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 Post subject: Drought tolerant bamboo
PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:32 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Rocklin, CA (near Sacramento)
Hey everyone,

I am interviewing with a larger regional paper regarding my bamboo garden and I was wondering if I could pick everyone's brain for some more information on what I read in the ABS species guide about drought tolerant bamboo.

Phylostachys mannii "Decora" entry in the 2009 ABS Source List states ".....One of the best performers under the stress of desert heat, cold and drought in Nevada." Anyone have any more background on this entry? Was there a specific test of this that demonstrates this quality in decora mannii?

Also, I know that some of the chusqueas are drought resistant. Any other varieties that are known to be drought tolerant?

Last item - my experience with most bamboo planted in the ground is that they do need some extra water in its first year of planting if they are planted under high heat, but once established they perform well with average watering by overspray or direct spray. I know they can't dry out (like any other plant, except some natives and cacti) and they definitely do not like to be overwatered (unlike the stereotype). My experience has been, bamboo, once established needs no more water than an average tree or bush you would find in a typical urban or suburban landscape. Other thoughts on this or does this hold true for you?

Your insights are greatly appreciated.

Sean


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:19 pm
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Location: Harlingen, TX Zone 10, Sunset Zone 27. 33' above sea level. 27 inches of rain/year. 22 Miles to the Laguna Madre. 27 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. 17 miles from Mexico. Lower Rio Grande Valley - Deep South Texas Location Details
I had a Dendrocalamus Strictus that was about as drought tolerant as you can get. First, I planted it in a bad area with lots of gravel from an old driveway... and it grew to be one of the largest on my farm. Then the hurricane blew it over and it survived for over 6 months with almost all the roots exposed and without water. I told several people that it still had leaves... although they were few and far between. Several organic farmers in the area wanted to try and save it... so little by little over a period of about 2 months, they carved it up and planted all the pieces. I haven't seen all the pictures, but the ones they sent me later showed all were in the ground and doing very well. They wanted it to create a screen for their delicate vegetables.

Most other bamboos would have been toast after about 2 days. This Strictus had fairly straight culms and looked pretty decent. It also took temperatures down to 26 without a problem.

I think there are many, many, many varieties of D. Strictus... some that go every which way... some that are super sensitive to cold... some that just don't look that great at all... I found a good one. Now it is growing on several other farms and doing well.

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Bamboo Nut Farm

http://www.boonut.com


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 6:42 pm
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Location: Middle Tennessee (Murfreesboro) USDA Zone 6b/7a Record low Jan 1966 -14*F Frost free April 21-Oct.21 Location Details
Hello Sean,

Decora has certainly been an excellent performer for me. It has been the best in regard to heat and drought of all that I grow. It has never(during the times that I checked on it) curled its leaves even during the previous two years of extreme drought here in Tennessee. I think the information on decora is empirical. People plant Decora, it grows under extreme conditions, and gets a rep for hardiness. I don't know of any research regarding its hardiness.

Ph. propinqua 'Beijing', and Ph. stimulosa in my experience, have also been good drought hardy bamboo. Interestingly, the green vivax and to a lesser extent its offspring have been drought hardy for me.

As Boonut inferred, plants of the same species may have multiple clones some of which may be hardier than others.

The best research is to plant your chosen bamboo and to make empirical observations as to its suitability for that particular location. So here we are right back at "just plant it and see how it does".

Regards,

David

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David Arnold
Middle Tennessee Bamboo Farm
USDA zone 6b/7a


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 6:42 pm
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Location: Middle Tennessee (Murfreesboro) USDA Zone 6b/7a Record low Jan 1966 -14*F Frost free April 21-Oct.21 Location Details
Regarding watering:

I water everything its first year, and longer if the plant appears to need more time to establish.

Bamboo in porous soils will enjoy water frequently. It's difficult to water them too much. Bamboo in poorly draining soils with lots of clay will get "wet feet" quickly with excessive water and show signs of overwatering, but I rarely see that occur around here.

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David Arnold
Middle Tennessee Bamboo Farm
USDA zone 6b/7a


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:21 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:32 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Rocklin, CA (near Sacramento)
Thanks to all. Any other drought tolerant bamboo suggestions (other than what has been stated). How about clumpers?

Sean


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:56 pm
Posts: 234
Location: Dallas, Texas (zone 8)
I bought four 65-gallon divisions of Phyllostachys nigra henonnis specifically to handle drought and heat, along with Phyllostachys rubromarginata for toughness. P. bambusoides, P. nigra nigra, and P. edulis are struggling a bit in this Dallas heat.

Incidentally, Dallas is the largest metropolitan area without a transporting waterway in the U.S., and is something like the third or fourth hottest area in the country, the others being deserts, I believe. My source says the henon divisions I purchased will become drought tolerant after a year in the ground. Plus, many say that the prettiest grove is arguably henon.

I like giants, so I am self limited in variety somewhat.

The once a year or so icestorm where the entire area here is blanketed in a couple of inches of ice, when northern and southern weather patterns collide, would seem to exclude P. vivax in Dallas-Fort Worth. It seems somewhat intuitive, although I can't speak for sure, that a rapid grower would be able to handle heat somewhat better. If I lived in a desert, I would definitely use a drip irrigation system. I have been advised, though, that one must keep an eye out with a drip system, it might fail and next thing you know, you're bamboo is dying without you checking in.

I know I promised you all pictures, I am not computer savvy but hope to have some up soon.


Regards,
Mackel in DFW

P.S.- "Madman" is also a nickname for Ozzy Osbourne, and Diary of a Madman, one great album from back in the high school days.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2008 5:59 pm
Posts: 415
Location: Eustis, Fl zone 9a/b right between too cold & not cold enough Location Details
mexican weeping is listed as a drought tolerant clumper and has behaved as such for me. i dont think i watered it more than three times all summer.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:54 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 2:08 am
Posts: 67
Location: Maryland Eastern Shore Z7a
For what it's worth, I saved some Japonica that had been abandoned and neglected(never watered for 10+ years) from a friends field. It was overgrown with weeds and briars and hadn't grown more than 6' tall x 3' wide. After transplanting into prepared beds and watering prodigeously, it's doubled in height and tripled in width the last 2 yrs. I also believe Aurea to withstand dry spells well but will not have personal knowledge of this for another couple years as mine are in the juvenile pampering stage for a while yet.


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