Saturday, February 5, 2011

What's that poking out of the ground? Bamboo shooting season is almost here.

For a 'Bamboo Geek' like me it's an exciting time of year.  Late Winter/early Spring is the time of year when running bamboo starts shooting brand new culms (canes).

Culms come out and look nothing like their eventual final form.  Bright colors, spots, interesting forms all make 'shoot watching' an interesting obsession.  If there were a 'plant watching' hobby (like bird watching) staring at fresh bamboo as it emerges from the ground would be top on the list, at least for someone like me (yes, I know - very strange).

So... with great anticipation, I present my predictions for when the new shoots will emerge from the ground here in the Sacramento area.  This assumes moderate temperatures like we have had recently prevail; and some moderate precipitation continues as well.  Other conditions that can influence shooting are - fertilization and sun exposure, so expectations should be somewhat tempered based on the conditions of your garden.  This is a list of some of the more popular running bamboo varieties that I expect to shoot soon:

Early shooters - right now: 

Pleiobalstus viridistriatus 'Dwarf Greenstripe'

Pleioblastus fortunei 'Dwarf Whitestripe'

Pleioblastus pygmaeus 'Pygmy Bamboo'

Phylostachys edulis 'Moso' (Giant Timber Bamboo) - March 7 - 14 (pictured above)

Phylostachys aurea 'Spectabilis' (there is alot of "Golden Bamboo', a close cousin of 'Spectabilis', growing in the Sacramento area, especially up in Placer County) - April 1 - 8 (pictured above).

Phylostachys nigra 'Black Bamboo' (Sacramentan's love Black Bamboo) - April 15 - 30

Phylostachys nigra 'Leopard-Skin Bamboo' - April 15 - 30 (pictured above).

Hibanobambusa tranquillans 'Shiroshima' - May 15 - 22

If you are a Bamboo Geek, you will enjoy this time of year,  Sacramento is a great place to grow bamboo - decent rainfall, lots of sun and plenty of opportunities to use running bamboo (contained is suggested).  Be it in a container or planted with a rhizome barrier, keep your eyes open the next few weeks, something may be emerging from the garden floor from a long winter's sleep.  Enjoy it, it is quite a sight.

Mad Man Bamboo
(916) 300-6335
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Twitter: @madmanbamboo

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