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Bamboo Thread Three

Posted by luvtosharedivs 5a WI (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 8, 09 at 20:46

Just uncovered Green Panda this afternoon, since the temps look like they are stabalizing. What a rude awakening! Took all protection away - the plastic and the Oak leaves.

What I found was dead leaves (to be expected), but no culms were chewed by mice (was worried about that.) Poor Panda looks pathetic, because many of the culms have dried out, and are probably dead all the way too the ground.

Here's a full view, (not the greatest photo,) and I'm leaving the metal rods in place in case I need them for support next winter.

Next, a closer view showing some dried green leaves.

And finally, close up of the culms that look like they may be alive, because of the yellow-green color.

Question:
Obviously the very tops of the culms are dead. Should I cut them back to healthy green growth, which will be very near the ground, say 8-10" or so?

Or should I leave it alone and see what it does all by itself?

Do you think this die-back is normal for its first brutal winter in WI?

I know, so many questions, sorry to be a pest...

Julie


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

Should I cut them back....

NO! They may be discoloured now, but they may still be alive judging by the way they look. It is not unusual for the culms to be different colours especially under stress. I have one bamboo whose culms turned chocolate brown this past Winter from the cold.

Since the plant just went through a rough Winter, I would not do anything to harm it further. Cutting the culms back to the green area can speed up the drying out process of the culms and you can do more harm than good.

Leave the culms as they are until you see new growth and the plant begins to look healthy, that way you won't be removing any 'live' plant, and you can then cut back the 'dead' parts.

The plant will get more cold tolerant as the years go by. Top growth kill is not unusual, but I like to get the roots established before I feel comfortable with the plant making it through a Winter.

I have boos that freeze to the ground every Winter.

I just got one of my tropical boos to survive the Winter(even with all the watrering I had to do to it) only to have it freeze two nights ago... We had a very late freeze that was unexpected and I didn't cover the new growth and it froze to the ground. It will come back from the ground because of a well established root system...which stores energy during the colder months.

Thanks for posting those pics. I was wondering how Panda did, and from the pics, it looks to have made it just fine.

Kt


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

Oh goodness...thanks!

If left to my own thinking, I probably would have cut the culms back - waaaaaaay back. Because that's what we do to grasses here. You know, those ornamental grasses that people grow...well, maybe you don't know. But people in this area grow a variety of showy ornamental grasses, let them stand for winter interest, then cut them back almost to the ground in late winter/early spring.

Your advise to leave it alone until I see new growth makes perfect sense now, after you explained that I could harm it further if I cut it back now. I suppose where the tops have died back, there may be some new side shoots emerging?...thus creating more bushiness?

Sorry to hear about the loss of your tropical boo...well, not a total loss...just the top growth. Good to know it will come back from the ground. Now, that brings up another question. What is a 'tropical' boo? It seems to me that you live far enough south that everything you grow would be tropical. Or should I be thinking that in a truly "tropical" climate there would be absolutely no danger of frost/freezing?

Thanks again for your advice...I'll keep you posted on Panda's progress;)

Julie


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

Yes, I have a few ornamental grasses here, but bamboo isn't actually a grass...not exactly. Bamboo is similar but different enough to be treated as such.

Yes, let new growth emerge from the ground and as limbs on existing culms, then trim after they have hardened somewhat.

I know it's hard to let it looking so ratty, but it's better for the plant to let it 'heal' itself instead of damaging it more and thus setting it back more.

There are temperate bamboos, mountain bamboos, sub-tropical bamboos, tropical bamboo, etc.

Tropical bamboos are those that thrive in the tropics, where temps never(or very rarely) produce frost. The rainfall is that of a rainforest, but these bamboos need the warmth more than the torrential rains.

I have one bamboo(very expensive) that will not tolerate temps below 40F, at which point it starts to die. I never heard of a plant being soooo sensitive to cold...32F, yes, but 40F?

Is your ground still frozen? If not, start watering it some.

Kt


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

O.K. thanks for the explanation about tropical bamboos.

I know it's hard to let it looking so ratty...
Well, I just won't let it bother me. It's not like I live in a ritzy city neighborhood where your lawn must look like you have your own private garden caretaker. I'm patient when it comes to waiting for plants to reach their prime. Some daylilies and hostas don't look their best until their third year.

Yes, our ground is thawed, but still has plenty of moisture. I have walked the paths in the woods and some of the low spots are still saturated with moisture from melting snow from just over a week ago. With these cool temps, not much evaporation goes on, esp, with the 3-4" of mulch I still have over the crown (is that the right term?) of Panda.

After I took the pics, I installed a chicken-wire fence around Panda, because our neighbor's dog, who is still a "puppy", likes to chew on twigs, small trees, grass, rocks, dirt, snow, gloves, etc. etc. As I was uncovering Panda, he came around snooping, and promptly went for one of the culms. I caught him quick enough, and gave him a stern scolding. I'm sure bunnies will sample the newly emerging culms too, unless I protect them!

I will be sure to keep Panda watered on a regular basis...rule around here is about 1"/week if we don't get rainfall.

Until next time...

Your bamboo student,
Julie


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

You are learning well, Grasshopper.

It is getting late and time for me to go meditate...

Kt

P.S. I know where you can get a dog in Tennessee for 10 bucks that can talk. Buy him and tell him to tell your neighbour's pup to KEEP away! Money well spent...


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

Thank-you, oh wise mentor!

Julia


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

You're welcome.

Just remember, every bamboo acts different under different conditions. You will learn, over time, what you can or cannot do to Panda,...and what will and won't work.

There is a post going on over at the Bamboo Forum about Moso not being able to be grown in Texas. Yet I have been growing it for years and it is thriving. However, originally I had it planted not too far from where it presently is, and it almost died. Amount of sunlight, amount of water, fertilizer, soil ph, high and low temps, humidity, among other things...all factor in to how well a bamboo(and other plants) will do.

I can only help you so much, the rest you will learn from experience. You are more familiar with your climate than I, so you can make some educated guesses as to what might be best, but it is always good to work with a well established plant, or do the experimenting with divisions so you always have a 'mother' plant to fall back on in the case that something might not work.

Kt


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

I will make sure to keep a log on what happens with Panda, when it sends up new shoots (is that the correct term?), or when it sends out side shoots from the (hopefully) living culms, when it leafs out, etc, etc.

Gee, maybe in a couple more years I can call myself an expert at growing one variety of bamboo!

The location it's in right now is good, as far as light, because it gets a little filtered shade throughout the day, which is best according to what I read about it. The soil is O.K., but not the best on our property. All the great soil area has been planted (former cow pasture.) However, the idea of taking divisions is tempting. Maybe when I see some new growth I can cut off a small division or two and try it in a couple of different areas for comparison.

I'm hoping it grows at least 4' tall this season. If it does, it will make a nice accent among all the daylilies I have ordered to surround it!

I'm not one to pamper any of my plants. I will go to extra lengths to protect a new plant for a season or two, but after that, the plant is on its own. The most I will do for established plants is to add a few inches of mulch for a winter covering. But I'm getting tired of caging so many plants and covering with two feet of oak leaves. That's what I had to do with all my chrysanthemums every year, and it got to be too much extra work, so I let the mums go on their own. Now only the strongest survive. I've replaced to goners with daylilies, which are tough survivors around here.

Until the next Panda news...

Julie


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

Update on Panda...

Nothing exciting is happening, in fact the culms that were a nice yellow-green when I first uncovered them are now turning more brown, probably from being exposed to our cold Spring winds. I keep scratching (gently) at the 3-4" of mulch still covering the crown, hoping to see new growth.

Nothing...

But what I did see today under the mulch are a bunch of tiny ants - reddish brown scurring around. That can't be good, can it? I mean, if they've developed a colony under that mulch, with tunnels and all, could that be bad for the crown/rhizomes?

Julie, trying to hold on to hope for poor Panda...


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

Ants can be a problem, depending on what kind they are.

As soon as the nights get warmer, you should start to see growth. It's still a little early in your area to see growth.

Way too early to give up hope. I'd put something on the ants to get rid of them, though.

Kt


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

O.K. thanks for your encouragement.

We have an unusual amount of ants all over the property...huge colonies in the lawn, and I've been putting ant dust down whenever it's not too windy.

Will dust for ants around Panda.

Until the next update....

Julie


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

Photobucket

I'm sad.

Any idea how long I should wait before I cull Panda?
Nothing's going on, but I'm trying to tell myself to wait until the nights warm up, like you said in early May.
We've had an unusually cool, wet Spring, and the nights are STILL cool, down in the 50's.

I am so tempted to remove the chickenwire cage, gently remove the 3" or so of mulch, then gently scratch the soil down to where I can see some roots, to see if they're white, which would indicate that the plant is still alive.

What do you think?
Am I being impatient?

Julie


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

With nights into the 50's, it probably won't grow. 60+ is usually good growing weather...here anyway.

I'd give it time, but would still be surprised to hear that it did not make it. I thought it looked quite well in the earlier photos.

If it doesn't make it, then all I can think of is that it might not have been established enough. I mentioned very early, that it would be best to keep it in a pot for one year before ground planting it, or better yet, to divide it then plant some in the ground. That way you have a backup plant.

I'd give it a bit more time, but I know it must look ragged and is bothering you.

Kt


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

I've been afraid to ask, but I guess Panda didn't make it, huh?

I feel guilty now for talking you into it. It still should survive in your zone. Maybe it needed more time to get established(longer growing season) or letting it get larger in a pot before planting it in the ground.

I read that you mentioned the south side of your house in a different post...that might have been a more suitable place for it...giving it a few extra degrees of warmth in those cold north Winters. I feel bad for you.

Kt...hanging head down low...


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

I keep checking under the mulch, but can't get down to the crown. We've had an incredibly wet, cold Spring, with cold temps at night, and the soil has taken so long to warm up.

We are going away this weekend to a Towing Convention, and my plans, when we come back, are to lift the chicken wire cage, gently scrape away all the mulch, and maybe even dig it up to look at the condition of the crown and roots/rhizomes.

I had been meaning to ask you something about the culms. I keep tugging on them, and they're holding firm. I would think if the crown has rotted, the culms would break off from the crown, and pull up easily, wouldn't they?

If Panda is indeed lost, you should not feel bad for 'talking me into it'. It should have survived zone 5, but this past winter was one of the worst we've had in 10 years, with temps reaching -25. I lost several things, including some established shrubs, and a few perennials. If the low temps didn't kill it, there's the possibility of it drowning when we had torrential rains, cutting off the oxygen. Drainage isn't good where it's planted.

The thought occured to me to purchase another plant, (while I can still afford it,) and plant it in the most protected place on my property, which is the south side of the garage where nasty winter winds can't prevail, and where it can sit in a raised bed (thus perfect drainage.)

I'm willing to give it one more try.
I'll let you know what I find when I dig it up.

Julie


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

re-arranging


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

They may not necessarily break off easily. It takes most bamboo culms a little while to rot, so they may remain strongly attached for a while.

Maybe if you get another plant, divide it and keep one in a pot, and plant the other after a season in a pot, to give it an added boost before putting it in the ground. Just a thought. I do this here, even with our long growing season and even with plants that are definitely hardy in my zone.

Kt


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

Divisions & pots..to keep those plants alive!


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three


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Dividing might happen next Spring...rufa next to house is way too fat & sassy!!!

j


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RE: Bamboo Thread Three

Cool! Glad to hear it is doing great!

Kt


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