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IN my personal experience with black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) it is near impossible to kill. All you did was basically cut off a branch. THe bamboo is still very much alive and will regrow more culms soon. I don't know about Seattle, but in So Cal this is NOT a slow species.
I'm new here (and it's really cool!) so I just saw this question. I've cut down and transplanted p. nigra, and had gorgeous new culms, turning ravishingly black, within 18 months. The new culms were definitely bigger than "newbie" size, though not as big as they might have been prior to cutting and transplanting.
I am in a similar region of weather in Ohio. I purchased a pot of black bamboo last year for my yard. It was top killed this winter, but it is very much alive. I want it to spread to fill in a corner of my lot, but am afraid not it will pop up all over creation now. I have been told that when bamboo is top killed that it has a tendancy to run. It is still early and I have no new stalks yet. I will keep you advised. Mine was only noted as black bamboo, but the stalks turned ebony black in a matter of a couple months not a couple of years as has been noted. I think it might be a sub variety that only gets about 20 feet tall. I came across the name somewhere, but can't remember it.
I've grown bamboo for years and that's the first time I've ever heard the idea that topkilling makes bamboo run. If that were true, why wouldn't we see large groves of bamboo in marginal bamboo growing zones? It's true that Black bamboo is a runner, but I doubt that your weather will do anything but slow it down. If you want to be sure that it stays where you want it you can either trench around it and install bamboo barrier (a specialty product which you can find doing a Google search), or you can rhizome prune, which simply means chopping down about 8-10" with a sharp shovel all around the perimeter you want to maintain. Do this once or twice a year in the late fall. Any runners that you chop through will turn into worm food and are unlikely to regenerate beyond the chop line. If you do get any stray shoots coming up, just snap them off at the soil line before they get big. Make friends with your bamboo and don't be afraid of it!
Lol...I am not afraid of it. I am giving it free reign. It is something I read somewhere. I have not been able to find the source however. Thankyou very much for the advice. Thanx Kudzu. 1rst year 3 small stalks. This year already 9 stalks starting to pop out of the ground through the mulch!
Hey, Kudzu! Thanx from me, too. Have 15-20' high running bamboo to plant in 20' strip (minimum), block light from neighbor's sodium vapor horror. Suppose strip should be at least 4' wide. ??? Have been sweating over containment. If 10" rhizome prune is enough, then maybe my small tiller would do the job -- goes down to 10". Easier than fighting with barriers, I should think; and if I'm willing to let the stuff scoot a little farther, change the cutting path. Comments?
If you run the tiller around the perimeter you want, then you should get most of it. To be safe, you can always go down a little bit further with the shovel once you're run the tiller around and loosened up the soil. Even if you miss something, you'll see the new shoots coming up and it would be pretty easy to figure out where to chop to sever the fugitive.
I went to the store to get some black bamboo and could not afford it @ 100.00 for a gallon pot. If yours run's away from you, save me a part for postage. Mybe ???? Will trade if I have anything. Just got started last year on gardening. Thought it would look good on one end of the pond.
That's a ridiculous price to be asked to pay for Black bamboo. A reasonable price for that size is $15-25. You are in a place where bamboo is not readily available, which probably explains the price gouging. There are many fine bamboo growers that ship plants for a modest fee. Here is one:
One other thing. I see you're talking about planting bamboo by a pond. If it's a natural pond, that's fine, because water is a natural barrier. But, if it's an artificial pond with a flexible liner, running bamboo has been known to send rhizomes under the liner and then come up and pierce it. You should use in-ground bamboo barrier with a runner (such as black bamboo) if it's anywhere close to an artificial pond.
All these posts are such a wealth of knowledge. I have been thinking of trying black bamboo for awhile now. Think I would have any luck in the 7-8 zone in MS? Very humid, very hot and not many days of freeze but also, not tropical. What do you think? Also, if anyone out there has any they are cutting back to control I would LOVE to have some starts of a proven grower. Can do SASE (pay for box and all) or trade. Please let me know and thanks for the informative thread on this species.
You should have no problems growing many bamboo, including black. I'm in Zone 8 (Pacific NW) and I've got about 25 species in the ground and all doing great. It's usually above freezing here, but we did have 3 straight days of 15 degrees F last January and it didn't damage any of my bamboo. One other thing. There really isn't exactly such a thing as a bamboo start. There are some bamboo (specifically tropical bamboo) that can be propagated from cuttings, but it takes some skill. You can't do that with black bamboo, so typically people get a field division, which is a decent sized root ball and at least one culm.
If anyone is willing to send a division with at least a culm I would be willing to pay for the shipping regardless of weight. I know these are runners so I am sure they have to be cut back. I cannot find anyone around here that sells them at any price and tired of being burned with online orders. Also willing to trade. Thanks.
Go to the ABS website (I think it's ABS.com) It's the American BAmboo Society web site and they have long lists of suppliers all over the country, many will mail you bamboo... you should be able to get a gal of phyllostachys nigra for about $10. Maybe a 20gal pot would be over $80, but I sure wouldn't pay more than that.
There are many kinds of black bamboo... only one is called Phyllostachys nigra, though. There are several clumping species of black bamboo that will never send a runner, that probably would grow great in your climate. You probably have one of those kind... unless your phyllostachys is never watered or sickly or you're growing it in concrere.
I would guess that you have a running version of black bamboo as these are the most common and affordable. It's not uncommon to not see runners for several years while a plant establishes itself. However, do you also mean you don't have any new shoots/culms? If it has really been three full years without any obvious growth, I'm thinking it's not getting enough water or nutrients.
Kudzu, there have been two or three canes, they start out green and turn black, so I'm thinking it's the running kind. They aren't fat, they are skinny canes and only one or two new ones per year and no more than 3 ft tall.
Hmmm... still sounds like a clumper. I had a 1 gal Phyllostachys nigra (cost about $12 at the time) and in just two years it was about 5'X 15' spread... not really dense... but to the point I had to start hacking it back a bit. Now, 6 years later, it's a massive clump and already in just about all the planters nearby (20-25' away). All the black bamboo species I have seen grow up green and later turn black, by the way.
All of the black bamboos start as green shoots that darken over a period of months. Exposure to sunlight seems to excellerate the process. Besides the temperate species P.nigra, tropical species include Bambusa lako, Gigantochloa atroviolacia, Dendrocalamus asper Betung Hitam, and Dendrocalamus brandisii Black. Those are in the U.S. - there may be more that haven't been imported yet.
In the PlantFiles, under the catagory of Bamboo you will find a whole list of vendors specializing in bamboo. I know there are two with very good ratings here in Oregon. Their names don't come to me offhand, but both have all sorts of species of bamboo, some of them at very reasonable prices. The ones in the upper prices are usually the larger (older) clumps with more culms and of rarer species. Some of the clumper bamboos are supposed to be hardy down to -20. These are in the group Mountain Bamboos and does include the Fargisa species.
All I know is that I bought at a garden sale is Black Bamboo, How do I know what it is and where to planat it. I was told when I bought it is was a slow spreading Bamboo. I don,t know what fast or slow is with Bamboo since this is my first plant.
Just noticed the other day a tall shoot up so moved it out of screen area, but its only one tall shoot. the rest are small. Please tell me if anyone knows, how to trim
and care for this plant. I want to see the best of it.
Do you know the Latin name of yours? The one that's most commonly called black bamboo is Phyllostachys nigra, and it's a running bamboo so if you're planting it in the ground you'll need to use root barriers. Whoever told you it was a slow spreader obviously thought it was a clumping bamboo. The only clumper that comes up in Plant Files when I put in black bamboo as the common name is Bambusa lako, but some of the comments in the entry suggest that one's more rare.
I, too, have broken the culms, so they just look like clumps of grass. I could take a picture of them when they form new culms and turn dark, if you like.
I probably will have some to trade, once they get up to size, as they are small. When I planted them, I was able to divide them evenly along the fence. since my soil is hard clay, it is possible that they will spread slowly, and then will be the time I will be able to trade, unless, of course, I find another place that I want it! :-)
Previously, for me, it was too expensive as I saw it listed for more money than I wanted to pay for it.
Consider bamboo giant asparagus. Until I've been proven wrong, if you look at the culm (stalk), you can tell if you have a clumping or running (invasive) bamboo. Look for it having flat parts.
The joints are the nodes; the space between internodes.
On running bamboo, you have node, flat side left internode, node, flat side right internode, node, flat side left internode... This is as you're looking from bottom to top of the culm. The orientation may be back and front. It's not direction oriented.
Also, it's easier to walk between running bamboo as the culms are farther apart.
Clumping bamboo have no flat side. The internodes are cylindrical.
Now (Aug) is the time to make culm cuttings of clumping bamboo to propagate them.
Bamboo most varieties will regrow next season for certain! We eat the new shoots but that don"t stop em! They withstand browsing by deer and other animals. Tough and difficult to eradicate should you have a mind to. Do watch the spread as this Phyllostachys nigra, can be problematic in certain conditions even growing through concrete.
I thought that P. Nigra was a running bamboo, but I noticed that the dried culms were round. I wonder if I got the right thing, as it was just advertised as "Black Bamboo"! I will be happy either way, but it would be convenient if it didn't run all over. I recently divided the clumps and put them along the fence.
A photo will not help much right now, as they are small and the dried culms have been cut back. I just mentioned that the culms were round.
I thought that I had purchased P. nigra, but it was just listed as "Black Bamboo".