Gardening with Bamboo
Myths and facts
A misconception about bamboo is that they spread like wildfire. This is not entirely true as only a some species of bamboo will be invasive. Spreading, however, can easily be controlled if it becomes a problem. Many people also think that bamboos will die when the temperature falls below freezing. This myth is also false.
Designing with bamboo
Bamboos can create a wall or screen to provide privacy, used in containers for your deck, terrace or patio, or create a bamboo forest, maze or retreat - whatever you like!
Bamboos compliment perennials and annuals well and can be used as a background or an accent plant or low border depending on the variety of bamboo used.
Bamboos are actually a grass colony plant with over 1200 species world wide. Approximately 200 species can be grown without complications in North America.
Additional information about bamboo
Certain species of bamboos are runners while others grow in clumps. Some bamboos have narrow leaves and others have wide leaves. When the main stem (known as culms or canes) emerge from the ground or media, they sprout at the diameter they will remain into maturity. Successive clumps will emerge with wider and taller than previous season's.
The clum is typically hollow except at the nodes, the area where horizontal branches grow. A rhizome is a horizontal "creeping" stem on or just above the ground, from which new shoots grow and roots descend.
Running bamboo's rhizomes may spread a considerable distance from the mother plant. On the contrary, clumping bamboos grow in-place and do not spread out as much (some pruning may be necessary).
Selecting a variety of bamboo
Bamboos have two types of root systems. First are the runners, which is found in temperate environments and is known as runners. The second types are the "clumpers" which are typically found in tropical varieties. This variety will also spread, however, it's not as invasive and only requires pruning to control.
Bamboos are available in various heights and can be trimmed if it gets too tall. A general rule is that taller bamboos require more sunlight than smaller varieties. Tall-growing varieties, like the yellow groove prefers several hours daily, while a smaller variety may tolerate partly shaded environments well.
During the spring, the leaves will yellow and fall from the plant. The loss is gradual as with other types of plants and the leaves are replaced with new foliage.
Healthy bamboos should have a combination of yellow leaves, new unfurling leaves, and green leaves. If the foliage is yellowing, falling off and shows no signs of new growth then the bamboo is possibly saturated in water. If the leaves are crisp then it's possible the bamboo is quite dry and needs water immediately.
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