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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:31 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Longboat Key, FL
Good afternoon--

I posted on here a few months back about an abnormally high tide surge (zone 10a, island in FL off of Gulf of Mexico) that caused irreparable damage to my B. e. Flavidorivens that had been thriving. Sadly, it died after a steady decline.

To prevent this from happening in the future, I have built up that side of my yard with double-stacked railroad ties and filled the area with literally tons of dirt. At the very left of the attached photos you will note the black Lako/Timor bamboo that I had the foresight to plant in a 6' x 6' box made of 2x12 pressure-treated lumber. Next to that you will see (L to R) a new 20gal Emeiensis Flavidorivens, a new 20gal Emeiensis Viridiflavus, and a 20gal Bambusa Chungii that I planted @6 months back that miraculously suffered no damage from being submerged in 100% salt water for many hours at a time over the course of 2 days.

The blue chungii--that I actually dug out two weekends ago to raise up to the height of the new bed with added dirt--looks green and healthy. The two emeiensis bamboos, however, are showing yellow leaves that have me worried.

I have been watering @5 times per week since having planted these two weeks ago. Is overwatering the cause? The fact that the landscapers buried the root balls under @8" of dirt? That I put organic potting soil in the bottom of the holes before transplanting? That temps got to the mid-40s for a few nights last week? Is this just standard transplanting shock, in which case these will bounce back and I have nothing to worry about?

Any/all advice welcomed. Thank you!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:28 am
Posts: 256
Location: Southeast Texas, Zone 9a
ZZZ wrote:
Bambusa Chungii that I planted @6 months back that miraculously suffered no damage from being submerged in 100% salt water for many hours at a time over the course of 2 days.
I have had this species submerged for much longer periods under fresh water, but the fact that yours survived salt water so easily is quite interesting to me. I would have expected at least severe salt damage.

ZZZ wrote:
Is overwatering the cause? The fact that the landscapers buried the root balls under @8" of dirt? That I put organic potting soil in the bottom of the holes before transplanting? That temps got to the mid-40s for a few nights last week? Is this just standard transplanting shock, in which case these will bounce back and I have nothing to worry about?

It is hard to say for certain what is happening, but you can rule out temperature. You were way above the cold damage threshold for these plants.

The only way I would say it is "standard" transplant shock is if the plants lost a lot of roots right before or during planting. For instance, if a pot was heavily rooted into the ground, and then cut loose right before sale. This could cause the plant to drop some leaves, but is generally not of long term significance.

The other reasons (overwatering, burying the rootballs, organic matter under the rootball) are all possible problems. Where I live, if these plants were almost anything other than tropical bamboos, they would certainly all die. Deep planting alone will kill most woody plants, and many running bamboos, here. If the soil is very well drained, or in the case of some plants that can self-layer, you might get away with this. Buried organic matter and overwatering work synergistically with deep planting to create a very effective way to eliminate oxygen from the soil, and kill plant roots.

Tropical bamboos are about as resistant to the above problems as anything, but it does not sound like a great situation to me. It is possible that these plants will adapt and get some roots near the surface. They will then set their own depth for future shoots. However, I will say that I have been in your position in the past. After losing many plants, I have learned to generally avoid planting below grade. If these were at my house, I would not sleep well until I had dug them up and reset them at grade. The only way you will know for certain whether they will be alright is to leave them alone, but this risks more root death every day. Left alone, at some point they will either shoot or die. If you are losing roots, and you wait too long, it may be too late to save them. You can always dig the worst looking one. If the roots are obviously dying, or the soil smells anaerobic, you will know to dig the others.

If I understand you correctly, they are in a raised bed, but set deeply, so the roots are actually still above the level of the surrounding ground. This may afford you some measure of protection, but I would still be worried. You can back off on the watering for now, but if these plants really are drowning because of deep planting, what happens if you get a very rainy summer? In my case, many plants die :( .


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:31 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Longboat Key, FL
Thank you. I did pull them up over the weekend--naturally they hadn't rooted yet--and raised them back up. The leaves already look much better.

Predicting an unusual low of 35º tonight; hope my B. Lako/Chungii/Emeiensis and Dendrocalamus Minor are all ok...


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:27 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:28 am
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Location: Southeast Texas, Zone 9a
I am glad to hear that they are looking better. Bambusa chungii and B. emeiensis can take temperatures to the mid 20's Fahrenheit without much harm, so they will not even be close to damage temperatures. I have not grown Dendrocalamus minor, but I have been told by people with experience that it is the hardiest of the genus, so I would not expect damage on this either. Bambusa lako is not very cold tolerant, but I would not expect damage at 35 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have no wind, it is possible that you will get very minor frost damage to this one, but I would not expect much.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:31 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Longboat Key, FL
Thanks Glen:

You were correct in that the temperature dipped to 34º for a few hours, but none of my bamboo shows ill effects from it.

I am still amazed by the hardiness of the Bambusa Chungii (blue bamboo) in that it was submerged in 100% salt water for many hours over the course of 3 days back in October, and then I dug it up when I re-landscaped last month to raise the entire corner of my property. Though my Emeiensis F was killed off, the leaves on the B. Chungii have remained bright green throughout.


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