Planting black bamboo

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by Keyzer, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. Keyzer

    Keyzer Member

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    A friend is offering me some free black bamboo. After reading some threads, I am a little anxious. What is the best way to plant and what barrier material is the best to use for containment? If I contain it will it eventually burn itself out? What are some creative ways people have staked it? I hear it has potential to fall over. I also love the look of it and the contrast of black canes and green leaves!
     
  2. Chloris

    Chloris Member

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    I am in the process of having black bamboo removed. It is lovely and exotic, but I didn't plant it with a barrier and it's beginning to run. Yikes! My advice is to contain it with a heavy duty poly barrier that is least 3-4 feet deep. Give it a large space to expand. I had mine in pots for a few years, but it started to strangle itself. If you're willing to divide it and re-pot every few years, you might be wise to keep it confined to a pot. It is a lovely plant, but can get carried away in the ground. Mine is about 25 feet high and the culms are as large as timber bamboo. I'm donating it to a local park, but may keep a small clump for a pot where it will behave itself.
     
  3. Keyzer

    Keyzer Member

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    Hi Chloris,
    Thanks for your advice! I still haven't decided if I will plant in the ground or not. I have looked for a poly barrier, but have not located one that is deep enough. Do you happen to know where to find such a thing?
     
  4. Chloris

    Chloris Member

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    I read in a past thread that you can get a barrier called "deeproot" barrier from Northwest Landscape and Stone Supply in Vancouver, or from Ray at Tropic to Tropic in Ladner. Google both suppliers and you should find their websites. Get as deep a barrier as possible. Good luck!
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes: it is a running bamboo that like others may really take off on some sites. And it bends right over in the rain, making it a nuisance near access routes.
     
  6. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    But it is beautiful! But I do agree with Ron - you need to research it a bit further to see if bamboo is really for you. It is not a "grow it and leave it alone" type of plant - it needs a bit of attention. (but once the culms thicken, they do not flop over with rain as easily as Ron ssuggested - snow is another matter altogether!)

    If you want to see what it looks like, there is a nice grove at the Sun Yat Sun garden. There is also a growth of what I assume to be Phyllostachys vivax at the Queen Elizabeth park, growing near one of the walls of the old quarry. Yes, Ray Mattei does supply the appropriate barrier, as does North West Landscape Supplies (Byrne Road, in Burnaby). Those barriers need to be properly installed. Even after installation, keep up a patrol every spring and fall and cut off and remove any rhizomes that escape. (Those rhizomes will rise above the barrier and then dive down into the soil again, just like dophins do in the sea!). If you catch these rhizomes early enough, it's easy to just cut it off from the parent plant and pull it out.

    I am using part barrier and part trenching. There are barriers that run parallel to each other. I have an 18 inch trench guarding the entrances to the space in between. The barriers are effective in directing the rhizomes to these "gateways". I look for them and remove them - usually In May, and then again in September every year.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    My experience is that, as noted by others Phyllostachys nigra is especially apt to reach the nearly horizontal on the outside of the clump when weighed down by rain. I sometimes cut still young and attractive (but hardened) outside culms out of my 'Bory' due to these falling into plantings and lawn in front, making it impossible to get into the space so taken.

    Hardy clumping bamboos can be used in place of runners where desired (and climate permits), the most familiar species can be very beautiful. Garden centers here have good assortments of these now, thanks to bamboo enthusiasts. Some years ago they were almost unavailable. Many are forest species requiring shade, but a few are sun tolerant. I have gotten great growth out of Fargesia robusta on a clay soil, above a pond in Island County, WA. After a small number of years it has already made a dramatic specimen.
     
  8. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ron B,
    Any reports of Fargesia nitida flowering in your area?

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, I've seen multiple specimens go to flowers and deteriorate - including several of my own.
     

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