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Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 09:06 PM   #1
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Bamboo

I'm fascinated by this stuff. Started out with a small cluster of clumping "gracilis textilis" - a narrow somewhat tall but delicate variety of bamboo and watched in amazement as each stalk ("culm") grew to its full height in 60 days - in this case about 25 feet tall.

Then I rescued a damaged stand of Buddah's Belly, and it sat for a year, barely doing anything more than what weeds do. Last year it blew my mind: 30-35 feet in 60 days.

My browsing led me to a national bamboo expert by the unlikely name of Roy Rogers - a retired school teacher here in Tampa who made this hobby his business and passion. Spent a couple of hours at his modest 3/4 acre yard looking at magnificent stands of oldhamii and other varieties. At a neighborhood park near my house there is a stand of oldhamii about 30 feet in diameter, 55' in height, and so dense nothing can get through.

It's amazing; I can see the growth from when I leave for work to when I get home. It makes a very unique noise when the wind blows it around. The stalks are very strong but flexible - I cut about 6 foot long tips off the plants and dried them, arranging them in a planter inside - always get lots of comments on them.

Funny what grabs you. When I FIRE I plan to spend some time collecting different varieties - will need a bigger yard for sure.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 09:16 PM   #2
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Re: Bamboo

Rich,

My understanding is that it is very invasive? Do you have trouble keeping to where you want it?

MB
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 09:19 PM   #3
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Re: Bamboo

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Originally Posted by mb
Rich,

My understanding is that it is very invasive? Do you have trouble keeping to where you want it?
There are two general types: clumping and running. The latter is illegal to sell, at least in Florida, and is very hard to control. The clumping type, which I have, is easy to control - it just grows as an enlarging roughly round bed. To contain the size you just clip the culms as they start to come in. If you don't you end up with a large patch but it doesn't travel the way the running bamboo does.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 09:23 PM   #4
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Re: Bamboo

My neighbor planted some running bamboo as a screening plant. It's all I can do to stop it from taking over the back yard.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 09:53 PM   #5
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Re: Bamboo

as far as i know running bamboo is not illegal. i have some potted, not planted in the ground.

i have about 7 species of bamboo including bambusa tuldoides 'ventricosa' aka buddha's belly (a 75-foot long hedge of it); bambusa chungii aka tropical blue bamboo (gorgeous plant, everyone comments on it--it gets a powder "bloom" covering the stalk which glows blue when hit with light); bambusa eutuldoides viridi-vittata aka asian lemon bamboo (at maturity i think the shoots start off pink & turn to yellow); bambusa lako aka timor black bamboo; bambusa malingensis aka seabreeze bamboo (a 100 ft hedge of it); dendrocalamus brandisii aka teddy bear bamboo (stalks are furry brown, very cool--also i think this is a very good eating bamboo, but mine isn't mature enough yet to put up enough shoots to eat); gigantochloa atroviolacia aka tropical black bamboo; schizostachyum brachycladum yellow form aka sacred bali bamboo (a fairly rare, sensitive & stunning bamboo) and of course the quintessential bambusa vulgaris 'vittata' aka golden hawaiian bamboo. my other favorite is dendrocalamus asper 'betung hitam' aka black asper bamboo but it is very price and i'm holding off on that until i see where my future brings me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eridanus
My neighbor planted some running bamboo as a screening plant. It's all I can do to stop it from taking over the back yard.
your neighbor needs to contain his runner by digging a trench around it about 3 feet deep and filling the trench with concrete or a very heavy plastic barrier (but i used a garbage pail one time and the thing broke through it.)
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 10:07 PM   #6
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Re: Bamboo

WOW
I always felt wierd to be so interested in this stuff, but somehow Im not surprised to learn there are several experts here on the board. I noticed some striking examples in photos posted to the "do you mow thread"............which type was that? Everytime I have considered using it (esp to screen neighbors house from deck) I was scared off by the invasisve nature. It certainly seems difficult to control as I have watched some stands in the neighborhood. While I was touring a local historical residence, I wondered over to a huge stand of bamboo and the caretaker came over and told me it was determined to be the best type for the panda's at the National Zoo and they were transplanting some to the Zoo. He also mentioned it grew so fast you could actually here popcorn noises at night during certain times of year!?

So which of those clumping varieties grows well here in Maryland?
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 10:52 PM   #7
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Re: Bamboo

ah, the tall grass that eats lawn mowers. the black in the pic is the tropical black. it is a very tight clumping flat black which rises up and flairs out like a fountain about 35 ft up. very nice focal piece of garden. it is flanked by two asian lemons.

in the se corner of my garden, hiding a telephone pole i have two way pretty sunbursts aka bambusa pervariabilis viridistriata flanking the timor black which is a shiny black bamboo, as opposed to the flat black. the timor starts off almost wet looking in black and purple and appears when young to be some plant that might grow on mars. love it.

the noise, as you and doc mention is wonderful in the wind. don't know about the popcorn sound of growing but i call the sound i hear as being clickity.

i always thought of bamboo as being very tropical but when you think panda, as you mention, you realize bamboo grows where it snows. so you should be able to find good hardy species which will grow in maryland. (i understand panda bears can be very picky and have to have a variety of bamboo. even one they eat one day they might not eat the next.)

here is our local bamboo society chapter. the president (robert) is my real nice bamboo guy (he throws huge parties for his customers). if you can't google one, perhaps they can lead you to your local chapter. robert's web site will tell you the temperature each bamboo will tolerate. i think he ships. do not be too disappointed that you might only be buying a twig or two, as you will soon have a beautiful plant. here is robert's nursery web site. enjoy.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 11:22 PM   #8
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Re: Bamboo

Wow.. this sounds like a great plant to 'hide' the neighbors houses.... what would you recommend for a good look, height in the 15 to 20 ft range... and not 'running', but can be put as a hedge

Also, I was surprised once when I went to the store.. they were selling pants made from bamboo!!! I had to read them a few times for me to believe what I was reading.. they were pretty soft also... but none in my size... so I can't say how good they are...
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 11:33 PM   #9
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Re: Bamboo

Bamboo can be amazingly strong. It was used for scaffold framing in China when I visited in the late 70s.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 11:42 PM   #10
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Re: Bamboo

Not only that, but it has also been touted as a solution to global warming. Seriously -- it's a killer CO2 sequestrator.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-09-2007, 11:56 PM   #11
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Re: Bamboo

Think it could kill out the Scotch Broom that a short-sighted hgwy landscape planner had planted along side our freeways? The Broom is second only to English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberries as an invasive species.

Bamboo and a vine-rose might be more effective in stopping cars crossing through freeway medians than those cable fences (and it would screen oncoming headlights).
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-10-2007, 01:08 AM   #12
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Re: Bamboo

Quote:
...The Broom is second only to English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberries as an invasive species....
Brat, don't forget Morning Glories. A gift from Denmark, I believe.

Himalayans are, of course, the kudzu of the Pacific Northwest. I was 20 before I realized they were a bush, not a tree.

I kinda doubt that bamboo would take off in the PNW, but I know it will grow here (er, there; I am back in Cowtown, AB, tonight).
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-10-2007, 01:23 AM   #13
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Re: Bamboo

Ah yes, Morning Glory. I remember my now dear departed Father going ballistic when a neighbor bought a packet of Morning Glory seeds after WWII. I hung back watching him negotiate for their immediate eradication. He was of Norse stock and knew exactly what he would be dealing with if it got established.

Almost all of Denmark is cultivated. In the NW we have vast areas that are largely untouched. A new plant that propagates easily in a temperate climate is almost unstoppable.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-10-2007, 01:31 AM   #14
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Re: Bamboo

don't forget, bamboo also tastes good w/ some chili sauce on it (the asian kind, not southwestern)...
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-10-2007, 07:08 AM   #15
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Re: Bamboo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud
Wow.. this sounds like a great plant to 'hide' the neighbors houses.... what would you recommend for a good look, height in the 15 to 20 ft range... and not 'running', but can be put as a hedge
Gracilis textilis would be fine, and not too many stay at 25 feet tall. Plant clumps about 4 feet aboard in a row to achieve a screening effect. Best to check your growing zone requirements - not all species like a hard frost.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-10-2007, 08:47 AM   #16
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Re: Bamboo

I love bamboo, it the sound of the wind blowing through it that gets me. One thing I am looking forward when I am RE'd is to have a beautiful garden.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-10-2007, 09:28 AM   #17
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Re: Bamboo

We live in rural northern Virginia about 50 miles west of DC. In the '80s we went to DC to the Smithsonian for a behind the scenes tour of the bamboo collection. I can't remember for sure but I think they said there are 80,000 varieties of bamboo. They had samples of them all in the collection. It was very interesting and overwhelming at the same time.

We planted some scraps of bamboo that we dug out of a co-worker's yard as a privacy fence down by our pond. It's doing nicely even with the snow and freezes. It falls to the ground when covered with snow or ice and then a few days later pops right back upright.

It's about 20 feet tall and growing in the shade of oak tres but as happy as can be. I have no idea what kind it is.

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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-10-2007, 07:03 PM   #18
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Re: Bamboo

At our previous house... our neighbor decide to plant a few bamboo plants next to his small fountain and garden pond. Within a couple of years, it spread to all of his neighbors yards including ours. We could not get rid of it.

What ever you do... do not ever plant bamboo in your yard. You and your neighbors will regret it. Your neighbors will hate you.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-10-2007, 07:47 PM   #19
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Re: Bamboo

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco

What ever you do... do not ever plant bamboo in your yard. You and your neighbors will regret it. Your neighbors will hate you.
Not quite. Do not plant running bamboo in your yard. Clumping bamboo stays in a tight circular patch and is about the same maintenance as any bush.
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Re: Bamboo
Old 04-15-2007, 05:51 AM   #20
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Re: Bamboo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Not quite. Do not plant running bamboo in your yard. Clumping bamboo stays in a tight circular patch and is about the same maintenance as any bush.
I stand corrected. Just paranoid after what we experienced. :P
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