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How to go about growing bamboo in a fairly small plot?

 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1064
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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ok, so i have 2 acres in USDA zone 4b and want to plant some bamboo this first year and here is why:
fast growing windbreak, faster than most trees anyway
edible shoots
wood resource for selling to a construction company i used to work for, when they get a bamboo floor job or something
for use making furniture to sell
visual barrier between the nearby public park(other side of a grid-wire fence, NOT chainlink, like squares of wire or whatever)
noise barrier to an extent, the park gets pretty noisey when they have soccer tournaments
a big, SCREW YOU to anyone who thinks i cant grow exotic plants such as bamboo( finances aside this is a big motivator)
hopefully i can find good companion plants for it as well that uses the bamboo as a trellis or something

now i am hoping to grow three varieties, black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra), fishing pole bamboo(Phyllostachys aureosulcata), and Japanese Timber Bamboo (Phyllostachys bambusoides) these are all to be found at TyTy nursery, does anyone have experience buying from them? or with these varieties?
my concern is this, i want to somewhat control where these grow and don't want them overtaking my yard and CERTAINLY do not want them creeping into my neighbors yard, unles they request me to
so how does one go about stopping bamboo from overtaking an area? do i have to bury guides in the ground to prevent the rhizomes from spreading everywhere? or is there some other low maintenance method perhaps?
 
Isaac Hill
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Posts: 356
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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TyTy is a notoriously bad nursery. I suggest researching whichever nursery you buy from on Dave's Garden Watchdog: http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/
 
Daniel Morse
Posts: 248
Location: SW Michigan
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I grew bamboo in my yard in SoCal, in the desert. I used waster water and like. It needs a lot of water, just to let you know. It grew amazing fast. I know of people I knew who use it with the grey and dark water. It cleans up the water. So, the more poop the more bamboo. It has an amazing root system that once in is hard to get out. I could not dig it out once it was in the hardpan of the desert. It is still there. Dead, but still there after many years.

In a wet climate it can grow as fast as you cut it. So I do not know about control. If its in a pond or a tank system you should be ok. But planted in swampy area you might be buying more trouble than its worth.

I want to grow a bunch to use a fire starter this winter. Any ideas folks?
 
Jason Matthew
Posts: 66
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If you are in zone 4b, then Phyllostachys bisseti is about the only timber bamboo that will grow in your area. It is rated as a zone 5 plant. You might get yellow groove to grow as well. The bambusoides will be a big disappointment in your climate, and will probably die during its first winter. The same will happen with the nigra.

You might be better served with hybrid willows in you climate zone. They will accomplish a lot of what you are wanting.
 
Daniel Morse
Posts: 248
Location: SW Michigan
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Hello guys and gals. I wanted you all to know I just conferred with the guys hanging out at Scotts Country Store and Deli, here in Scotts, MI. I asked the guys about the bamboo. They all had a bamboo story. Here in SW Michigan they told me it will grow like crazy all summer. Then each of them had a horror story. One in particular. A certain Frank Loyd Wright house in Kalamazoo had bamboo take over. It had gotten so bad it knocked in a bit of the foundation. Frank made beautiful houses. However, materials and structure was not always built the best. I was told that part of the foundation had to be knocked out and rebuilt. Hmmmmm, something to think about.

The guys told me it must be contained in a pool or something to prevent the roots from spreading. I asked what kind would do best? I then got the "stupid ***" look from them. Like the mother ship had landed behind me. There is more kinds of Bamboo? We were at the end of bamboo stories. Then we talked about Rocket Heaters. Bamboo was quickly forgotten.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1064
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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thanks for the warning on TyTy, i was concerned because they didn't look quite professional to me, thats why i asked, so thanks
i have heard of burying a steel plate down to 2 feet, would this be sufficient?
not growing near a house where im planting it but if i don't control it then im sure it will eventually
 
Mike Turner
Posts: 302
Location: Upstate SC
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You could try growing Fargesia nitida and F. murielae, which are clumping (non-running) bamboo that are cold hardy to -20F. They get about 12 feet high. You can check the Bamboo Species Source List at the American Bamboo Society website for a list of bamboo species and nurseries that sell them.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1064
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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i have considered clumping varieties but thought of two issues with them
1) have to buy more to make a good windblock, whereas with running bamboo i can buy less and let it fill in
2) running bamboo is supposedly going to produce tastier shoots for edibles, at least that is what i have heard...
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I have used hosehold oil tanks with the top and bottom rounded parts cut off as a bamboo root barrier . The metal extends about 3 feet deep and completely surrounds the plantings. This was done for customers who wanted bamboo in the center of the landscape.

For my own purposes, I will only grow clumpers or running varieties planted in areas with concrete or natural barriers such as rock outcrops. My property is in a semi-wilderness area near a river. I won't grow any bamboo within 300 feet of the river since washed away clumps could invade the river banks and esturary beyond. This has happened to many other rivers where bamboo is a noxious weed. The Hawaiian Islands and Puerto Rico will probably never erradicate escaped bamboo. There are many other wild places throughout the world with similar infestations.

I expect the growing of bamboo to be the most dangerous thing I ever do on the farm, from an environmental point of view. But people want this stuff. They might as well buy it from someone who understands and preaches the risks. I'll do my best to educate buyers and I'll only supply idiots with large clumping varieties.

I started a thread a few months back about invasive species businesses. The harvest of bamboo is probably the one with the greatest potential in North America due to the extent and likely spread of this problem and the resource value of the canes.
 
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