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bamboo yellow leaves new culms dying

Posted by suegibson WA state (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 10, 14 at 21:07

We have had dulce timber bamboo and a smaller bamboo version in a huge wooden box. For the last two years it has done wonderful. This spring the leaves on every plant are turning yellow and the new culms are coming up and then dying. They get about three feet or less and just start to shrivel up....we have done nothing different than in the past....what do we do. We are not over watering, or under watering. We put miracle grow on it for the fertilizer and still the whole thing is dying. There are not bugs or mold. Help it was an expensive box to set up and is beautiful, we hate to loose it.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: bamboo yellow leaves new culms dying

I have a similar problem with my bamboo. I had five shoots of bamboo and were growing beautifully, but then the shoots became yellow with yellow leaves; I guess they died. I did nothing different. What happened?

RE: bamboo yellow leaves new culms dying

That's an unusual set of symptoms and an answer is not obvious. Two things I can think of are:
1) Watering. I know you think it's is properly watered, but have you checked it with a moisture meter? And how is this container set up? Does it have drainage?

2) Voles. This is a long shot, but voles can seriously damage bamboo that seems to be healthy. They tunnel down and eat the roots. Bamboo do not typically suffer terminal damage from diseases or other pests.

Are you talking about a potted bamboo or one in the ground...or those stems in a vase which are called "Lucky Bamboo", but are not really bamboo?

RE: bamboo yellow leaves new culms dying

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 0:12

At this time of the year in WA it could easily be seasonal drying of the soil. Plants in tubs will also not be able to go on indefinitely in the same soil without it being kept well fertilized and watered, and periodically replaced in some way like shaving the roots and packing new soil around the edge.

Although bamboos often stick to the pot walls and are hard to get out of the pots, especially after becoming crowded. You may have to destroy the container in order to get the plant out, and then use a new container to re-pot it with fresh soil.

RE: bamboo yellow leaves new culms dying

I am having the same weird problem. Two 8-yr-old clumps of golden bamboo (Phyllostachys spectabilis) in my Seattle yard are also dropping hundreds of their new, green spikes of leaves--unopened--and the tops of the newest canes are stunted, soft, and breaking off. Canes less than full height are turning flaccid and dying back to the ground. Old leaves are turning yellow and dropping while others are still green and healthy. There are no rolled or wrinkled leaves indicating that the soil is too dry. An adjacent clump of black bamboo nearby looks normal.

I gave everything a good soaking yesterday even though the soil wasn't particularly dry within the root barriers. Wait and see are next.

I have no idea what stressed the golden bamboo so badly, but it was something very recent, judging by the full formation of the first spring canes and the dieback of the later growth. Maybe a family of voles moved in last month after my neighbor finally mowed his knee-high grass. Maybe it's the weird weather.

If anyone else is having similar problems, I would like to hear about it.

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