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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:04 am
Posts: 1
Location: TX
I've wanted to plant a bamboo screen across my family property for years, and I've decided next year is the year to do it.

I live in the east Texas Piney Woods region. We get 26"-28" of rainfall, mild winters (avg. 40's, rarely below 32, never below 28F), and very hot summers (high 90's, up to 110F). It's a heavily forested region (as the name implies) with high humidity and rainfall.

I'm trying to find a bamboo that is tall, dense, and has low-growing foliage. I'm trying to plant a screen about 100m long with breaks. I wouldn't mind having a runner, but considering how long this will be I am hesitant to dig a 100m long trench and would prefer a clumper.

I'm looking at Bambusa textilis and Bambusa multiplex. Nothing I've looked at seems to fit all three requirements (tall, dense, low-growing foliage), but if I had to sacrifice one of these it would be low foliage in favor of density, or density in favor of low, dense foliage.

Are there any good cultivars like this? What can and should I grow in my climate?

Thank you!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:06 pm
Posts: 117
Location: Magnolia Springs, Al Zone 8b
Bamboo Society Membership: ABS - America
I'm in zone 8b and we had temps down to 21F last winter and it looks like we will get in the mid 20's this up coming week. The only species of clumper that I have that has foliage from top to bottom is Bambusa Contracta. I picked them up Nov 2016 from Tropical Bamboo and weathered them in pots before planting Feb '17.

I did get a little leaf burn while they were in pots, but new leaves quickly emerged. We've already had one good frost this year (31F) and the plants in the ground and pots showed no signs of burn.

This species has recently come out of USDA quarantine and height and cold tolerance (21F) is still questionable, but so far I am very pleased with the results I've gotten. It is projected to be 20' and I have culms that are already that height. The culms are 3/4" at maturity with longer leaves, shorter nodes that creates a very dense hedge planted 3-5 ft apart. I planted mine 5 ft and in just 10 months my privacy is coming to fruition.

I have Bambusa Textilis Gracilis aka Graceful along my driveway and love them, but they only provide obstructed privacy because of the lack of lower branches. I'm not crazy about the multiplex appearance and that's why I chose the contracta. Personal preference.

http://www.tropicalbamboo.com/bamboo_sh ... 0contracta

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:38 am
Posts: 373
Location: Placerville California
Bamboo Society Membership: ABS - America
Boondiggle welcome to the forum.

I am unfamiliar with Contracta though if it can take 21 with no issues thats a good sign.I tried searching for other sites
that listed its hardiness but i was unable to find anything
how many days are you below freezing at night? You too Ophiuchus? I am a zone 8b but think our 8B zones are much different , I am in Northern California.
We have many nights below freezing between November and April.Lowest this year so far are 21 and 23.
For me though my multiplex varieties both Alphonse Karr and Silverstripe. The only issue with them is some of the newer canes abort that come up late summer and fall. Neither has any burning and they where both potted. I just planted them yesterday . Silverstripe was in a large 45 gallon tub and Alphonse was in a 20 gallon. we had recently moved here about a year and a few months ago and i was waiting to have trees removed before i could plant them. My last place Alphonse karr took 2 nights of 14 with snow cover had some leaves that turned bronze but did well.
at this place i also have Textilis Kanapaha . Leaves are mostly green with a bronze tinge but no issues.

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Jason Floyd
Hangtown Farms

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


Last edited by Cooper12 on Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:06 pm
Posts: 117
Location: Magnolia Springs, Al Zone 8b
Bamboo Society Membership: ABS - America
Cooper12 wrote:
Boondiggle welcome to the forum.

I am unfamiliar with Contracta though if it can take 21 with no issues thats a good sign.I tried searching for other sites
that listed its hardiness but i was unable to find anything
how many days are you below freezing at night? You too Ophiuchus? I am a zone 8b but think our 8B zones are much different , I am in Northern California.
We have many nights below freezing between November and April.Lowest this year so far are 21 and 23.
For me though my multiplex varieties both Alphonse Karr and Silverstripe. The only issue with them is some of the newer canes abort that come up late summer and fall. Neither has any burning and they where both potted. I just planted them yesterday . Silverstripe was in a large 45 gallon tub and Alphonse was in a 20 gallon. we had recently moved here about a year and a few months ago and i was waiting to have trees removed before i could plant them. My last place Alphonse kart took 2 nights of 14 with snow cover had some leaves that turned bronze but did well.
at this place i also have Textilis Kanapaha . Leaves are mostly green with a bronze tinge but no issues.


Last winter was a little mild here in Coastal Alabama. We only had a few freezes, but the one did reach 21-25F for 3days. I have Kanapaha and Emerald and they both had just a little top kill. Nothing major and made my decision easier for thinning.

Although I don't look forward to testing the cold tolerance limits, Contracta's tolerance is still questionable as it is a new species just out of quarantine. I'll let you know after this winter.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:28 am
Posts: 233
Location: Southeast Texas, Zone 9a
Boondiggle wrote:
I've wanted to plant a bamboo screen across my family property for years, and I've decided next year is the year to do it.

I live in the east Texas Piney Woods region. We get 26"-28" of rainfall, mild winters (avg. 40's, rarely below 32, never below 28F), and very hot summers (high 90's, up to 110F). It's a heavily forested region (as the name implies) with high humidity and rainfall.

I'm trying to find a bamboos that is tall, dense, and has low-growing foliage. I'm trying to plant a screen about 100m long with breaks. I wouldn't mind having a runner, but considering how long this will be I am hesitant to dig a 100m long trench and would prefer a clumper.

I'm looking at Bambusa textilis and Bambusa multiplex. Nothing I've looked at seems to fit all three requirements (tall, dense, low-growing foliage), but if I had to sacrifice one of these it would be low foliage in favor of density, or density in favor of low, dense foliage.

Are there any good cultivars like this? What can and should I grow in my climate?

Thank you!

If you provide a little more specificity on where you live, I probably can be of more help. East Texas should get 40+ inches of precipitation per year, and I am not aware of anywhere in the Pineywoods that does not get below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Even the Houston area has been briefly down below 20 degrees in recent years. Most of the areas in East Texas that are in zone 8b have seen temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit multiple times in the last 10 years.

I have grown many types of bamboo in an 8b area just west of the Pineywoods, so I can give you a pretty good idea of your options. Putting aside the above climate questions, here is my general answer for someone that says that they live in the Texas Pineywoods:

The climate and soils make this a great area for growing temperate climate bamboos. Most running bamboos will thrive, so you have many options. The easiest to obtain and least expensive option is Phyllostachys aurea, Golden Bamboo. Most older groves in Texas consist of this species, and it is frequently possible to find divisions for free. This variety does have the low branches that make it a good screening plant, especially if it is not grown in the shade. This is a very enthusiastic grower, and you would certainly want to research the control of running bamboos before planting it. Golden Bamboo, and many other Phyllostachys species, can advance 20 feet of more in a single year, so they must be planted with caution. Having said that, there are many nice screens around Texas where this species is used successfully, and controlled with no more than normal lawn mowing around the perimeter of the grove. While many people disparage Golden Bamboo because it is common and very vigorous, it is probably the BEST screening bamboo for much of Texas, in areas that are too cold to grow clumping varieties. If you plant individual divisions at 10 feet apart, they will form a solid screen in about three years, with reasonable care.

As for clumping bamboos, I would not consider anything other than Bambusa multiplex for a 100 meter long screen in a true zone 8b area of Texas. I have seen Bambusa textilis and its form Bambusa textilis var. gracilis damaged severely on multiple occasions by winter cold. They are worth growing for a collector, as the plants will perform well during stretches of mild winters, but most people do not want a screen that is badly damaged during many winters. A little farther south in 9a, these varieties are great screening options.

I have never seen Bambusa multiplex sustain any severe damage in Texas zone 8b. The most I have seen is probably 10% leaf burn, so I consider this species a pretty safe bet. If you alternate between 'Green Hedge', 'Silverstripe', and 'Alphonse Karr' you can provide a little visual variety, and insure yourself somewhat against a mass flowering event. If you have deep soil, consistent soil moisture during the summer and fall, and you fertilize well, these plants can get 20+ feet tall. Shade will reduce their density somewhat, but it will also provide a measure of cold protection. 'Alphonse Karr' probably has a little less tendency to produce low branches than do the other varieties.

One thing that I do want to point out to anyone in Texas considering running versus clumping bamboos is the following:

If you live in an area away from the coast that typically is pretty dry in the summer, and you have droughty soils, running varieties are better adapted. They can take advantage of the late winter/early spring precipitation by producing their shoots early. By the time it gets hot and dry, the year's shoots are hardened and can survive until rains return. Clumping bamboos do not generally start shooting until it is typically fairly hot and dry in much of Texas. If you do not have soil with a great moisture reserve, and there is not much rain, it will take a large amount of irrigation water all summer for the plants to mature their shoots. Undeveloped shoots tend to get winterkilled.

The above phenomenon is pretty significant in Central Texas. Unirrigated running bamboo groves will often naturalize without any care once they are established, while established clumping bamboos will sulk or gradually dwindle away once irrigation is discontinued, because they do not get the combination of high moisture and high temperatures that they need. In fact, the typical rainfall patterns in much of Texas are really more suitable for some running bamboos than others. One of the reasons that Golden Bamboo is so successful in Texas is that it shoots earlier than many other species, so it tends to successfully mature more shoots in more years than do other varieties. Late shooters tend to run out of water before the shoot crop is hardened, thus the shoots die during the summer. Also, once it gets dry, bamboo shoots and soft culms are more appealing to hungry animals, so the late shooters tend to suffer more herbivore damage.

On the other hand, if you live near the coast and on deep soils, clumping bamboos may be superior. They can take the periodic flood events better than their running cousins, and the deep coastal soils provide enough moisture reserve for the plants to shoot normally in most years. Of course, the clumpers are also easier to control.

I will mention another running bamboo that can make a great screen, and is extremely well adapted to Texas conditions: Semiarundinaria fastuosa. It has a tendency to produce new shoots in clumps around older culms. If you enhance this tendency by removing shoots that spread outside of the desired area, you can encourage the plant to make very dense growth. In East Texas, it will require no irrigation once established.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:39 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
Sorry for temp post hijack! - Glen, I know Alan in Harligen grows this but have you seen Dendrocalamus sp. 'Maroochy' in your area? I'm tempted to try one, it is a looker!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:28 am
Posts: 233
Location: Southeast Texas, Zone 9a
I have not seen it, as far as I can recall. I wish I could grow this genus, but I have not worked up the nerve to try many of the more cold sensitive bamboos. This area is just too prone to short cold snaps that limit success with anything more cold sensitive than Bambusa oldhamii. Most of the Dendrocalamus that I knew of around Houston have been winter damaged so much recently that they died or have been removed. I will keep an eye out, and let you know if I see one.


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