Black bamboo: I am trying to get thicker stalks

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by breeze1950, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. breeze1950

    breeze1950 Member

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    Someone told me that in order to get thicker stalks, I need to fertilize. I have been "culling" my bamboo for several years and have gotten a few thicker stalks although now I am having trouble reaching the ones futher towards the center. Just can't get the handle of the saw through the hardened stalks!

    My original question though is, what type of fertilizer to encourage thicker stalks?

    And a secondary question is, any suggestions on cutting those stalks or should I just cut more to get to the center?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Grow the plant well to get bigger culms. Lawn fertilizer can be used for bamboo, liberal watering and mulching will also encourage growth. The more inputs, the more growth. Bamboos like moisture and fertility, although with all fertilizing there has to be a point where you have applied as much as it will be able to use at one time and any above that will be wasted or could even have toxic effects. With most garden plants here nitrogen is the main nutrient that often needs to be supplemented, but in some instances some kinds may need others. With bamboo plants in Seattle area gardens it often appears that the situation is too dry (in summer, when they grow) and infertile for lush, rich green growth and appearance. (Many here are also infested with bamboo mites, producing a paler aspect overall even where otherwise a good green, due to the heavy pale blotching that results from the feeding of the mites). Most impressive plantings tend to be located near surface water, where soil is naturally moist and fertile.
     
  3. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Agree with Ron, but also young bamboo plants respond well to a lot of water in the first 12 months...


    Ed
     
  4. jacklynch

    jacklynch Member

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    My black bamboo (and most of the others here) respond to several things:
    1)Wood chips-contact a tree trimmer (asplundh) they will dump a load for free- mulch the bamboo 6 to 12 inches deep and a few feet beyond the drip line.
    2)Grass, straw,shredded paper-lawnmower trimmings just get roughly broadcast among the culms.
    3) Bonemeal,bloodmeal, old bones, roadkill, fish fertilizer. the fish fertilizer and bonemeal and bloodmeal is sometimes available free from your local household hazardous waste collection facility, under the right conditions. Otherwise don't spend money to purchase it new. Gypsum helps too---bust up old gypsum board scraps broadcast and water, then mulch with organics.
    4)Fertilizers-ammonium sulphate, slow release lawn or garden(Osmocoat, ) Old left over lawnand garden ferts. I usually mulch, then fertilize and later in the summer will fertilize after lawnmower clippings are broadcast.

    Mulch a lot and often. You will be surprised how damp the soil will remain

    If you establish a large,vigorous root mass, the bamboo can grow big.
     
  5. breeze1950

    breeze1950 Member

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    Thanks for those suggestions. I realize I have to keep the moisture in; quite frankly, I rarely watered. I'm reluctant to mulch too heavily for fear that the bamboo will jump my barrier which is only about 2" above the soil line. But I will water more often through the summer, feed and mulch. The only thing I was doing was cutting down the skinniest stalks. As it is, I have gotten a few that are 1" diameter.
     
  6. jacklynch

    jacklynch Member

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    watch carefully for the bamboo to "put a leg over" your barrier. my neighbor had a rizome
    get away and shortly found a sprout had come up through the liner in his pond. (I should have taken a picture)

    you may be able to mound up your mulch---heavy in the middle and light toward the edges

    if your lower branches are trimmed off, the mulch can be flung, and piles up nicely.
     
  7. breeze1950

    breeze1950 Member

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    The bamboo has already sneaked out....
     
  8. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe cut it off and make another plant for a swap!! I'm only familiar with clumping bamboo, not running so you may not be able to do that...

    Ed
     
  9. breeze1950

    breeze1950 Member

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    good idea but black bamboo is more well behaved than other bamboos. But I would suggest to anyone that if they are making a bamboo barrier against a retaining wall, they should curl the barrier ALL THE WAY AROUND AGAINST THE WALL! My baby creeped out between the wall and the barrier and set up shop about 3 ft away. Luckily, I was thinking of extending in that direction anyway, however if I don't redig soon, I imagine that it will gradually start making a break in other directions since she is loose and out of the corral at the moment.
     
  10. jacklynch

    jacklynch Member

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    yup!! Trust, but verify

    Bamboo wants to act smarter, like cats
     

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