Heavenly Bamboo looks dead after snow storm in Vancouver

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by OIC Vancouver, Mar 10, 2022.

  1. OIC Vancouver

    OIC Vancouver New Member

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    Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina Domestica) looks dead (brown, no leaves, no spring buds) since the colder than usual Winter 2022 and the last storm storm that hit Vancouver this year. Will it come back or sprout new shoots?
     
  2. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Only time will tell; don't give up hope too quickly. It may be too early to expect to see spring buds so you can't draw any conclusions. Nandina domestica is reportedly hardy to Zone 9 and Vancouver is Zone 8a to 8b. Be patient.
     
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  3. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I'm surprised to read that - it's so commonly planted in Vancouver and looks so good, or maybe I haven't realized that it's just in the West End where I'm seeing it. The ones in the West End still had leaves and beautiful displays of fruits from last year last time I paid attention. I'll try to remember to visit some.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    These do freeze back during sharper local winters. Also, they mildew - I recommend replacement with something else. All the more so because you have discovered your site is one where periodic spoiling of these by cold will occur.
     
  5. OIC Vancouver

    OIC Vancouver New Member

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    Actually these same plants were happy all through two previous winters and are located next to the house facing south but
    shared from the direct sun through cedar branches. I think that using the 'wait a see' approach appeals to me best for the present.
     
  6. devon1149

    devon1149 Member

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    OIC Vancouver, I hope you don't mind me adding to your thread. My previously indestructible Nandia emerged from winter with some green leaves but everything else dead looking. Should I cut them to the ground or leave them and hope they regain their lushness?
     

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  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Two years is not much of a trial. And apparently the characteristics of the planting site did not spare them either - the deciding factor remains that they did in fact get hit by cold there last month. So, you can expect more of same in future. With how often this happens being unpredictable - individual winters with significant lows can be decades apart or they can come in clusters.
     
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  8. devon1149

    devon1149 Member

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    Thanks for the reply, Ron. I may have missed something but I'm not sure what you mean about two years not being much of a trial. I have 7 nandina that were planted 12 years ago and have always been very healthy. I understand climate change and unpredictable weather. I just wanted to know whether I should hard prune them.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You mentioned two previous winters, since there was nothing remarkable about them that I am recalling I thought you were indicating that was how long the planting had been present. And I have heard or read other individuals state that short term survival of various kinds of plants had demonstrated long term hardiness of them many times. So, coming from that background experience I thought you were saying that because they had not frozen back in the two previous years it had been shown that they were proven on your site. Anyway, if the root crowns are still live new tops will appear this summer (a white berried form I had going at a friend's place in Island County, Washington did not come back from the roots after freezing to the ground one time - apparently this species does sometimes freeze out entirely in our region. Despite proximity of salt water, which the planting site for the white berried plant had minutes away by car in two directions).
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2022
  10. devon1149

    devon1149 Member

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    Ah, I understand the confusion - I'm not the OP. Thanks for the info.
     
  11. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I said I'd check out the ones near me. These are the nicest-looking, but all the ones I'm seeing look better than what people are asking about here.
    Nandina-domestica_ChilcoNelson_Cutler_20220313_130508.jpg Nandina-domestica_ChilcoNelson_Cutler_20220313_130532.jpg
     
  12. OIC Vancouver

    OIC Vancouver New Member

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    This is the same situation as i was observing and asking for help with. Update: i cut them not to the ground but with only one 'joint' left from which a sprouting my happen -- and it did! They were a meter tall fully grown in height; now they are two feet tall and i actually like them better more compact. And so happen to see their maroon leaves now in September.
     
  13. OIC Vancouver

    OIC Vancouver New Member

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    You may be right, but leaving it 'as is' was not a pretty sight next to the front entrance of the house. Pruned deeply with only one spot on each branch that they might re-sprout from and they did; are now about 2' high with marvelous maroon leaves. Next year if it happens again, i am going to try to wait it out as you suggest and just see what happens.
     
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  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Apart from occasional freezing back and rather frequent foliage mildew another problem with these that has started getting recurring mention these days is that some species of native songbirds are actually killed by episodally gorging on the berries. Cedar waxwings for instance. Otherwise the plant is also disliked in eastern North America for seeding out into the wild. But as with various other popular decorative plants of east Asian origin this behavior is not routine here on the Pacific side of the continet with our reverse annual precipitation pattern (dry summer, wet winter vs. wet summer, dry winter - the annual rainfall peaks of Seattle and Miami are exactly opposite of one another).
     
  15. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The lower summer heat index (in particular, total degree days above 30°C) on the west coast compared to the eastern USA will also make a major difference; the berries may not be ripening to germinable maturity, and unripened wood will be more susceptible to winter freeze damage.
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  17. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    "will also" - i.e., additional to the rainfall pattern point you noted (which I agree is important). Low summer temperature certainly affects its performance in Britain; in the south it rarely fruits (Bean: 'its flowers are not very showy, nor are its fruits freely produced'); in the north where I am, it can barely be grown at all, despite winter minima well above those in much of its native range (and also adequate summer rainfall, too).

    RBG Edinburgh has just a single specimen (cultivar 'Richmond') in their experimental garden (catalogue listing), and none at all in their satellite gardens in Logan or Benmore, which both have very warm winters and high summer rainfall, but low summer heat. Clearly not a species that can cope with cool summer oceanic climates.
     
  18. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Most of lowland California is quite hot in summer. Even within much of the redwood area. Otherwise it is common for Pacific coastal North American areas particularly where human populations have concentrated to not be as cool in summer as in Britain and Ireland. And as elsewhere the climate here is changing - Seattle just had the driest summer on record.
     

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