How tall?

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by cocobolo, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. cocobolo

    cocobolo Active Member

    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ruxton Island, B.C., Canada
    Can anyone tell me how tall could I expect arrow bamboos to grow in the southern gulf island area of B.C.?
    I did ask the nursery owner where the plants came from, and it seems that there are too many variables to guess really well.
    I don't know how old the plants are. I have two, both in 5 gallon pots at the moment.
    I would say the plants were about 5 1/2' tall when I got them in April. The new shoots have gone over 6' and are now starting to leaf out.
    Do they stop growing up when the leaves open?
    I plan on using them as part of my windbreak at the north end of the garden.
     
  2. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Comox, Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada
    All my bamboos shoots seem to stop growing taller once the leaves have opened. Height is really all over the place and highly dependant on your treatment of them and local conditions. I don't think anyone can say with any certainty, just look up the maximum listed height and then consider that under ideal conditions and see what you get. That's about all you can really do.

    I sort of categorize mine as ground cover, hedge sized, large and timber sized and don't worry too much about actual height.

    A lot depends on how much energy the plant can store up for next springs shoots (actually *everything* depends on that) so if you cater to the needs of the plant it will do it's best next spring and give you an idea.

    We planted a Ph. Nigra last August from I guess about a 5 gallon pot, it wasn't particularly root bound and the tallest shoot was about 4 feet high and skinnier than a pencil. We didn't have any expectations about it and it totally surprised us this year by throwing out 7 shoots really late in the spring that went to over 12 feet high. It went from a small plant to architecture.

    On the flip side we planted a clumper from a similar sized pot at the same time, spoiled it as well and it put out shoots in March this year which all froze off and died due to the insanely cold and record breakingly cold spring we had this year, we thought it was just going to skip a season after that but it put out a few shoots in early July and one of them is now about 6 feet high so you never really know what you're going to get.
     
  3. cocobolo

    cocobolo Active Member

    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ruxton Island, B.C., Canada
    Hi JCardina:
    I'm not concerned how tall they grow, more curious than anything.
    Interesting about your P. Nigra. The goat store at Coombs had lots of them last year, and they were really tall. I would say 14' and up. In 5 gallon pots I think.
    I hear you about that awful spring weather. For awhile there nothing was growing here.
    Then a few days of sun and the garden went insane. Just hope we don't get a repeat of that next year.
    Question for you, do you fertilize your bamboo?
     
  4. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Comox, Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada

    Coombs country market! We were just there on Canada day, my first visit in years. I saw those black bamboos, they were neglected and weren't watered and the leaves were yellowing and falling off or curled badly.

    I use slow release lawn food on the bamboos now because they are all relatively young but I will quit feeding them in future years. About a half a cup per month for the 1 gallon sizes and more accordingly for the bigger ones.
     
  5. cocobolo

    cocobolo Active Member

    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ruxton Island, B.C., Canada
    That's a shame about the black bamboo. They were in great condition last year.
    I will pick up some lawn food and try that. Anything will help here with the rather poor soil. Plus I am willing to do whatever work is necessary to improve the soil generally.
    I have discovered that there is some pretty decent soil at the bottom of a shallow pond area here. It has water in it during the wintertime, but dries out from about June on. So I think I will get a few wheelbarrow loads while the getting is good.
     
  6. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Comox, Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada
    Most bamboo growers I've talked to avoid feeding their bamboo anything but manure, but I'm impatient. Try it in small doses to be safe and make sure it's not weed and feed variety. Try to get the lower concentration slow release stuff to be safe. It *is* possible to kill your bamboo with that stuff, I've heard horror stories.
     
  7. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    Bamboos are grasses, and grasses in general seem to love nitrogen -- but then again they seem to love anything, including my boys and their friends peeing off the deck on them.

    My fertilizer of choice (as noted in another thread) is a mix of seaweed extract and fish emulsion. I apply this liberally in spring as new growth is commencing, then sort of dribble weaker and weaker solutions of the same as the season progresses. In the fall, if I fertilize at all, I just use the seaweed extract alone to promote strong root development.

    You really see the results of this loving attention NEXT year, as your modest little clump suddenly becomes an architectural presence in the garden. It's very gratifying.
     
  8. cocobolo

    cocobolo Active Member

    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ruxton Island, B.C., Canada
    Which means then, at the moment, not much fertilizing would be needed. I see that the few plants I do have, appear to have been leafing out for several weeks already, and stopped growing taller.

    Everything looks pretty decent, so now we wait and see what the winter and next spring will yield.
     
  9. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    Yeah, this is part of their natural annual cycle. At a certain point, most bamboos stop producing new stem and leaf growth and divert all their energy to extending the root system and storing food for next year's growth. Then when soil temps drop in late fall, they become more or less dormant until spring. They may shed leaves, or the leaves may turn beige or tan, or entire stems may appear dead -- but the plant will still retain an architectural beauty right through the winter.

    All is well.
     
  10. cocobolo

    cocobolo Active Member

    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ruxton Island, B.C., Canada
    Hi kaspian:
    Well, we have been minus our internet for two months courtesy of our server, back up now. We went to Saltspring in mid September and picked up loads more bamboo from Doug at the Bamboo Ranch. On another thread I just read that apparently the Ranch has a problem with mites. So I am rather frantically trying to find out about them.
    We did go up to Coombs a little while ago, and there was only a single P. nigra there, not in very good shape. Doug has (I think) 4 different P. nigras, although I didn't get any. By the time we got to that section, our van was full. Did get several different phyllostachys though. Can't wait until we see what next spring yields.
     

Share This Page