golden and black bamboos. Maybe you need to try Fargesia instead. These can be very elegant and are often native to high mountains. Most do like to be shaded from hot sun.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 7:36PM
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Thanks for the suggestion. Trouble is in the summer they get almost full sun. :( The shade only comes in when the sun is low to the south. So far the city temp has been upper teens (don't know what microclimate temp has been) and both types (I have 5 plants altogether) still look good. :) I guess I should clarify my question, will leaf damage be apparent immediate or will it take days or weeks to appear? Thanks for all replies.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 1:10AM
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It will first start to lighten and curl like in the first picture. If it gets real cold the leaves will look like the second pic.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 9:00PM
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