I was wondering if anyone could tell me where I can find clumping bamboo?I'm in N. Central Ma,but don't mind a little driving.Thanks
I googled bamboo + massachusetts, and this was the first (of many) links that popped up - it's in Rockport, pretty far east of you. They have a nice selection at several local nurseries, but I'm *way* east, on the Cape.
Here is a link that might be useful: New England Bamboo
I have bought bamboo from New England Bamboo for years (for myself and for clients of my garden design work), and am happy with their quality and variety. Owner Chris DeRosa is a respected expert in bamboo and landscaping with bamboo.
They are set up for wholesale, though, so if you're a homeowner/retail customer, I recommend e-mailing or calling them for an appointment, or ordering by mail/Internet.
A source in Central Mass. is Tripplebrook Farm (I've gotten bamboo and other stuff from them). Google for their website. They are reliable.
Also, Al Adelman of Burt Associates Bamboo (Google Burt Associate Bamboo for the website) is a good source. He sells bamboo from his backyard in Westford. You can order by mail year-round, but his setup is open for visiting only from May to September.
Anyone else have any experience with Burt Associates? I work near there, and think about checking them out every so often. I called once several years ago, but was very turned off by the gentleman's phone manner, so I've yet to visit.
I have bought bamboo from Al (Burt Associates) since 1997, and recommend him. His specimens are fairly small (except for a couple of running species he grows and divides on his land. Those can be quite tall), but healthy and good quality. He is knowledgeable and can advise on the best types to grow in your location and conditions.
It's true that Al is not an extrovert and may sound abrupt on the phone or e-mail, but he is a nice guy, really, and when you visit he is helpful and cordial.
I recommend that you check out Tripple Brook Farm in Southampton, MA for clumping bamboo. All my plants from this nursery have thrived.
I agree with Abbie that you can't go wrong with Tripple Brook - which is why I recommended them above. :) I've gotten bamboo from them, and also hardy kiwi that is flourishing.
They have a good variety of bamboos, some that are only good for container plants (must come inside for the winter), and some that are hardy to zone 4b (may get top die-back, but roots and rhizomes overwinter and reshoot every spring).
In colder areas like 5a and 4b, you can plant running bamboo without worrying about it going rampant because it will die to the ground each winter like a perennial, then spend its energy replacing culms instead of sending out runners. It acts more like clumping bamboo in the coldest parts of its range.
"It's true that Al is not an extrovert and may sound abrupt on the phone or e-mail, but he is a nice guy, really, and when you visit he is helpful and cordial."
Ok, same can and has been said about me, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and try next year on your advice. Thanks.
Thanks for all the tips,I'll be taking a little ride in the spring :)
Make sure to call or e-mail Al first, to make sure he'll be there when you visit. He sells from his back yard, and if it's a quiet day he may go on errands if he isn't expecting anyone.
cady, are you saying that bamboo doesn't run in z.5a and 4?
because my yellow and gn striped ______(i've blocked the name!!) runs like NUTS and we fight it every year as it skips 12' at a whim.and that's planted in a POT. maybe you were referring to some other running bamboo?
Now Mindy, Winchester is in zone 6a/5b. :)
And I didn't say hardy bamboo doesn't run in the colder end of its range, only that the typical winter die-back slows down the growth of its rhizomes. In zone 4, it's pretty much a given that all species of bamboo, no matter how hardy, will die to the ground in the winter, and will spend most of their energy producing culms (not running rhizomes) to replace the lost ones.
In zones 6 and the warmer end of 5, the hardiest bamboos are way friskier because they likely have had most or all of their culms and leaves survive, and can put energy into making new rhizomes.
And if you happen to have a warm microclimate, those hardier varieties are even more likely to run. Nothing like a nice warm zone 7 or 8 niche in a zone 6 or 5 garden. lol
cady, winchester may be other than z.5a on YOUR map, but on our property, it is my belief and experience that we are z.5a. would that it were not so. would that it were z.7, but afraid it is not so. at any rate, the RATE at which the green and yellow striped bamboo - moves- is amazing here, even though planted in a pot. be careful, sunshine!
wise to keep with your original clumpers wish!
If your site has sun-warmed soil, plenty of compost and other things that make bamboo happy, that can make it a bit frisky, it's true. In Zone 4, though, it's almost a given that a bamboo will not get the upper hand, ever. At least not until Global Warming really sets in!
To be fair to the bamboo, wherever and whatever species it may be... ;) ... let's talk Good Management! I have grown aggressive varieties of bamboo on my small (60'X115') lot for 10 years with no problems whatsoever. Right now I have about 30 or so species and cultivars, some of which are reputed to run all over. But mine are well behaved, here in balmy Zone 6b, because I watch the shoots every year and snip, cut or dig anything that pops up out of bounds.
About the 12' runner... It is known to happen sometimes, particularly when the parent plant has plenty of energy and the soil is unobstructed, but there is no desireable spot for a new shoot to come up. It "hunts" for a suitable location.
The best way to avoid this, is to simply trench around the parent plant when you put it in, and every year run a sharp spade around the perimeter. If the plant is doing anything sneaky, your spade will nip it in the bud - literally. :)
If you do it from the start, the work remains light and easy. The horror stories you hear about bamboo taking over, nearly always are the result of someone plopping in a bamboo and ignoring it for 10 years. Then the genie is out of the bottle.
A bamboo grove is actually one, single entity -- not a community of different plants -- and it will expand to a certain point to fulfill its energy-building needs until it can flower and set seed. Which, depending on the species, can be in 5, 15, 50, 100 years!
Think of each culm and its leaves as a solar sail, collecting sun energy for the organism. If you have your bamboo in the shade, it will want to send rhizomes to a sunny spot so it can pop up culms to catch the rays. If you plant it in the sun, it is more likely to send up new shoots closer (within 3') to the parent plant. That new shoot, in turn, will send out a new rhizome that will pop up a shoot 3' from that plant, and so on. The natural course of bamboo growth is to do this little "leap frog" thing... not to send a 20' rhizome out. The latter is more like a scout sent to find habitable new lands. :)
you've given us all a super, quick education in bamboo behavior and maintaining tips. appreciate that v. much!
now, to incorporate that learning into my already crummy maintenance practices, sigh..... wouldn't it be so much easier if their roots were in the top 2 inches of the ground... in this one area, where those buggers shoot out 12', we have to dig up whole perennial clumps to get out those muscular roots. ( and you are absolutely right, THAT troublesome clump is in a shady spot, whereas the potted clump that gets full sun- we do not have that running problem...)
I feel your pain. :^/ ;^)
Bamboo really is "lazy," believe it or not. If it has everything it needs close by, it won't go a-roamin'. In rich, moist, slightly acidic soil its root system will stay pretty shallow (from just below the surface to 18" deep). But if it doesn't like its medium, or meets an obstacle, such as a tree root or boulder, that deflects it downward, it can go as much as 3' deep! I've heard horror stories from fellow "bambooseros" (bamboo fanatics) who dug rhizomes with a backhoe because the digging was just too deep.
But for more normal gardens, 18" is about the max.
None of my bamboos have put down rhizomes and roots that deep. They usually stay up in the top 12" of soil because that's where the goodies are (lots of poultry manure compost from my flock).
To vindicate you and your green-striped bamboo, I'll tell you about a Zone 5 bamboo grove that took off. The above-mentioned Al Adelman, proprietor of Burt Associates Bamboo in Westfod -- a solid Zone 5 -- has a nice double grove of Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis,' which is a lovely classic-looking bamboo with green-and-yellow striped culms (maybe what you have?). He planted it about 15 years ago. Anyway, about 7 or 8 years in, one of his rhizomes ran off and started a new grove 20' away, along the property line! Al had to monitor the grove closely, rhizome cutter in hand, to make sure it stayed out of the neighbor's yard. But when we had the awful winter of 2004, his whole grove got killed to the ground, and it has taken these couple years to completely come back. Every so often, a Zone 5 winter that hits -20F will kill back his bamboos and keep them from filling any more territory than they already do.
hmmmm i need one of those freezing ray guns from the world of sci fi.....!just point, shoot, freeze those little errant runners.. ha!
Anyone have any ideas where to find bamboo near Cambridge or the North Shore or Natick-Framingham area?
I saw some for sale in a gallon container at the Mahoneys in Brighton this week. Worth the quick drive over from Cambridge.
Rainbow Mums and Perennials in Carlisle should have clumping bamboo. Great place. Call and talk with owner and grower Mark Phillippo.
Here is a link that might be useful: Rainbow Mums &Perennials