Presentation on theme: "Growing Bamboo Selecting, Planting and Caring LeBeau Bamboo Nursery In Southern Oregon."— Presentation transcript:
Growing Bamboo Selecting, Planting and Caring LeBeau Bamboo Nursery In Southern Oregon
Why Use Bamboo in the Landscape? There are well over a thousand species of bamboo worldwide. Hundreds of those species grow in Southern Oregon and provide a wide variety of traits. Bamboos vary in the colors of their culms, styles of leaves, habit, and size. Bamboo species also vary in their spread - runners and clumpers.
Multiple Cane Colors and Patterns Left to right: Phyllostachys bambusoides Castillon Inversa, Phyllostachys vivax Aureocaulis, Phyllostachys nigra
Leaf Sizes, Colors, and Variegation Sasa kurilensis ShimofuriThree species with various leaf sizes and colors
Bamboo Can Be Used In Many Situations With so many different characteristics across so many different species and varieties, bamboo can be a central part of a landscape in many different situations and environments. Growing beautiful bamboo requires the selection of the correct variety. Selecting the wrong variety usually yields an unhealthy plant, but can also result in a (quickly) disappearing yard.
Getting Started - Plant Background Before getting started with bamboo, it’s important to recognize that it grows differently from most other woody plants. A grove of bamboo is actually a single plant, with each cane connected through an underground network of rhizomes. The older canes pool their resources to generate new growth.
Bamboo Structure Diagram showing the structure of a leptomorph rhizome. Sections of rhizome connect each cane to the others and allow for resource sharing. Each node has one bud which can either produce a new rhizome or shoot. Shoots are a collection of nodes with the tissue between expanding to create upward growth. A new shoot reaches its maximum height in about a month and will never increase its height again. These rhizomes can grow ten feet or more per year and send up new shoots at any point. Obviously, plants with this structure can spread quite quickly. However, not all bamboo species have leptomorph rhizomes.
Bamboo Structure This structure is referred to as a pachymorph rhizome. A pachymorph rhizome produces a single shoot at the tip instead of multiple shoots along its entire length, like a leptomorph rhizome. Each rhizome can still produce multiple rhizomes.
Bamboo Structure “Clumping bamboo” refers to species that have pachymorph rhizomes with short necks. Some species which, although they have a pachymorph structure, are still runners because the rhizome neck is elongated.
Getting Started - Determine Use The second step in selecting the right species is determining what you will use bamboo for in your garden. - The most common use for bamboo is to create a fast-growing privacy hedge. - Large groves add a tropical look to the landscape. - Smaller plants make excellent garden specimens.
Bamboo Privacy Hedge Chusquea culeou (five plants in a row)
Large Groves Phyllostachys vivax grove, about 30 feet tall after five year’s growth
Specimens in Landscapes Fargesia robustaFargesia sp. Jiuzhaigou 1
Getting Started - Determine Environment Each species of bamboo thrives under different conditions. The primary factors to consider: - How much sun, and at what times, does the location get? - Is the soil loose or compacted? - Is the area watered often? Is there seasonal high groundwater? - What is nearby, such as other plants or buildings, that you might want to keep visible or hide?
Getting Started - Plant Characteristics Because of the wide variety of species, you can decide what traits you want your bamboo plant to have. - Maximum height: do you want to block a neighbor’s two story house, or block a fence and still let light in? - Spread: is there space for a runner or do you need a clumper? - Habit: some plants are upright while others are weeping and flowy. - Branching: leaves all the way to the ground may be necessary for a hedge, but having canes exposed might look better.
Getting Started - Immediacy vs. Budget Many people are drawn to bamboo because of its fast establishment. Most species will reach maturity (even timber bamboos) in about ten years from a small plant. “If one man can carry the plant, it will take ten years to establish a grove. If it takes ten men carry the plant, it will take one year.” To balance patience vs. budget you can play with starting size and spacing between plants.
Getting Started - Immediacy vs. Budget Sample one, two and five gallon containers of bamboo. Generally, the one gallon plant will take four years to reach ten + feet in height. The two gallon plant will take two or three years to reach ten + feet in height. The five gallon plant will take one year to reach ten + feet in height.
Getting Started - Immediacy vs. Budget Ten and fifteen gallon Phyllostachys nigra plants
Getting Started - Immediacy vs. Budget 25 foot tall Phyllostachys vivax plant ready to start an instant grove.
Getting Started - Selecting The Variety The best way to begin selecting a bamboo variety is to view mature groves together. You can also search through various species online. The American Bamboo Society (www.bamboo.org) has a species list which is searchable by trait. Our website (www.lebeaubamboo.com) lists many species that we’ve found to grow well in Southern Oregon with descriptions and pictures.
Getting Started - Purchasing The best plants can be found at specialty nurseries, but the prices are usually a little higher. Healthy plants usually have multiple canes, some which are new since the division (these won’t have dead portions of branches). Plants should also have developed roots around the edge of the pot, but they also shouldn’t be too root bound.
Getting Started - Site Preparation Dig holes several inches deeper and about twice the width of the container. Digging the hole in a larger diameter will encourage faster growth and coverage if a hedge is desired. This is the best time to decide which containment methods you might need (if you have a running species).
Getting Started - Containing Runners Some natural barriers will contain bamboo, such as creeks. Rhizomes will rot in very wet conditions and so cannot cross a body of water. Frequently used gravel driveways will contain non- timber bamboos, but pavement or sidewalks will not. Unless you have the space and energy to dig up plants around the edges of the the grove, runners should be contained using one of several methods.
Getting Started - Containing Runners To some extent, dry land will also contain runners. If some areas are well watered while others are not, bamboos will spread into the watered areas instead of the dry. However, because of the resource sharing through rhizomes, the plant will be able to send water into the less desirable areas to allow for growth. You need to have access to the dry areas to severe and remove the rhizomes that spread in those directions.
Getting Started - Containing Runners The best containment method is plastic barrier. Barrier is 30 inches in height and is buried 28 inches into the ground. The shallow rhizomes hit the barrier and follow its length, similar to plants in a pot. Rhizomes will not go below the barrier except in very loose soil.
Getting Started - Containing Runners Two inches are left above ground to help prevent rhizomes from escaping over the top. Twice per year the barrier needs to be checked for cracks or rhizomes going over the top.
Getting Started - Containing Runners Not enough barrier was left on top. A clipped rhizome that had crossed the barrier.
Getting Started - Containing Runners A trench 8-10 inches deep can be used in place of plastic barrier. The rhizomes stay near the surface unless they hit something solid, such as barrier, which can cause them to dive deeper. Therefore, 28 inches is needed for the barrier.
Getting Started - Containing Runners Inspect the trench in the fall for rhizomes which have crossed through. Cut the rhizome and remove the portion that has gone past the trench. Cut rhizomes are generally easy to pull out if they aren’t too old.
Getting Started - Containing Runners Another method of controlling spread is keeping bamboo in containers. Containers allow the plants to be moved later if necessary. Keeping containers about four feet apart will create an effective privacy screen. If the containers are shorter than 28 inches, rhizomes might escape through drainage holes. Keep the containers on wood or concrete that won’t allow the rhizomes to find their way underground.
Getting Started - Containing Runners Bamboo in containers need to be potted into larger containers every two or three years to keep from getting too root bound. If they are already in the largest size available, the plants can be cut in half with one piece put back into the original container. Make divisions in spring before any shoots begin to emerge (often April or May is the best time). Mainly, bamboo needs to grow into new soil to remain healthy.
Getting Started - Planting Bamboo Back to planting bamboo... Add several inches of compost to the bottom of the hole and remove the bamboo from the container. Do not spear or separate the root ball like most plants, instead place the plant in the ground as-is.
Getting Started - Planting Bamboo Fill the rest of the hole with compost or good soil and add a layer of mulch onto the surrounding area. Soak the ground and apply fertilizer to encourage root growth. Some taller plants may need support to prevent the plant from falling over in high winds or under snow. The canes can be tied to posts, or if there are enough canes they can be tied to each other.
Getting Started - Planting Bamboo
Continued Care - Watering Bamboo plants in the ground usually need about two inches of water per week during the growing season. Watering more frequently, every few days at about three inches per week, will cause plants to grow faster. Plants in containers need to be watered much more frequently, usually every other day during the growing season and sometimes every day during hot spells.
Continued Care - Mulch and Fertilizer Bamboo plants tend to be self-mulching once established. They drop a fair number of leaves throughout the year that compost down and add nutrients back to the soil. It’s important to mulch plants with leaves or loose compost heavily during the first few years, especially in the fall. Bamboo in the ground enjoy fertilizer but don’t require it. Potted plants should be fertilized with slow release pellets two or three times a year starting in March.
Continued Care - Mulch and Fertilizer Phyllostachys humilis which will now mulch itself.
Continued Care - Thinning Regular thinning is important, especially on running bamboos. Because canes don’t continue to grow after their initial shooting stage, the older canes will be small while the new canes are larger. The older, smaller canes will be outcompeted for light and will start to die at some point. Canes on most species live for about seven years, although the canes of Chusquea culeou live for 30 or more years.
Continued Care - Thinning Most bamboo species should be thinned in July or August, after the new shoots have completed their growth and have leafed out. The general rule is that each cane should get light. If the cane gets any significant amount of light, leave it. If it gets significantly less light than other canes then it should be removed. Cut canes as close to the ground as possible and make the cut as flat as possible. Don’t leave sharp points that people might fall on!
Continued Care - Thinning Regular thinning will increase a grove’s vigour and encourage it to produce larger shoots. However, cutting too many canes in one season will lower the grove’s ability to produce strong growth the next season. Generally, avoid cutting more than a fourth of the canes in a year. Timber-sized bamboo plants are generally healthiest when you can walk between canes easily.
Continued Care - Thinning Phyllostachys vivax
Bamboo Seeds Bamboo plants usually flower infrequently, sometimes only every 120 years. Within a few years, every plant of a particular species around the world flowers at the same time. After setting seed, plants will often die. Some species will recover within a few years. Occasional sporadic flowering can occur but usually poses no threat to the plant nor produces viable seed. Thus, bamboo seed is usually rare and hard to find.
Bamboo Seeds Bamboo seeds have the potential for new varients, such as new color patterns or potential plant size. However, varieties that flower usually produce seeds which revert to the regular species. Bamboo seed usually takes a month or more to germinate (some species taking up to six months). Seeds usually don’t store for very long and within a year often lose about half their original viability.
Seed Packets Chusquea culeou - a clumping bamboo native to the Americas - recently flowered and produced viable seed. We have packets with about ten seeds in them for you, ten seeds should produce several plants. C. culeou tolerates full sun, rare for hardy clumpers. Chusquea culeou’s new shoots are often dark in the spring and turn green their first winter.
Bamboo Outside the Landscape “Globally, bamboo is used for grazing, erosion control, wildlife habitat, paper pulp, lumber, manufactured items, house construction, crafting, and food. In the United States Bamboo is used for ornamentation.” - From “Farming Bamboo” by Daphne Lewis and Carol Miles.
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