Anyone growing bamboo in the SW?
I have been growing bamboo in the middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico for several years. Anyone else out there in the south west trying to do the same? There are lots of challenges with the alkaline soil, little rainfall and dry air. However, I have about 100 plants of about 6 species of Phyllostachys, namely aureus (golden), aureosulcata (yellow goove), nigra (black), henon (gray), megurochiku (yellow with black stripes) and rubromarginata (red margin). The golden and yellow groove are the oldest (9 years) and are about 12 feet tall and 1 inch in diameter. All the other species were just planted this year. I dig pits about a foot or so down and then plant the bamboo in the pit and then fill in the pit with peat moss and compost. I then put leaf litter on the top. I water the pits once a week with a few inches of water per pit. Bamboo will not grow into dry ground, so the usual problems of "running" bamboo (all the Phyllotachys species) being hard to contain is not a problem in desert enviroments. For other bamboo (around 60 Ph. aureus plants) that are along a fence line, I have a soaker hose and let it run overnight once a week. I also add ironite to the soil to decrease the pH. I fertalize with lawn, slow acting fertalizer in the spring and early summer. This year I am going to try putting high phosphorus fertalizer on in the fall to stimulate root growth. The bamboo is very beautiful and gives our acre a tropical look. Of course, the bamboo stays green all year round. I buy the bamboo from the various on-line bamboo vendors. There is a bamboo forum on Gardenweb, where one can learn a lot about bamboo. I am particularly interested in people's experience with various species in the southwest and various ways of caring for bamboo in the southwest.