BAMBOO and I: A Torrid Love Affair

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by Eve von Paradis, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am starting this thread to spin out a cautionary tale that is also a love story filled with high drama, violence and passion. It all began with a growing discord between my neighbours and I... a story reserved for a different kind of forum!! It came to the point where I could not endure it any longer and decided that I needed to grow a privacy screen at least 12 feet tall -- fast and now.

    I visited my local nursery. Many potential candidates attempted to seduce me with their voluptuous girth that will serve to screen off the neighbours. Some plainer numbers pointed out their budget friendly prices and assured me of their low maintenance lifestyle.

    Then I saw her. No. I heard her first.. her whispering voice that grew into a mesmerizing rustle as the wind picked up around me. I turned and she swayed alluringly in the breeze as her siren call drew me to her.

    She spoke her name, "Phyllostachys atrovaginata." I nodded warily at first. "But my friends call me "Incense,`" she continued.

    PAUSE.

    So, does anyone out there have an Incense Bamboo? I`ve read that she may emit a frangrance when it`s hot or when one rubs her culms. This Summer, I did notice a very pleasant sweetish fragrance coming from my bamboo, but at first, I thought it was from some plant that my neighbours were growing. But now I think it`s from the Incense Bamboo. Feedback anyone?
     
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  2. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    I have also bought some black bamboo. They are bloody expensive, but I've been coveting them for some time, and finally weakened and submitted to my baser instincts and splurged!!! Oh it felt so good! I'll be posting some pics soon!!

    hmmm, I wonder how soon will my black bamboo's culms turn black. I've heard the older they get the darker they become.
     
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  3. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    I share your dark forbidden love of bamboo.

    In my experience, Phyllostachys nigra stems deepen in color when they're exposed to sunlight. Is your plant in a sunny spot? Age is also a factor, so you may need to wait until next year to see the real color of the plant. But if you're not seeing any darkening of the stems at all, you might need to consider whether you've been sold the wrong plant. Or perhaps your plant is a strain like 'Bory' that has somewhat variable stem coloration?

    Posting pics would help.
     
  4. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    Help my sick bamboo!

    Someone please help identify what is afflicting my beloved incense bamboo!!
     

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  5. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    Baby bamboo grove

    My growing bamboo grove...
     

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  6. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    controlling my wild girl

    Has anyone dug a trough to control running bamboo? This is my first time, so any feedback would be appreciated.
     

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  7. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    My black bamboo

    So what I find confusing about the description on the tag is that it says that it's a slow grower but establishes quickly through runners. Huh????
     

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  8. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    Wonderful! Bamboos come in so many varieties, almost anyone can plant them. I have a friend who, fearing that his dwarf runner bamboo might be a potential thug [takes over & mugs anything in its way] cut the bottom out of a galvanized metal trashcan, buried it, and panted his bamboo inside it. Seems to work for him!
    What I'd like to know is, what bamboo can I plant to harvest shoots and eat them? "Canned" shoots just aren't the same. I love multi-purpose plants, and bamboo makes great live screening, produces music in the slightest breeze, has edible shoots, and in some kinds canes can be cut & drief to make screening or whatever.
    Any info on edible bamboo?
     
  9. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    Hello Ann B.

    I totally agree on both the aesthetic and utilitarian benefits of growing bamboo!! I've decided that even if my running bamboo starts to gallop, I'll eat the shoots and dig up the runners to put in pots and give them away or sell them (they are so expensive to buy!!)

    As for edible shoots, I believe that all bamboo shoots are edible but some are more palatable than others (some apparently can be quite bitter). The first bamboo I bought was the incense bamboo as it is said to have one of the best tasting shoots (not bitter at all), plus it has the added bonus of emitting a fragrance from its culms on a hot day (as you may have read in my first post.. I'm pretty convinced that mystery scent is coming from her!).

    Since my incense bamboo grove is still quite young, I have not harvested any shoots yet. However, come next Spring, I'm gonna do so.

    Oh, and I so know what you mean about canned bamboo (which personally I find the smell quite repulsive), and fresh bamboo shoots are so good!!

    Thanks for the feedback re. controlling bamboo! Yes, I have heard that some people use galv. metal barriers. I opted for the open trough as I thought that if any bamboo runner try to sneak across, I can see it and then cut it to pot or if a shoot appears there, I'll eat it!

    Thanks Kaspian for your feedback re. black bamboo. Yes, I hear that there are even different kinds of black bamboo. but my plant tag only says black bamboo and doesn't give me more info. it also gives the scientific name : phyllostachys nigra (which sounds very much llike a direct translation to "black bamboo"!)

    After reading your post, I went to peer at my bambi black and do see one or two young culms that are darker. I guess I'll have to be patient and see what happens next year!!
     
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  10. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    Stressed bamboo

    So in my efforts to extend my privacy screen "fast and furious" style, I dug up another 2 portions of another bamboo plant I have growing somewhere else to reside with my Incense girl. I did this a few weeks ago. I understand that any transplanted plant will suffer a certain amount of stress, but I'm biting my fingernails down to nubs worrying about this bamboo: Is this boy just sulking? Have I divided enough rootball to culms ratio??

    As you can see in the pic below, the leaves are folding in... a sign of stress, right? I do notice that when it's not as sunny, they do open up. I have laid a soaking hose down to ensure he's getting enough water.

    Perhaps, its been the unseasonally dry and sunny Fall we've been having here in our part of Canada. But I think Fall is finally here and with the rain and cooler temps happening over the last few days, I hope my new boy survives.

    I know worse case scenario, they die back and new shoots will takes their place, but this particular portion of my bamboo grove is where I need immediate screening off as if they do die off, it'll leave a gaping hole and a perfect view right into my neighbours'.

    Wish me luck!! I may have to get some tibetian prayer bells to hang around my bamboo grove and plead spiritual intervention here!!
     

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  11. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    Thank you, Eve! Don't worry! Plants do sulk at times, but it's nothing personal - often they're responding to some internal clock rather than what we've done. It is fall, after all. Give your boy a chance, and he'll do you proud in the spring, I'll bet!
     
  12. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Eve, it does look like this plant in the last photo is suffering from water stress while waiting for the root structure to recover. Since the leaves are opening up again when it's not so sunny, there evidently are some healthy and functional roots. So the plant(s) will, in the long run, be fine.

    Now you could either grit your teeth and wait this out, or try to relieve some of the pressure on the roots by trimming back the stems that appear most affected by water stress. Some people do this whenever they move bamboo around -- I tend to just let the plant tough it out, and clear out the dead wood afterward.

    Meanwhile, take care not to OVERwater. Keeping the soil evenly moist is enough. The roots are doing the best they can and won't appreciate being constantly soaked. If you can't resist the urge to pamper, then mist the foliage a couple of times a day to keep the leaves happy.

    Oh, and by the way ... I think the preferred species for edible shoots is Phyllostachys dulcis (the species name means "sweet").
     
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  13. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    Hello Kaspian,

    Thank you for the info. re. my stressed bamboo. It's really nice to have some moral support even from afar! I think I will do as you suggest and let my sulking boy tough it out... that may make a man out of him (worthy of my Incense girl).

    Thankfully, the rains have come, so Mother Nature is helping me with the humidity factor as with the watering.

    Re. over-watering, I do hear that different bamboo have different needs and tolerance. I will have to research again about Incense Bamboo. As for "sulking boy" , I can't recall what kind of bamboo he is (lost the tag). I think he is a Naked bamboo? hmmm.

    oh, interesting. I shall go read up on Phyllostachys dulcis. thanks.

    Incidentally, Kaspian. What types of bamboo are you growing?
     
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  14. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    Bamboo ID???

    So now I'm wondering how does one identify a specific type of bamboo? I have my "sulking boy" whose tag I lost and its driving me mad not knowing who he really is. As mentioned in my prevoius post, I suspect that he may be "Naked Bamboo". Any thoughts out there on how bamboo ID-ing is done?
     
  15. Coastal

    Coastal Active Member

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    I too have been inflicted with the bamboo bug....So far this year I have dug and moved half of a 1 acre grove to my place, and have to go get the other half acre soon. Lots of large and nice varieties!

    As for ID, I find the best way is to get a couple books on bamboo. I really recommend getting a couple so you can read both authors descriptions and positively ID the bamboo.
     
  16. Eve von Paradis

    Eve von Paradis Active Member

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    Hello Coastal,

    Holy cow!! Are you digging up all this bamboo yourself???? How's the transplanting going?

    Do any of your bamboo have weird markings on them ... bug bites or some kinda fungus or virus thing (see my earlier post titled, sick bamboo).

    My bamboo is dropping quite a bit of leaves now. I just hope they survive the transplanting!! gulp!!!
     
  17. Coastal

    Coastal Active Member

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    The transplanting is a long process, I have brought so far at least 10-12 crane truck loads of bamboo, each truck load is a 17'x8' bin stacked as high as they will go.

    I only had 2-3 die though....we did pretty good!

    A lot of bamboo has spider mite damage, yellow spots on the leaves where they've chewed. When we had hot weather a lot of mine looked like yours with the curled leaves too, a heavy soaking in water and they would usually uncurl over night.
     
  18. bambooman

    bambooman Member

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    Hi Bambooman here, I have the name you are looking for it's Phyllostachys Nuda or nude sheath bamboo, I believe it's hardy to -20 degrees f. It's a very beautiful bamboo. You will definetly enjoy this one. Pretty similar to Bisetti or Atrovaginata. I too have a love affair with the magic plants. 19 different species so far and still going. I want all varieties that will grow in KY Zone 6a. I still have a long way to go but I am obscessed with this magnificent and very useful plant. They are still coming up with new products everyday made from bamboo. Isn't it amazing how a plant with so many uses can get such a bad reputation, mind boggling. But not for me I live outside of the box. I always tell people that it can't outrun my shovel. It's just so hard for me to believe that some people can't live without it and some people want nothing to do with it. This plant has and could continue to change the world if people would stop being so stubborn. Thanks for reading.
     
  19. skandy

    skandy Member

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    Re: Help my sick bamboo!

    This looks very much like the "mite" that has infested our black bamboo hedge for the past 3-4 years. The solution was to strip all the old leaves before the new ones grow in so as not to keep re-infesting new growth. The hedge looks horribly bare right now but the new green shoots are appearing in great abundance. As they fill out we will watch closely and any that have mites will be removed. Fertilizer and water should aid recovery. In August we will apply a predator spider which will continue to munch on anything that appears. This was all on the advice of a horticulturist friend. Ted
     
  20. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    I like my bamboos. But I do watch the P nigra like a hawk. Right now, I have a queue of people who wants divisions, so, I do allow rampant rhizomes to establish for a year or two before digging them out to give away. Otherwise, I am an avid "trencher". The only one that I wish would live up to it's reputation of a spreader is the gorgeous P vivax Aurecaulis. What a beauty! I have an even longer queue of people wanting a division of this, but it is simply not spreading fast enough to meet the demands.

    The one bamboo that I will never let loose in my garden is P aurea. It is truely invasive and a trouble maker.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  21. EvevonParadis

    EvevonParadis Member

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    Hi Weekend Gardener.

    What a pleasant surprise to get some activity on this thread! It sounds like you have a lot of bamboo! Do you grow your different types of bamboo in separate groves or do you let them mingle? Incidentally does your bamboo have a spider mite problem? I haven't addressed mine and wonder if the bamboo will eventually die or does it just live with all the battle scars that the spider mites inflict on them?
     

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