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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:25 pm 
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Location: TX
new to the board, but i have a few questions for all of you experts, i apologize greatly in advance for long-winded description:

we built a pool with landscaping in the fall 16/spring 17. we live in dallas tx.

i wanted a bamboo wall along a fenceline, with the fence being partly between us and neighbors, and partly along the alley. Overall the length of the bed is 90 ft, and it is roughly 3.5 feet wide throughout. the bed is about 3-10 ft from the pool at various points, and abuts two of the four sides of the rectangular pool

after what i thought was exhaustive research, i decided that i wanted a cold tolerant clumping bamboo rather than a runner, given the fence line being common to us and the neighbors. i was not interested in having the trench on both sides of the bamboo for rhizome trimming (if we had selected a runner) directly along the fence behind the plants, and in front of the plants.

the look we were going for was: bamboo up to 12-20 ft, bushy at the top, individual culms at the bottom around 1 - 1.5 inch each, green color. the bed was to have a rock surface (black onyx), with relatively large rocks (1-2 in).

our landscaping co was not well-versed in bamboo, and gave us the usual warnings on bamboo. they did not know about clumpers vs runners. they recommended a bamboo barrier even though we were doing clumpers, and the more i thought about it, i did think that this might be a good idea, because at some point we were going to have an issue with the central clump of culms inching toward the neighbors/our fence, and ultimately there cold be some rhizomes coming under the fence.

they recommended a edpm pond liner as a root barrier (and they thought this was ok for running bamboo). we had them dig the whole bed to a depth of about 2.5-3 ft, and fully line the entire 90 feet with 45 mil edpm pond liner. in watching them i noted that they did a good job of shoring up/overlapping the connections between sheets.

so i decided on bambusa multiplex (green hedge) after a long discussion with several growers in austin and houston. i was happy to hear about cold tolerance to 18 or 19 degrees, and the fact that the only damage would be some yellowing and minor leaf loss at this temp. in dallas we do have some periodic cold weather in the winter, with temps in the single digits for short intervals. we also have some freezing precip periodically, and i honestly was most afraid of freezing rain.

i purchased 45 of the 1 gal size, and it was shipped to dallas. when we got them, the landscape guys were not ready to plant, so they set in pots outside through some cold days. when they planted them, some had dead stalks, some had very few leaves.

the beds are mostly solid soil, with little mulch/organic material. they installed a drip/hose system under the rocks, above the weed barrier. we ran the irrigation daily throughout the spring/summer/fall last year, 5 min/day. please note that i think that the enclosed bed likely held a fair amount of water.

over late spring/summer/fall we did get a lot of growth, both filling out of leaves and elongation of the existing culms, along with a variable amount of new little shoots. i was concerned about the overall diameter of the old/new shoots, but was reassured by our bamboo guy in houston that we can expect the final mature stalks to be 1/2-1.5 inches each. i was bothered by the tendency of the stalks to shoot out in all directions, not achieving our goal of a bamboo wall of upright stalks with bushiness on the top. we were instructed to train them up by wrapping a velcro strap which i got at home depot around the bunch of stalks, which did make the whole bunch sit a little more upright.

so fast forward to late december 17, cold wave, temps to lower teens for about 3-5 days, no precip. every single leaf died, and over the past 2 mos have fallen to the ground. about 50-70 percent of the stalks are dead, and in some of the 45 plants ALL of the stalks are dead.

QUESTIONS FOR THE GROUP:
1. can we expect multiplex to rebound??
2. given the fact that we yearly have a several hard freezes, and we can expect several days under 19, will we get a leaf kill every year. if so, will the more mature stalks make new leaves at the top, or are they done for??
3. did our problem occur because of the scrawny nature of our specimens that we planted.
4. we watered throughout the winter, so the advice about watering before cold snap to "insulate" does not apply
5. in yall's opinion, was i misinformed about the long-term outcome in b multiplex green hedge??? ie, is the expectation that we will get a bunch of tiny stalks (all currently are less that 1/2 in, most are less that 1 cm), which grow in a bunch of directions rather than straight up, producing that classic big-stalk bamboo barrier look.
6. with multiplex species, do you agree with a loose velcro wrap about 12-18 in up the stalks to collect them into a cohesive plant, with the intent being to "train" them to be upright
7. i have considered digging all 45 plants up and placing a running bamboo (henon, etc) which would likely provide better cold tolerance and a more classic look that we want. my concern is the fidelity of the root barrier that was installed. i have gotten mixed opinions on 45 mil edpm pond liner, even when installed properly, at proper depth, and with appropriate connection between sheets. i should mention that our landscaping people are not avail at this time.
8. i do not want to shoulder the burden of digging up, or paying someone to dig up the entire 90 x 3.5 feet bed, and placing a more appropriate liner, then replanting with a runner.

if we give the multiplex another summer to define itself and it does not get thicker stalks, and/or it dies again in the winter, i am going to (sadly) give up on my dream of a bamboo wall. we have spent quite a lot to get the beds done as they are, and i will just put in some tall hedge-like plant if that is the case.

if you have experience with 45 mil edpm pond liner, and can vouch for its effectiveness in controlling runners, please speak up, as this would be a relatively easy fix for us, and could be done DIY.

thanks for listening, and i welcome all input that you might have

bg


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:27 pm 
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Welcome, one quick answer - yes, I think both running and clumping bamboo will eat pond liner up, running will for certain.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:22 am 
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I have a koi pond with 45 mil liner. I haven't planted bamboo near it since I highly doubt it would stop a rhizome.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:34 am 
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Location: Placerville California
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Heres my thoughts living in a zone 8.
First off anytime you push zone limits on a bamboo starting with a small plant or division is tough.
The plants do not have a lot of rhizomes so your more likely to sustain winter damage at higher than minimum than expected temperatures. A thick layer of mulch will help to hold moisture in the soil and keep soil temps up so that will help some in the future.
Hopefully having had them in the ground for a year will have helped. Once last chance of frost pasts maybe cut out the known dead culms. Some you think may be dead may surprisingly releaf but tan dry culms can be cut out after last frost or hard frost date.

we had temps of 18,16,11 and numerous low 20's in a row and had bad damage on Kanapaha, and multiplex silverstripe. I thought my Alphonse Karr made it with no issues but its pretty burnt. will releaf though, it was from a 20 gallon though and had lots of root mass.

a pond liner will not work long term, check out BambooGarden or other nurseries and price rhizome barriers. multiplex is not aggressive but will probably one day expand to your neighbors some if you only have 3 ft width.
multiplex varieties are also real bushy and full so as it grows you will need to thin in out to see through it and see the culms.


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Elevation 3000 ft
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:41 am 
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Location: Placerville California
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if you go with runners I really like semiarundinaria faustosa. Its really upright pretty drought tolerant . It has deeper rhizomes than phyllostachys though. I also like Sinobambusa tootsik though you may be pushing hardiness

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Hangtown Farms

Placerville Ca
Elevation 3000 ft
Zone 8B ( probably 8A )


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:11 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:28 am
Posts: 245
Location: Southeast Texas, Zone 9a
multiplex wrote:
1. can we expect multiplex to rebound??
Probably, unless the cold penetrated the ground. If these plants were a little older, their survival would have been more certain. Fertilize, mulch, and water like crazy. You want them to recover as much as possible this year.
multiplex wrote:
2. given the fact that we yearly have a several hard freezes, and we can expect several days under 19, will we get a leaf kill every year. if so, will the more mature stalks make new leaves at the top, or are they done for??
It is possible for the buds to produce new leaves, if they were not also killed. Damage is progressive....first leaves, then twigs, then culms. It just depends on how cold you get, duration, etc. Look around your area. If you do not see any mature B. multiplex plants, this could indicate that they will not grow well there long term. Over the years, I remember other people around Dallas asking questions similar to yours, but I do not believe any of them ever came back to report on what happened with their plants. Generally, I think that regular temperatures below 15 degrees Farenheit will limit the success of B. multiplex.
multiplex wrote:
3. did our problem occur because of the scrawny nature of our specimens that we planted.
No, probably not. You just got too close to the cold tolerance limit of the species. Where I have lived, I have never had much damage to B. multiplex, but I have been in zone 8b and warmer...and my plants were planted among trees, which gives some protection. I think even mature plants would have been damaged during this cold event in your area.
multiplex wrote:
4. we watered throughout the winter, so the advice about watering before cold snap to "insulate" does not apply
If the soil was moist, that is all you could do.
multiplex wrote:
5. in yall's opinion, was i misinformed about the long-term outcome in b multiplex green hedge??? ie, is the expectation that we will get a bunch of tiny stalks (all currently are less that 1/2 in, most are less that 1 cm), which grow in a bunch of directions rather than straight up, producing that classic big-stalk bamboo barrier look.
If you got 'Green Hedge' and not one of the smaller B. multiplex clones (They can be difficult to tell apart when small, so you need to deal with a reputable grower!), they will reach full size in a few years, if they do not keep getting damaged by cold. I can not comment on whether you were misinformed, but B. multiplex generally makes a beautiful, leafy hedge of fairly small diameter culms that flare outward. The culms tend to branch low, which makes them a great hedge. You can prune off lower branches, if you like. Unless you have really good conditions, I think you will do well to get culms around 1 inch in diameter. I have seen quite a bit larger culms on the clone 'Silverstripe' in really good conditions, with free root run. Also, to my eye, 'Alphonse Karr' is slightly more upright than other clones, but not as large as 'Silverstripe'. 'Green Hedge' is smaller than 'Silverstripe', but less upright than 'Alphonse Karr'. There are lots of small, green varieties that look like 'Green Hedge' when small, but they will never get very large.
multiplex wrote:
6. with multiplex species, do you agree with a loose velcro wrap about 12-18 in up the stalks to collect them into a cohesive plant, with the intent being to "train" them to be upright
When I have seen something like this done, it did keep the plants upright, as long as they were tied in place. It will not make them grow upright. The first couple years, growth is extra floppy. Once they mature, the plants will be less floppy, but still spreading, unless you keep them permanently tied. You will have to retie them every year. The culms will not stay upright, unless constantly held by some sort of material. As soon as you untie them, they will flop back out to their natural shape, more or less. I would use rope, since it is less expensive than other materials.
multiplex wrote:
7. i have considered digging all 45 plants up and placing a running bamboo (henon, etc) which would likely provide better cold tolerance and a more classic look that we want. my concern is the fidelity of the root barrier that was installed. i have gotten mixed opinions on 45 mil edpm pond liner, even when installed properly, at proper depth, and with appropriate connection between sheets. i should mention that our landscaping people are not avail at this time.
Rhizome barriers of the type discussed here are not used on clumping bamboos. They tend to be both unnecessary and useless. Even a "proper" barrier, which you do not have, will not normally contain clumping bamboos anyway.

As for the EPDM, while it is a great pond liner, I have never heard of anyone with bamboo rhizome barrier experience who has said that EPDM is a suitable rhizome barrier. Read:
http://www.bamboogarden.com/barrier%20installation.htm
http://www.bamboogarden.com/barrier.htm

Briefly, rhizome barriers works by deflecting the very sharp rhizome tip. This is why rigid plastic is used. Any type of rubber (like EPDM) will allow the rhizome tip to "catch" in the material, and slowly stab through the rubber. That is not to say that the EPDM will not ever stop any rhizome, but some will get through, and I do not think it will take very long.
multiplex wrote:
8. i do not want to shoulder the burden of digging up, or paying someone to dig up the entire 90 x 3.5 feet bed, and placing a more appropriate liner, then replanting with a runner. if we give the multiplex another summer to define itself and it does not get thicker stalks, and/or it dies again in the winter, i am going to (sadly) give up on my dream of a bamboo wall. we have spent quite a lot to get the beds done as they are, and i will just put in some tall hedge-like plant if that is the case.
if you have experience with 45 mil edpm pond liner, and can vouch for its effectiveness in controlling runners, please speak up, as this would be a relatively easy fix for us, and could be done DIY.
If the possibility of escaping rhizomes is absolutely not acceptable, I would definitely not rely on anything less than a properly installed bamboo rhizome barrier. This can be ordered from quite a few reputable companies.

I hope you will find success with bamboo, but I certainly understand why you might wish to change course. However, if you plan to live in your house for a long time, it might still be worth the investment to install the correct types of bamboo in the correct way. If you do decide that your current plants are not going to work, feel free to come back here for advice before you make a definite decision about the future. With bamboo, always get advice from people who know how bamboo grows in your area and/or climate. Bamboos can perform quite differently in different areas.

While I know you are discouraged right now, I really believe that few plants can rival the beauty and peaceful character of bamboo, and with enough planning and work, it is probably possible to achieve your goal.

It is always difficult when one spends a lot of money and time, and does not get the desired outcome, but I just keep telling myself that it is a great way to gain wisdom, whether I want more wisdom or not :) .


Last edited by Glen on Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:27 am 
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Location: Southeast Texas, Zone 9a
Cooper12 wrote:
if you go with runners I really like semiarundinaria faustosa. Its really upright pretty drought tolerant . It has deeper rhizomes than phyllostachys though. I also like Sinobambusa tootsik though you may be pushing hardiness

I strongly second the recommendation of Semiarundinaria fastuosa, and the form S. fastuosa 'Viridis'. These are real winners in Texas, but very underutilized. They will be tolerant of everything your climate can offer, and are EXTREMELY upright. You would definitely need a rhizome barrier. Some photographs: http://www.shweeashbamboo.com/Semiarund ... dis%27.htm

If you want a more arborescent bamboo, Phyllostachys viridis 'Robert Young' has performed very well in much of Texas, including your area. Beautiful: http://www.bamboogarden.com/Phyllostach ... ung%27.htm


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:41 pm 
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Location: TX
thanks all, much appreciate the thoughtful responses

given the sh&%#y root barrier that is currently in place, and the nightmare cost that might incur by digging it all out and installing a proper barrier (rocks, weed barrier, dirt, lighting cables, irrigation tubing, and speaker wires). wish i'd have known before, but as stated above, you live and learn.

so it comes down to living with and supporting/replanting the b multiplex green hedge, vs mailing it in and planting a wall of yews or hollies or something.

my wife and i are thinking along the lines of babying the bambusa this upcoming sp/summer/fall, and seeing what happens.

do those who have concerns about the clumper getting through the root barrier feel that this should be a deal breaker?? i would assume that the rate of new upcoming shoots and culms inching toward the back barrier along the fenceline will give us an idea when we might expect some issues?? i would think that if we are diligent we might be able to forecast the occurrence, and perhaps dig a little trench within the existing edpm root barrier, and shoot a thick piece of plastic down right behind the expanding root ball. in looking at someone's pick of a multiplex root ball with all the dirt washed out, it seems that the bigger rhizomes become vertically oriented right along the bigger culms and shoot up, while the smaller hairy rhizomes come out a little around the ball. i might assume that these little guys couldnt pierce the edpm, but i maybe wrong.

so the current opinion on the pattern of growth of these guys is....lots of little shoots at the base, few getting to be large culms, and a tendency for crowding and leaves forming from the nodes right at the base, requiring some manicuring if we are to try to get our look (that classic forest with bare trunks and high leafy ends). it seems that the shaft diameter of 1 in is the prevailing estimated max, but i'd sure like the 1.5 or greater. will do some more winterproofing next winter with mulchy dirt around the base of the culms rather than the rocks that we currently have up to them. it seems that the prevailing thought on the "training issue" is that this cultivar is "untrainable", ie they will never get that upright standing pattern without some supportive binder or stick.

does anyone have any suggestions on trying some fertilizer to jumpstart this spring's growth??

any other thoughts regarding our current plan??


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:20 pm 
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Location: Magnolia Springs, Al Zone 8b
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multiplex wrote:
they recommended a edpm pond liner as a root barrier (and they thought this was ok for running bamboo). we had them dig the whole bed to a depth of about 2.5-3 ft, and fully line the entire 90 feet with 45 mil edpm pond liner. in watching them i noted that they did a good job of shoring up/overlapping the connections between sheets.


If you lined the sides and bottom of the whole bed, I'd be worried about root rot due to lack of drainage. I'm a newbie also, but that's what would concern me.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:13 am 
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Location: Southeast Texas, Zone 9a
multiplex wrote:
do those who have concerns about the clumper getting through the root barrier feel that this should be a deal breaker?? i would assume that the rate of new upcoming shoots and culms inching toward the back barrier along the fenceline will give us an idea when we might expect some issues?? i would think that if we are diligent we might be able to forecast the occurrence, and perhaps dig a little trench within the existing edpm root barrier, and shoot a thick piece of plastic down right behind the expanding root ball. in looking at someone's pick of a multiplex root ball with all the dirt washed out, it seems that the bigger rhizomes become vertically oriented right along the bigger culms and shoot up, while the smaller hairy rhizomes come out a little around the ball. i might assume that these little guys couldnt pierce the edpm, but i maybe wrong.
With Bambusa spp., there is only one type of rhizome growth form, and each rhizome turns upward to form a culm. There never are long, horizontal rhizomes that move away from the plant. This should answer most of your questions on this point: http://www.bambooweb.info/bb/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7305&p=71152#p71152

multiplex wrote:
does anyone have any suggestions on trying some fertilizer to jumpstart this spring's growth??
I generally use a high nitrogen, high quality lawn fertilizer on newer plants. They can be fertilized now through late summer or fall. Bambusa plants will shoot during the warm season, so you need to keep them moist all summer and fall. Make sure you soak deeply with each watering.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:33 am 
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Location: Southeast Texas, Zone 9a
Ophiuchus wrote:
If you lined the sides and bottom of the whole bed, I'd be worried about root rot due to lack of drainage. I'm a newbie also, but that's what would concern me.
I had not considered that they might have lined the whole bed, but now that you mention it, that is possible. I hope it is not the case though, because then I would see no alternative but to remove the bed entirely.

Personally, I think B. multiplex would grow under these circumstances, unless the liner was sealed in a water tight manner. I planted a single plant in a hole in an old caliche driveway. Because the caliche does not drain, this plant sometimes has inches of standing water over its roots for a week or more at a time. After several years, the plant is healthy, but it is not terribly vigorous. I think this is because of the extremely compacted soil, not the water retention. Bambusa really likes water! However, I would be afraid that the plants would soon become rootbound and be permanently stunted.

Either way, the original poster would likely not get the effect that he wants from his planting.


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