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 Post subject: Salt Water/Bamboo...SOS!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:53 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:31 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Longboat Key, FL
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I live on an island off the Gulf Coast of Florida, zone 10a, and my house is @2 blocks from the water. At the very corner of my property we have a large, 10-yr-old clump of Bambusa Ventricosa that has reached about 35' in height. (No, it does not have any of the "Buddha belly" formations, as I understand that only occurs when potted.) Running from that corner along the property line are a clump of the black Timor/Lako bamboo that I have in a 6'x5' raised bed, a clump of Babmbusa Chungii, and a species called Bambusa Emeiensis Flavidovirens that the internet shows precious little information on. All but the Ventricosa--which has been in this spot for nearly its entire life--were planted within the past year from 25gal buckets: they are relatively young, but the tallest culm for each is in the 15-18' range.

The property line along which the aforementioned bamboo run is on a low spot that frequently floods with brackish water during storms. There was minor damage during the recent Hurricane Irma, but a particularly high "king tide" two weeks ago left the foliage along this property line under a foot of water three times over a 36-hour period for 2 or 3 hours each time. This was 100% salt water.

--The Lako is ok as it is in a 24" raised bed. Still showing some leaf burn from the 100mph hurricane winds last month.

--The huge Ventricosa is so-so. Previous swampings with brackish water have shown no ill effects, but all leaves are now brown/yellow on the outer half, while the green inner half gives me hope.

--Bambusa Chungii ("blue") is the most recently transplanted @3 months ago and has no new shoots since that time; now showing many yellow leaves with some leaves that are still green.

--Most troubling is the Emeiensis Flavorividens. The culms on this one start out green and then turn to yellow, while maintaining green stripes. On mine, the original culms from when the bamboo was transplanted here 8 or so months ago appear dead, with no green at all in the leaves. The four culms that have sprouted up since it has been here, however, are still predominantly green and their (relatively few) young leaves are green as well. These new culms range from 3" to 15 feet. I'm inspired by the fact that these new culms are still green, though the little 3" culm that's popping up has shown no sign of growth in the 2 weeks since it was under salt water, where my experience is that the culms grow quickly once they sprout.

For the first week or so after the flooding, I deep watered them 3 times a day to try and flush the salt out. On Friday I applied nitrogen-rich slow-release fertilizer. Any tips on what--if anything--can be done at this point? For those of you who have had bamboo flooded with salt water, should I expect these to bounce back. I recall reading that the Bambusa family tend to be salt tolerant, but for whatever reason, I built a raised bed for just the Lako and got lazy with the rest.

Here are photos of the Ventricosa and a closeup of the Emeiensis F, showing both the very yellow older culms and the still-green new ones. Thanks for opining.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:20 am
Posts: 99
Location: Lithia Florida
Unfortunately, it’s going to be a wait and see kind of thing. I would think that it depends upon the amount of salt that was absorbed. If the leaves are yellowing then there was certainly some salt that made it into the plant. I would keep watering like crazy and hope for the best. Keep us posted


PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:11 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:28 am
Posts: 1211
Location: Island off Cape Cod Massacusetts
Good luck with this, your area got whacked pretty bad..

If the leaves were killed by salt spray, and the soil was not salinified (salt added), my guess is the stand will recover. You probably won't know health of plants until they send up shoots again.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:05 am
Posts: 1335
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
If the soil was saturated with salt water, I guess there will be at least some damage to rhizomes and roots. Rain and watering should leech out the majority of salt relatively fast and I'm sure some of the rhizomes will be able to survive. It might look bad at first, but hopefully it will recover. I guess you'll know for sure next spring. You may end up with a lot of small survival shoots.


PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:52 am
Posts: 407
Location: Geneva, Florida
I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of minerals. The lack of them causes yellowing in the leaves and culms and eventually death. Some of the problems people blame on fungus and viruses are really a lack of key minerals. So the issue is not just the salt, although it is indeed a problem. What happens often with flooding or excessive rains is the minerals get washed out of the root zone, leaving it deficient. Consider adding a formula with low nitrogen, but decent amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium along with trace minerals. I have turned around bamboo with the right ratios of minerals. Don't overdue the calcium, phosphorus, iron or nitrogen, as it can prevent the uptake of other minerals. To achieve faster results consider a foliar spray in these minerals for a quicker turn around, while dealing with the soil. If you really want to fine tune it consider a soil or tissue sample test, which can take the guess work out. It can do wonders if interpreted correctly.


PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:33 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:06 pm
Posts: 132
Location: Magnolia Springs, Al Zone 8b
Bamboo Society Membership: ABS - America

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