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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:49 pm 
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Location: Michigan
SO to start out I am new to growing plants in general. Just started my first garden this year. Doing some landscaping around my 2.5 acre property with one rule... Everything I bring in has to be edible. I have some not edible trees that I am moving around the property, but everything I bring in new has to be edible.

I have been moving from behind the barn to the front of the yard by the road. Trying to make it feel more like I am in the woods, make a bit of a barrier to the road, and give a bit of a windbreak. (I am in the middle of Michigan surrounded by farmland. So when they grow corn it isnt too bad, but anything else and it feels like a house in the middle of a field.)

I usually do my research REALLY well before I do anything. Well I didn't do that this time. On a whim I looked up if bamboo could grow in Michigan. Thought it would do a good job at all the stuff I was moving the trees for, and it would spread naturally I wouldnt have to move a ton of trees. Found some would. Found the largest kind that said it would grow in my zone, and placed an order. Not a very large order, but I quickly found its not cheap to buy bamboo plants.

So now I have 2-2 gallon phyllostachys parvifolia ordered.

Did I make a mistake? I am finding very conflicting information on where this stuff will grow. I have seen as low as zone 5(which I am 5b or 6 depending on whether you look at USDA or Arbor day maps). But I am also finding places that say it will only grow down to zone 7. Will this stuff grow in zone 5?

If so does anyone have any idea how tall it will get in this zone? From my understanding this stuff if fairly new to the US. I am guessing thats why I can't find much information on it.

I am also finding conflicting info on how invasive this stuff is. Some places say it doesnt spread fast in this climate, others say its one of the fastest spreading they have. Will I be able to keep it in check with a lawn mower and harvesting shoots where I don't want them?

I also don't know if I made a mistake ordering this time of year? Idk if there will be enough time in the ground for it to stabilize and survive the winter. Should I keep them in the pots until spring? or get them in the ground as soon as possible?

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!?!

Im not really worried, just out of my element. I usually know what I am doing before I do it.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:56 pm 
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Location: Southern Missouri Z6B
You may still be ok here, but as listed at http://needmorebamboo.com under the heading "Can I grow bamboo in my climate?", you may have to lower your expectations. Zone 5 is a bit rough for bamboo. From what I have heard you may want to consider Phy. Bissetii or Phy. Aureosulcata, but being as you have already ordered Parvifolia, dont't fret it is one of the hardier varieties. You will need to provide some winter protection for the whole plant for the first few years, and at least the roots from then on. In zone 5 it is highly likely to behave more like a perennial losing its leaves and likely killing the culms during the winter and its size will not be overly impressive, but as long as you keep the rhizomes from deep freezing (mulch heavily) you might be able to keep it depending on conditions specific to your site. If you are using mowing for control, make sure you can afford a large 25' buffer zone around it. Mowing should work as long as you mow/remove the new shoots in the buffer zone every spring and don't allow any foliage from the plant to live in this area. Don't plant your garden or flower bed in this zone, keep the whole zone mowable. There are a few growers here who have much more experience with colder climates than mine (which really is cold enough) such as stevelau and iowaboo(is he still around?) who could give better specific advise.

If your plants do make it to maturity you might expect a mature height of 5'-8' (speculation on my part based on what I have read) and you will likely have to cut a lot of dead canes out every spring unless you don't mind them being in there.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:02 pm 
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Location: St. Louis area Location Details
Also, it is a good time to plant -- don't leave them in pots all winter.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:40 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Michigan
Cool. So far all of my plants (non bamboo) have been doing better than expected, so I am hoping the bamboo follows suit. I saw someone post somewhere about having parvifolia in Michigan. Don't know where they were, and I have not been able to find the post again to figure out who it was. I just hope I can get this to spread fairly quickly, I can't afford to buy enough to fill the whole area I want filled. (and I do realize this means at least 3-5 years of spreading if it is quick, probably more)

ANY information about p. parvifolia in zone 5b would be HIGHLY appreciated. Or if there is another variety that would get bigger in this climate that information would be great as well. I am looking for the largest (both height and width) variety possible in my zone. From my reading Parvifolia is the largest possible that will survive in my zone, but I know that does not necessarily mean it will be the largest in my zone. There may be one that doesnt grow as big in ideal conditions, but will grow bigger than parvifolia in my climate. I hope that makes sense.

Does anybody know why the info on this variety is so scattered? I mean I expect to see some variance from site to site, but for the other varieties the variance is 5-10 degrees difference or one zone difference. for this stuff I have seen everything from zone 5 to zone 7. And minimum temps from 0F to -20F.

Glad to hear I wont have to nurse these inside all winter. Does anyone know if that 5'-8' height estimate is accurate? My google fu is usually amazing, but my searches have all been coming up short on this topic.

Thanks for the help!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:22 pm 
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Location: HALIFAX, NS
Several reasons for the paucity of solid information on parvi's hardiness.

a. it's not been in eastern North American gardens long enough to say with certainty its exact hardiness.

b. those in the east that do have it are likely still protecting it in winter.

c. it was touted as being very adaptable to areas with cool summers and cold winters but no one can tell us where that information came from, if it was in the UK it means little to us in eastern NA. If in Europe I reckon the same. It's unlikely based on fact.

d. it's been almost 25 years since we've had a killer winter here in the southern coastal Maritimes so aside from the Fargesias which have been here since the 70's we don't have definitive answers to the question.

e.The book authors have no problem spitting out & parroting temp tolerances without backup.

From what I've read it's not as hardy as aureosulcata and the latter can freeze to the ground inland here at -20c / -4F.

Steve has had experience with parvi damage near Rochester as he had a bad winter a few years ago as did dependable in Martha's Vineyard., maybe they'll chime in.

john

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:40 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Michigan
Thanks for the info... As I suspected, it seems mostly because of little experience with it.

Hopefully one of these people with first hand experience in the subject will chime in.

Haven't gotten any updates on my order. Idk if it hasn't been fully processed or? Even though its hardiness is iffy in my zone.. I'm excited to get it, and get it in the ground!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:23 pm 
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Location: Placerville California
Bamboo Society Membership: ABS - America
if I recall correctly Steve did not protect his this year. though not sure how cold his winter was but it seems like it faired well from a prior post somewhere. Like John said hopefully they will chime in

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:40 pm
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Location: Michigan
I should have my bamboo tomorrow!

He said he was almost out of parvi, so he potted them out of larger stock plants. Not exactly sure what he meant by that, but he said to leave them in the pot for a while till they get some new significant rhizome growth.

Not exactly sure what to do, since I want to get them in the ground as soon as possible so they can build up good roots to get through the Michigan winter.

I'm very excited to get my plants! Just not sure how to proceed.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:14 pm
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Location: Esparto, CA
Bamboo Society Membership: ABS - America
If he means that he just divided them - I hope he does not mean that but it sounds like he does, then do not plant them this year. I've been growing Parvifolia in 5b/6a since 2005 and it is not as hardy as some of the other species you can grow.

Find out for sure if he just divided them, if so the risk is far too great to plant this year.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:52 pm 
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Location: Michigan
Got my bamboo today! Not sure what to think. Like I said I am new to growing plants in general. I am not even sure these are 2 gallon pots. They seem small to me, but like I said, I dont know what im talking about. It also seems odd to me how drastically different the two pots are. They both have cut culms, but one pot all the foliage is from small growth, and the other is from higher on the culms. All I can say for sure is I know its bamboo. And from my limited experience, they look healthy ish. The culms are not the green I was expecting, the little ones are the colors I was expecting for parvi, but the bigger culms are all yellowish with dark rings, not green with white rings.

there seems to be a lot of root on TOP of the dirt in the larger plant. I am guessing I should cover that?

The tallest part of the pot with 2 cut culms is about 4.5ft from the top of the dirt. The other one has a cut culm at about half that. everything else in that one is just small growth.

The big open grassy space in the first picture is where its going to go eventually. (actually its going to go off to the right of the picture, but its just more open grassy area.)

Any thoughts on how to proceed at this point would be MUCH appreciated.

And dont mind the junk on the porch. We are in the process of cleaning/repairing.

needmore wrote:
I've been growing Parvifolia in 5b/6a since 2005 and it is not as hardy as some of the other species you can grow.


Having experience in zone 5 Would you think the earlier prediction of 5-8ft would be be correct? I am hoping to get a little more out of them.

Also it sounds like I really want to here about Steve's parvifolia. I would really love some more first hand knowledge.


Last edited by twandawg85 on Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:40 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Michigan
I messed up the photos so lets try that again.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:08 pm 
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Location: Esparto, CA
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Here are some pictures of mine in Indiana http://needmorebamboo.com/?page_id=554

What state does your supplier live in?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:40 pm
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Location: Michigan
Not sure I got it from www.bamboogardencenter.com
I looked it up on this forum and found some people recommending it, and that they used to be bamboo plantation but I never looked at where they were.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:36 pm 
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Location: Esparto, CA
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I think you should not plant those this year, but growing them indoors is tough as well. It looks like you live in a windy world and that is bamboo's enemy in your zone, those do not likely have enough root/rhizome mass to hydrate when the ground freezes, there is not much foliage and you are facing likely top death unless you stay above 0F with no strong winds - unlikely I think no? If you get top kill there is not much rhizome energy for those to rebound with so you'll have very small plants next year if all this happens. Wait a year, baby them in pots and they'll have a much better chance.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:40 pm
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Location: Michigan
Very unlikely. It gets cold, and it's windy more than it's not.
When I ordered them the goal was a windbreak. It's there a verity that might be better suited to this in my zone? I was hoping to eventually get some good poles out of it to make stuff.

If im gonna bring them inside I need to get them in better pots.

Since I have 2 I might stick one in the ground, and bring one inside. Just to see what happens. Might make it is own little greenhouse to get it through the first winter. Worst case I go back to my original plan and just keep moving trees out there.


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