Who's growing clumping bamboo in NC? What kind?

gbirdsJune 18, 2008

I've been dizzied by the info in the bamboo forum, and so much of it relates to other zones and climates. I'm looking for a nice, tall clumping bamboo that will take full sun for a spot in my big yard. Anyone in NC, preferably around the Triad area, having success with a particular bamboo? I'd love some recommendations!

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dyhgarden(7b)

I have 3 Fargesia ...food of the pandas. Umbrella shape, 6 ft tall at maturity. It was planted last spring before the drought. Did well. The goldfinch love to perch on it. Deer don't eat it. Evergreen. Drops leaves before new growth, but not a problem. I'm not a bamboo collector. I just needed the foliage/shape for my garden. I am thinking of taking one out of the ground to transplant into a large pot before it gets too settled in.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 3:00PM
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split_zones

gbirds,
I fell for the hype on the web and from a landscape architect who helped us with the 2 acres around our former place in Charlotte. We put in two areas of "clumping, non-invasive" bamboos.

After 4 years, the yard was being taken over by bamboo.

FYI: Both kinds were planted inside large, deep, plastic pipes (like sewer pipes). The bamboo grew up and over the pipes. I couldn't see what was going on under there. Getting to it to cut the escapees was very unpleasant.

We tried to "contain" the stuff in limited areas, but it crept and took over. So, after 8 yrs of battle, we began using glyphosate on the roots we cut.

I am aware of one situation in the Piedmont where a smart gardener poured concrete containment before installing bamboo for a long privacy hedge. It's working.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 1:05PM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

splitzones- there are ways to control running boo, esp if you know up front that that's what you have. Your issue was the landscape architect who installed running boo instead of clumping boo. Maybe he was misled, too, but if he was putting in some sort of a barrier from the get go it makes me think he knew & was misrepresenting. Clumping boo doesn't run. When installing a barrier it really helps to leave it a few inches above the ground level so you can see those runners taking off & nip them early on.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 2:07PM
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lylesgardens(7)

bamboo grows rampant here in the Concord/Charlotte area. Huge stands of it alongside the back roads. People all over C/L post ads for people to come cut it down if they want their own for free, only leading to further the issue. I personally love the look of it but would never grow it for fear it would take over eventually.

Lyle

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 2:13PM
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dyhgarden(7b)

Clumping bamboo isn't invasive like the running boo. Mine have not exceeded the space at all. It is right where I put it and no where else. I have planted perennials, herbs and annuals all around it and haven't hit any runners.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 4:17PM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

Lyle, if they're cutting it to use in the garden there's no danger whatsoever. It cannot grow from a cut culm. In fact, it's amazing how easy it is to kill new culms- if you kick over the new culms before they harden, they're dead. As aggressive as it is in the ground it's actually kind of hard to get the right part moved to get it going. Most of what you see in the 'wild' running about is phyllostachys aurea or golden bamboo. Golden boo has some canes that have very interesting compressed and/or crooked lower joints, which means you can make really pretty stuff with it. The canes turn a very pretty gold in the sun. Running boos make the best garden stakes & trellises- very light, strong and durable if older canes are cut. There is a native boo, but it's fairly short, and it's known as canebrake or rivercane.

I should have said earlier we have 3 kinds in the ground and a couple more in pots, all running. There are very safe ways to grow running boo and it's a beautiful plant. Most of the clumpers just do not like our heat here.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 4:17PM
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gbirds

I'm in a cooler zone than Charlotte, practically near the VA border and on a partly sloping lot, which acts as a cool sink, especially in winter. Our place is usually a few degrees cooler even than Greensboro, only 20 miles south. The foothills topography here makes us a half zone lower than GSO.

I really only want a clumper. Anyone have experience with Alphonse Karr? It seems to be touted as a good "starter" bamboo.

wonbyherwits, do you recall which type of fargesia you have?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 9:14AM
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lylesgardens(7)

Tam- I should have mentioned "dig it up", thats where I think the spreading problem lies in these online ads. I use bamboo poles to train my rose on. I may even try to build a structure out of it like a pergola for the future back deck. Lyle

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 9:26AM
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dyhgarden(7b)

gbirds,

Mine was just labeled 'fargesia' without any other classification. From browsing the web, it may be similar to fargesia rufa based upon the height and umbrella shape description. I got the last 3 at the nursery and they don't have it this year.

Cameron

Cameron

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 10:39AM
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ccoombs1(7B SC)

I've got Alphonse Karr, but even though it is sold as hardy, the foliage burns in the winter and it looks terrrible. they have a huge amount of it at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, but it is a somewhat protected area and does not burn as badly. It does always come back and looks great, if you can put up with the ugly brown in the winter. Some of the runners are not terribly agressive and can easily be managed. It really only involves knocking down or mowing over the new culms when they sprout up in May. It only runs for about that one month, the rest of the year it behaves very nicely.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 3:18PM
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David_Benfield

There are a few bamboo nurseries in NC with clumping bamboo. In the Triangle area, there's Brightside Bamboo (this is my nursery) with both clumping varieties and running varieties. I've run across lots of people who were told a running variety was a clumper, but that's mostly b/c most landscapers and nursery professionals aren't bamboo experts.

In the Charlotte area, there's Charlotte Bamboo. In the Asheville area there's Haiku Bamboo Nursery. I hope that helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Brightside Bamboo

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 4:56PM
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CasaLester RTP, NC (7b)

In the interest of fairness, we would like to mention Apex Bamboo, located also in the Triangle area, not surprisingly in Apex, NC.
We got from Apex a 3 gal pot of Pseudosasa japonica (arrow bamboo) that is now growing in a 50 gal tub and is shooting 6 ft canes in its second season.

Here is a link that might be useful: Apex Bamboo

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 9:49PM
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nannerbelle(8A)

I also saw Clumping Bamboo in the PDN online catalog in the last couple of days. Just as an FYI that they have it as well. I'm really tempted to try a bit of it at the new place.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 10:54PM
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butterfly4u

gbirds,
I would get the Fargesia Rufa if I were you. I had a nice size clump of it years ago when I lived in Pennsylvania. It truly is a beautiful bamboo, and takes full sun and cold winters.
I picked up Fargesia Nuda at lowes a couple of years ago in the discounted plants rack. LOL, I always buy them half dead.
I planted it in mostly shade on a berm between my home and my neighbors and it really hasn't grown all that much yet.
Clumping bamboo isn't like running bamboo, it takes at least 3 good years to really start growing to the point that you are happy with it. Of course, it doesn't spread like running bamboo either, so that is great.
I am zone 8 and the Fargesia Nuda is doing fine, but I didn't plant it in full sun at all.
If I were to buy another one, I would definitely get Fargesia Rufa, because of the gorgeous pink it has in it. The culms are attractive and you can plant it in full sun.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 3:51PM
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David_Benfield

Yes, Mike at Apex Bamboo is a friend - he's good. I do carry Fargesia rufa (which requires full summer shade here) and several Bambusa varieties for clumping bamboo. Drop by any Saturday 10am-4pm. 620 Hwy 54, Chapel Hill, NC 27302

Here is a link that might be useful: Brightside Bamboo Nursery - Chapel Hill

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 6:24PM
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Zach-in-NC

Has anyone had any success finding and/or planting Giant Cane (Arundinaria gigantea)? I'm trying to stick with natives and think it would fit nicely into my landscape.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2014 at 12:33PM
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butterfly4u

Zach,
It is growing on the side of the road down the street in front of one of my neighbors home.
It is very nice looking, but not so much in the winter.
I have no idea where you would buy it, but try it.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2014 at 9:28PM
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Zach-in-NC

Thanks, Butterfly! What does it do in the winter that makes it so unappealing? The spot I'm fixin to put it is sort of out of the way, so it may not be an issue for me...

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 3:09PM
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cousinfloyd

I have a start of what I believe is the native giant cane. I got my start from a neighbor that found his growing seemingly wild by a small river nearby. It's pretty ratty looking -- it seems to not fully shed its dead leaves -- but it also seems to yield some very practical and relatively strong poles. I'm speaking from very limited experience and knowledge, but that's my impression.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2014 at 10:06PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

The poles aren't as strong as you might think (native cane).
The plants are very sensitive to the occasional droughts.
I had a good stand behind my back yard in a forest and during the drought they died off . Later I found it growing in a low spot that normally floods.
Ground water is going to be the key issue and rain runoff ditches are probably the best site for establishing a stand.

Still, they spread underground and re-establish where there is adequate and continuous moisture so I have no idea how you would contain them.
I don't find them attractive at all. A summertime short visual barrier if there's enough moisture but the rest of the year and in dry periods they do look ratty and the dead,dying leaves do persist.
Are you trying to hide a view? As I mentioned, they aren't a permanent barrier. In the riverine (drainage/creek overflow) forest they would pop up in a different location every few years.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2014 at 1:04PM
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cousinfloyd

Thanks for the feedback, Dottie. No, I'm not really trying to screen any views, and I don't mind that it's so much scragglier than other bamboo options. I'm mainly interested in harvesting poles for use in the garden, etc. (I do also just like the idea of growing an uncommon and distinctive native plant.) Is there a better type of bamboo for producing canes very densely (so I can harvest a lot per unit area) that would be relatively very strong and approximately 1 to 1-1/2" in diameter with some canes yielding at least 10' of good pole before getting too wispy/flimsy/branching to be useful?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2015 at 6:59AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

I just know the native canes are not as tall or strong as you describe needing and the wait after planting for a mature stand of adequate numbers for your projects could be disappointing also.
If you need the cane or bamboo primarily for projects I should think it easier to find a source from someone who has to hack down the spreading overgrowth annually.
Might even check with landscapers who homeowners call in to deal with bamboo stands.
You could plant some of the native cane for years later harvesting but you have to have the annually perfect growing conditions. Even creekside where I was able to chop out some decent size cane in 2005, when the drought hit us here for two years and dried up the creek the cane stands died off.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2015 at 12:20PM
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cousinfloyd

Thanks for the feedback, Dottie. I do have some sources on other people's property for bamboo. It's awfully tricky to haul the taller poles, but maybe shorter poles like this would be more manageable. In any case, I'd like to have my own source for poles, and I have the space to grow it. I guess I'll see how the native giant cane does. I may also add a smaller Asian type, too, and see which I like better for pole/stake production.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2015 at 3:44PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

For pretty much all bamboo plants and products available in the US and Canada...

Here is a link that might be useful: ABS - Bamboo Source List

    Bookmark   January 3, 2015 at 3:55PM
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