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bamboo in a forest garden?

 
Tea Tate
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Please, could you say a little about bamboo, which varieties are edible, is it easy to order them, if you have any experiences, how fast does a specific variety grow, where to plant them, which neighbouring plants are good bamboo friends and how to control their growth? Thank you very much.
 
Marie Shurts
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I live in central Wisconsin and would love to grow bamboo but not sure what type is suitable for my area, any suggestions?
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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The following will grow according to http://perennialvegetables.org/perennial-vegetables-for-each-climate-type/cold-temperate-east-midwest-and-mountain-west/
Phyllostachys spp. running bamboos
Sasa kurilensis chishima-zasa bamboo
Semiarundinaria fastuosa temple bamboo

Someone asked a similar question a few days ago, ppl also posted a few vendor source for Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, etc.
Hopefully it will be of some help to you.
http://www.permies.com/t/20055/plants/types-bamboo-grow-southern-ohio#169664
 
laura sharpe
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http://www.bamboogarden.com/cold%20hardy%20bamboo.html

Above is a list of bamboos hardy to zone 5. there is so much more to think about. How tall would you like your bamboo. What thickness would yu like the shoots (do you want bamboo poles for building or just staking up a tree and some tomatoes). How much sunlight will they get.

I do not know what is edible and i would like such a list

That is the sight i bought my bamboo from, it has many growing tips including a section on how to keep bamboo from spreading too far.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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You can find on line catalogs. Bamboo vendors tell if a variety is edible and the temperatures they are adapted to.
 
Mark Shepard
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I'm a pretty big fan of imitating our natural ecosystems first and doing so in order to provide ourselves with our staple foods: the carbohydrates, proteins and oils. The way I figure it, until we Permacutlurists are actually FEEDING ourselves, why play around with non-native nibble-snacks. In my midwestern oak-savanna mimic, there is really nothing that bamboo would provide me with that I can't get from other more native plants, so I just don't know much about bamboo...
What I DO know, in dealing with it on many of my clients farms, is PLEASE! Don't get the aggressively running type... If you do plant it on Mars or something... I've been working with folks in the Mid-Atlantic area that are getting slaughtered by bamboo. Goats and pigs might be the only way to save them from being totally unworkably over run. One of the COOL things that I saw bamboo doing (I think it was in Virginia) was it was totally destroying a tennis court at a country club... They mowed it, hit it with herbicide and it kept coming back and heaving the pavement!

Sorry...Bamboo doesn't impress me...
 
osker brown
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Location: Southern Appalachia
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I'd agree, but River Cane (the only native bamboo) was an incredibly important aspect of the entire southeast prior to colonization, and even for early European settlement. Most bottomland was covered in cane breaks, which provided winter feed and cover for the massive heards of Bison, Elk, etc. Cane breaks are currently an endangered ecosystem.

My feeling is that with petrol decline it will be increasingly stupid to devote bottomlands to hay production, so reintroducing River Cane could be very smart.

peace
 
laura sharpe
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Ok let me say a few things about controling bamboo. I have one he would likely call an aggressive running type and he is right, it does need to be controled (i wish i could have bought clumping but i live in zone 6).

There is two popular ways to control it, one is to put a barrier and this must be deep...i speak of over 2 foot deep (.7 m) or yu can simply dig an 8 inch deep by 8 inch wide trench around the bamboo and fill it with something the bamboo like to grow into, sand or some mulches, then the bamboo will send its attempts to spread right into the trench. YOu take a spade and cut off the bamboo runners in the trench two or three times a year (three times in more temperate climates than mine.

Bamboo has much of its energy stored under the ground, if you cut off bamboo to kill it, it will simply grow back. You can kill it in the manner but you must cut it back more than once...serveral times til it gives up. If you spray bamboo with weed killers meant for lawns, it will laugh at yu...it too is a grass and will not be effected.

He is also right about keeping it back from things you do not want to see it growing under your sidewalk or tennis courts. If the people who wanted to kill it before it reached the tennis courts had actually dug out the bamboo as it reached the courts they could have saved them.

Now I have seen many people here are growing invasive species such as comfrey and Jerusalem artichokes...these too need more than a suggestion to kill. When dealing with plants, sometimes you just have to know what you are doing.

I like bamboo, it is infinitely renewable, it is hard enough to build with and can be made soft enough to weave with. It gives shade and support to things yu want to shade and support (for me this is a southwest wall). You can build a house or a fence with bamboo...it is a beautiful plant and a beautiful durable building material. Just please, dont ignore it too long and if you do, take the time to kill it off.

There was indigenous bamboo in the Americas all the way north to Maryland. If it was really all that hard to kill, it would still be there. Just know that this is a plant which spreads. I need to shove a spade into a trench in july and late september to cut off runners then dig them out of loose sand, i know this and i do the work willingly and i reap the benefits as well. Like most things there is a dark side to the good side.
 
David Benfield
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Hi all, this is my first post after lurking for more than a year. After 15 years in permaculture I finally narrowed my focus to bamboo when I realized that it is by far the most sustainable resource in the world. Here in NC I started a company 3 years ago to farm other people's bamboo by managing and containing it. I also have a bamboo nursery, bamboo pole business, and a bamboo farming consultation company. We've started three bamboo farms and have four more going in this year.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about bamboo and how to contain it, but I don't want us permies to be a source of misinformation. There are several methods for containing bamboo, but the one I use most often in residential settings is called a rhizome barrier. It's not ideal for all situations, notably a heavily wooded area, but in most cases it is the most foolproof and maintenance-light (15 minutes per year) solution. I wish I could point to my own website for a guide on how to do it but I'm still putting that together so for now I'd recommend my friends over at Bamboo Garden: http://www.bamboogarden.com/barrier.htm. Do not use pond liners, galvanized metal, concrete, or any of the other ridiculous solutions I hear about. I may be the most experienced person in the country containing bamboo: I've installed thousands of feet of this stuff for dozens of clients and let me tell you, it works.

Now, in terms of the viability of bamboo for America, most people, even in permaculture, don't realize what it's capable of. I sincerely believe bamboo is one of the greatest hopes for America in terms of food production, timber production, biomass applications, and to a lesser extent medicinal value, textiles, etc. It hold significant solutions for our environment, economy, health, and communities. Edible bamboo shoots are one of the most nutritious vegetables out there: one of the top 10 foods for weight loss, 3rd highest in potassium, high in trace minerals, protein, and amino acids; it's anti-cancer, lowers blood pressure, and lowers cholesterol. And at 2-5 tons per acre per year of harvestable shoots, it's a little more than a "nibble snack" - it's a serious agricultural crop. The past two years we've been selling to restaurants and this year we'll be in grocery stores. That's coming from a plant that doesn't require fertilizer, replanting, insect control, or irrigation all while it controls erosion, creates 60% more oxygen and 200% more biomass than trees, is a rapid soil builder, etc. We haven't even talked about timber, which is stronger than steel, more flexible than carbon fiber, and matures in 3-4 years against semi-comparable (but inferior) hardwoods that mature at 30+ years. 2-5 tons edible shoots per acre per year. Significant timber yield every year - off the same grove that produced the shoots. I won't even go into biomass application, extracts, paper&pulp, etc.

In conclusion: plant bamboo. Plant it now. Have a good plan for it. Use the right varieties (yes the running type). Manage and contain it properly. Grow chickens in it - they're a match made in heaven (pull them out 120 days before harvesting shoots).

Thanks,
David Benfield
Brightside Bamboo
brightsidebamboo.com
 
David Benfield
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To answer some of the original questions:
-All bamboo is edible. Some are better than others. The variety you plant will depend on the intended use. Some have really good edible shoots, some don't. Some have really good wood quality, some don't. Here in NC some get to 5" in diameter and 70', but you may need smaller poles. Most the bamboo you see in people's back yards is there from the USDA program that ran from 1898-1975. You see the same 5-6 varieties over an over. The most common, making up about 90% of the bamboo in my area are P. aurea (golden) P. aureasulcata (yellow groove) and Ps. japonica (arrow). None of these are in my top 10 for a farm setting. The shoots from aurea and aureasulcata has be pretty good though. Any timber bamboo (3"+ diameter) is useful though. The 3 varieties of timber you normally see are P. bambusoides (Japanese timber) P. vivax (vivax) and P. nigra 'henon' (henon)
-Bamboo tends to be an expensive plant b/c it's hard to dig up (they only go to seed about every 100 years) so most cuttings are clones hand-dug from groves. It's backbreaking work. Make sure you order them from a good bamboo nursery - they're almost always mislabeled at other nurseries. You can check the source list of the American Bamboo Society here: American Bamboo Society
-most Phyllostachys bamboo will prefer full sun. Most will tolerate partial sun and partial shade. It will spread toward where there is the most sun, high organic matter, and good water (but not soggy).
-any companion plant should be temporary as the bamboo will eventually out-compete it. I like cheap n-fixers like clover.
-control growth: if you have the space, control with a buffer zone where all shoots 25' around grove are harvested and eaten. If you're limited on space, use a proper rhizome barrier or rhizome trap (root pruning). Natural barrier include creeks with year-round water, sometimes steep hills/ditches, concrete driveways that are wide enough and assume the bamboo has other places to spread.
-there are varieties that grow up into Canada, but the lower your hardiness zone, the more restricted you are on varieties and the smaller those species will grow compared to warmer zones. If you're wanting to farm it, zone 7 & 8 are ideal. The ABS has on complete list of species.
-3 native species: Arundinaria gigantea 'gigantea' (rivercane) 'tecta' (swtichcane) 'appalachia' (mountain cane). Huge importance culturally and ecologically pre-colonization. Since bamboo is a rapid soil builder, the 'canebrakes' were the first to be taken out by European farmers. It led to the ceasing of bison migration to the area and the extinction of several animals including the Carolina parakeet and the passenger pigeon. I have a restaurant I sell to that is a neo-southern type place but bamboo fits the fill since it's been eaten here in the south for thousands of years. You can still see native bamboo throughout the southeast, but it's but a shadow of what it used to be.
-everyone always asks about clumping species, and I use them only occasionally (mostly when they're wanting an evergreen screen in a wooded area) but they're really not as well adapted to this client (zone 7). Some (bambusas) are only hardy to 12F-25F which is borderline here, and sometimes requires the appropriate microclimate. Others (fargesias) are plenty cold hardy (zone 5 or 4 I believe) but not very heat tolerant, so they need summer shade. Other clumpers, in my opinion, aren't very useful and are only appreciated by a collector. If your'e in zone 8+ clumpers become more viable, and almost all tropical bamboos (zone 9+) are clumping.


Hope that helps,
David Benfield
Brightside Bamboo
 
Sheril Carey
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I found this link on edible bamboos that some may be interested in. It sounds like it would be a matter of matching up what you can find for your zone with any other requirements you have and then you could look at this or a similar resource to see if anyone has deemed any of the possible bamboos you are interested in as "delicious". At least that is what I would do. :p

http://www.guaduabamboo.com/edible-bamboo-shoots.html

David Benfield, do you have any experience with native bamboo? I was not aware of its existence before reading this thread!

 
David Benfield
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Sorry Sheril I don't have much experience with the native bamboos besides identifying them. I haven't transplanted any but hopefully I'll bring some into my nursery this year.
 
laura sharpe
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yay someone else who grows bamboo.

I do the root pruning. any barrier for bamboo has got to be deep.

I wanted to grow clover in with my bamboo thinking to improve the soil as it spreads but i feared my neighbors would just see a weed.

I have climatis in with the bamboo...oh yeah the bamboo will kill it later but for now looks cool.
 
David Benfield
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Clumping bamboos have a little bit deeper roots, but Phyllostachys running bamboos are very shallow. They're almost always in the first 3-4 inches. I think the deepest I've ever seen is 8 inches or so, and I've dug a lot of bamboo. But to be safe we use a 30" barrier. About 24"-26" in the ground, the rest sticking up. It's more likely to hop over the barrier than go under it.

Oh, and don't buy any barrier less than 60mil. Definitely go 80 mil if you're installing a timber variety or just want to be safest. If you're doing all that work and spending all that money, might as well spend a few dollars more.

The week point is where the barrier is joined together, or if not completely surrounding the bamboo, where the barrier ends. We use heavy duty galvanized steel clamps with nuts & bolts every 2" or so and use 2 sets of clamps for each seam with about an 8" overlap on the barrier. Sometimes I"ll add an industrial double-sided tape in the middle for good measure. It's probably overkill.

 
Dori Sz. September
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Hi Guys,

One quick question: are bamboos allopathic? I would like to grow bamboos given all their amazing properties but I am a bit concerned about this issue. I've read on the net that the leaves are allopathic. It would be nice to hear the opinion of experienced people. .
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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The Poaceae family (grass) includes bamboo, corn, wheat, rice, etc, and they are not allopathic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poaceae
The Juglandaceae family includes walnut, butternut, pecans, hickory, etc, and they are allopathic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juglandaceae

Now bamboo just like any other grass is very competitive. Even more so than other grasses because they can get to height over 50ft so nothing is going to outshade and they are one of the fastest growing plant, the record is 1ft in 24hours.
 
Dori Sz. September
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Thanks a lot!

So, I'll have to be careful to manage them, but I don't have to be worried about them being allopathic.

 
Cortland Satsuma
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Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
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@David

Question: We would like to have bamboo on our Central Va property of zone 7-8 (I was from HI, so I grew up with tropical varieties). Our first planned use is this: On our NE side (high sloped side) we have natural forest that lost most of the pines and the adjoining property cleared their land 10 years ago and have a thicket of scraggly shrub / trees and uses that side as a run off wash for their 55 community development. We want the bamboo as an evergreen visual block for winter and a natural fence to keep the seniors from using that corner as their loose dog potty run. So we need something that is dense, fast growing, ok with being in an understory, we have very tall oaks, poplars, hickorys on our property edge and the bamboo would go behind them. On the community side, there is about 300 feet of land they use as the development run off catch / drainage and dump construction junk in; so they are not going to care about bamboo filling in on their side. On our side we can keep up with harvesting the extra runners and can utilize any of the primary uses, so we are open to different varieties. I have checked with "experts" and have gotten very conflicting advise on which type (or types) to plant. What is your advise?
 
Linda Kurtz
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I, too, am a newbie and have just been doing some research on bamboo.
There are two major types: the running bamboo spreads quickly and persistantly. It requires maintenance on the growers part to keep it in check. (from my conversation with the helpful gal at bamboogarden.com this requires twice a year pruning along a "channel" 8-10" deep around your bamboo) These types of bamboo can grow large enough to use in construction. The second type is clumping bamboo which spreads 7 to 10 feet and then mantains that size. The canes on this type only get 1/2 - 3/4" in NE Ohio. The runners can take more sun, the clumping bamboo requires some shade. The folks at bamboogarden.com were very helpful, willing to share info and help me decide what type of bamboo would best suit my needs.

Hope this helps,

Linda

their website is:
www.bamboogarden.com
 
Clifford Reinke
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It looks like David Benfield from above, just had a grand opening of his new nursery. Also, his website is up, he offers permaculture based design for bamboo production. Looks cool.

Brightside Bamboo

 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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I have registered to Brightside Bamboo's newletter.
Thanks David for informing us here.

I have started to grow bamboo ...from seed!
This is an Indian bamboo that seems the most adapted to dry places.
I think a dendrocalamus... ay my memory!
Water is the limit, as they need quite a lot. Then, an un-watered place around them can be the way to stop them!
 
Andi Houston
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I'm in Gainesville, FL. My husband is very into building with bamboo, so much so that we've cleared a space in our suburban "back 40" to grow some big clumping bamboos. Our local botanical gardens has an extensive bamboo collection and they sell harvested canes for $1-$2 for 5'-9' pieces so for the past year we've just been driving down there and buying a dozen at a time. Bamboo is so incredibly useful!
 
John Elliott
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Another good source is the University of Georgia's Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden in Savannah. They have a very extensive collection and occasionally have plant sales. You can find them here.
 
David Benfield
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Hi All, sorry for the delay. We've been busy with the nursery grand opening. Wow, quite a bit of action on this post recently! OK here are answers:

@Cortland - Probably many of the Phyllostachys will be good for what you're wanting to do. I'm going to be putting up some descriptions on my website soon, but right now I don't have much. A few considerations:
-Almost all Phyllostachys species will prefer full sun, and will spread to areas (all things being equal) with more sun. Most can do okay in the understory, but it really depends on how dense the shade is. If it's very shady, growth will be slow and for some varieties (particularly many of the yellow-colored ones) may be to dark for them to grow. Black bamboo probably does best in the shady areas, but it's not one of the fastest growing ones.
-Keep in mind that almost all the Phyllostachys varieties will provide good screening in the first 10 years, but as the larger timber varieties start achieving mature size (up to 70') then often their leaves go up with them so the screen in the bottom 20' may disappear over time. Sometimes this is fine, depending on the angle of sight.
-Bamboo is such a versatile plant, you'll want to try to take advantage of the poles, shoots, or both. I've just added a brief guide here: http://www.brightsidebamboo.com/nursery.html Scroll down to "use guide." Yellow groove (P. aureosculcata) is probabably the fastest growing and spreading one, but it's poles are very inferior so if you think you'll make use of them I'd go with something else. If you want a midsize variety both P. decora and P. meyeri are a nice, mid-size (30'-35'), green variety that do well in this part of the country. If you want to go bigger, I really like P. dulcis for excellent edible shoots and wood quality. P. vivax is my favorite overall for shoots and is the largest bamboo in this part of the country, but does have thin walls so the poles are good for crafts but not construction. P. nigra 'Henon' is also a good all-around timber species. P. aurea, Pseudosasa japonica, P. bissetii, and P. rubromarginata are often the best for screening, depending on your height and angle needs.
-It's okay to mix several varieties. I particularly like planting both short and tall varieties for contrast and practical screening.
-In terms of keeping bamboo in check, if you have some acreage and can afford to keep a buffer zone, I always tell people eating your bamboo is the best way to control it. Just eat all the shoots that come up past a certain line. It can only spread underground from it's photosynthesis base about as tall as it is.
-Of course, I do offer in-person or phone/internet consulting as well for details and specifics.

@Linda
-I know the people over at Bamboo Garden in OR - a great group with good information. I'm probably their top customer for the rhizome barrier. Some of their info on specific species is particular to the Pacific NW and varies a bit here in the Southeast. The same bamboo tends to get a little bigger here.
-There are a few types of clumping bamboo, so it depends on what you're talking about. In OH they're probably talking about Fargesias which do like summer shade. In zone 8+ (and maybe 7b) you can do Bambusas which like full sun with winter protection if you're in lower range zone-wise.

@Clifford - thanks!

@Xisca - Your'e welcome! Dendrocalamus is a tropical genus - many of which produce seeds much more frequently than the temperate varieties, which don't flower but every 80 years or so, on average. It varies widely from 20 years to 200 years.

@John - I can attest the Savannah site is a great place and the old hq of the old USDA bamboo program that ran from the 1890s to 1970s.

I hope this helps!


 
Paul Pilon
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Martin Crawford, in his book "How to Grow Perennial Vegetables", cites two species as being "prized" for their edibility:
1. Phylostachys dulcis aka Sweetshoot Bamboo and,
2. phylostachys edulis aka Moso Bamboo.

I hope to start one of those two this year or next at the latest.

At the 1:50 mark Martin is harvesting some shoots:
 
David Benfield
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P. dulcis (Sweetshoot) is good. P. edulis (Moso) is prized mostly b/c of the winter shoots, which require some work to get. I still think P. vivax is the best and certainly the biggest. We sell them to high-end restaurants and that's the most requested one.
 
Paul Pilon
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David Benfield wrote:P. dulcis (Sweetshoot) is good. P. edulis (Moso) is prized mostly b/c of the winter shoots, which require some work to get. I still think P. vivax is the best and certainly the biggest. We sell them to high-end restaurants and that's the most requested one.


That's good to know. Onto the shopping list it goes! Thanks!
 
S Haze
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Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
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duck forest garden trees woodworking
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If I may ask, does anyone have experience or know much about growing bamboo in cold climates? I live in USDA hardiness zone 4 or 5 depending on the version of map you're looking at.

In doing some research a while ago I seem to recall a couple varieties I could probably grow here in the right micro-climate but I seem to remember the information indicating they should be in full or at least partial shade. Finding a micro-climate that's shaded but still a little warmer may be challenging unless the shade is only needed in the summer.

Also I'm wondering if it's the above or below ground portion of the plant that is most susceptible to the cold or both.

I have a slowly seeping spring on a north facing hillside that's well shaded in the summer where the ground doesn't freeze ever but since it's a spring of course the ground is always very damp which I don't think bamboo likes much.

Any suggestions Thanks!
 
Ben Good
Posts: 27
Location: Central Ohio - Humid continental climate - USDA zone 6
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I know it's an old post but I am really interested in growing bamboo. A LOT of it. Maybe this post will get up and going some more...

Bamboo is reported to grow fast, but what sort of time frame to maturity should be expected for different types? That is edible, screening or structural types. How quickly can a larger area be propagated from just one plant?

Can larger (not just tender shoots) be fed to animals as fodder?
 
Stephen Layne
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Location: NE Ga, Zone 7b/8a
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Ben Logsdon wrote:I know it's an old post but I am really interested in growing bamboo. A LOT of it. Maybe this post will get up and going some more...

Bamboo is reported to grow fast, but what sort of time frame to maturity should be expected for different types? That is edible, screening or structural types. How quickly can a larger area be propagated from just one plant?

Can larger (not just tender shoots) be fed to animals as fodder?


I would like to point out that while individual shoots can grow quickly, it takes years for a colony of bamboo to get established in my experience. While it sizes up quickly compared to trees, it still would be at least 4 years before you are harvesting tomato stakes in any quantity. Once established, it could easily spread 20' a year towards moisture. Canes that pop up where you don't want them can be potted up and grown in partial sun for a summer. Some will live and some won't make it, but if kept well watered and fertilized the surviving ones will be viable plants ready to go in the ground that fall, or, if kept heavily mulched (12" or more) can be planted next spring. Always keep the bamboo heavily mulched, especially during winter.

P. rubromarginata is the fastest establishing and most tolerant of soil types of the running bamboos I am familiar with and is very easy to transplant to form new colonies. I have dug up sections of rhizome with a cane or two attached, plopped them on some unprepared ground, mulched heavily, kept them watered, and had a new colony form, even in full shade!

This is all based on my experience in zone 8a, I would think the bamboo will be slower to establish and spread where you are at.
 
Linda Kurtz
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Ben,
a wonderful resource is Bamboo Gardens. The website is www.bamboogardens.com. I live in zone 5 and they were able to give me all the info I needed to determine a variety of bamboo to suit my climate, needs etc.

Linda
 
Ben Good
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Location: Central Ohio - Humid continental climate - USDA zone 6
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Linda, great resource. Thank you. Just to clarify, the site is bamboogarden.com If you add an "s" it takes you to the wrong place.
 
Cj Sloane
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Ben Logsdon wrote:
Can larger (not just tender shoots) be fed to animals as fodder?


Yes, most definitely. It's a grass, after all.

I will plant some this year for just that purpose!
 
Jay Angler
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I've loved bamboo since I visited Japan decades ago. Despite/because of my partner's concern about "invasiveness", I choose my varieties carefully. I started one patch with P. dulcis because of it's edibility coupled with growing large enough to build something more substantial than tomato stakes, mixed in with P.nidularia farcta. The "farcta" part is supposed to be solid stem rather than hollow. The dulcis has done well, but the nidualaria has struggled at least in part because of a mite. I've since been given what I believe to be P. nigra and after a couple of "not happy" locations, it is thriving.
Three things I didn't spot in this thread:
1. A trick for containing bamboo is to make sure the barrier slopes away from the patch at an angle - the bamboo runner will hit the sloped surface and run upward to where you can see it rather than staying underground.
2. A trick for those near the sea who want to get rid of a bamboo - it does *not* like seaweed! I knocked mine back by mistake one year by mulching one edge with seaweed instead of horse manure. I've since read of this effect in a book, so it's not just a chance occurrence.
3. It is really important to thin your bamboo to keep it open and useful. I've read that for building, 5 yr old culms harvested in the dry season, are the best. That being said, if the patch is getting crowded, I wouldn't wait that long before taking out crowded culms, because the more crowded the patch is, the harder it is to thin. Keeping the culms further apart will encourage the plant to put out larger culms also.

It's really important to decide how much space you're going to allow for your plant and what characteristics you prize and then choose your bamboo accordingly. The wrong plant in the wrong location is what has given bamboo such a bad rap! You also need to accept that it is not a "maintenance free" plant. You should grow it because you love it and want it. It isn't any more work than many things I grow, but it does need some supervision. Last spring was the first time the wild rabbits appeared to discover that the dulcis shoots tasted good and I had to erect a barrier. I don't know if they discovered this on their own, or the Muscovy ducks I rescued taught them. Either way, this spring the portable fence will go up when the weather turns warm.
 
Cj Sloane
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If anyone hasn't watched geoff lawton's video The Power of Bamboo you should and check out the thread.
Here's a preview:
 
Cj Sloane
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I just remembered Bill Mollison's trick for containing bamboo - plant it on a island where it will be marooned.
 
Linda Kurtz
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Thanks, Ben.

I posted my top 5 "Must Do's" for 2014 in another forum. Purchasing clumping bamboo, getting it sited and happy was #6! I'm told in Zone 5 that the clumping variety for my area needs some shade in hottest part of the day.
We'll have to compare notes at the end of the season. Good luck fellow bamboo growers.
 
Rusty Shackleford
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osker brown wrote:I'd agree, but River Cane (the only native bamboo) was an incredibly important aspect of the entire southeast prior to colonization, and even for early European settlement. Most bottomland was covered in cane breaks, which provided winter feed and cover for the massive heards of Bison, Elk, etc. Cane breaks are currently an endangered ecosystem.

My feeling is that with petrol decline it will be increasingly stupid to devote bottomlands to hay production, so reintroducing River Cane could be very smart.

peace


Kudos for the river cane suggestion. The decline of cane came in the early 19th century. With the removal of indigenous peoples, land was opened up for grazing and settlement, and many hectares along waterways were cleared out. We have a fair bit of feral bamboo where I live in Tidewater Virginia, to my dismay.
 
Jay Angler
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Has anyone had any experience with a Fargesia near cedar? I need more shade for mine, and most of my shade is near cedar. It's currently in a half-buried pot. One possibility is that I cut it in half and try half of it in the cedar location, and leave the other half where it is for the time being. It's not terribly happy in its current spot, but it's not dieing either! I could at least grow something like beans up a trellis to shade it in the current spot although there's not a lot of space there.
Thanks Jay
 
Cj Sloane
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My bamboo has arrived! I've got 3 different types, Blue Fountain, Green Panda, and Umbrella & I'll try them out in 3 different spots.

Here's a good article on How to Plant Bamboo and its Application in Creek Restoration and here the video that goes with the article:
 
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