Yellow Groove Bamboo rotting?

SE Mass, MA(Zone 6b)

I have a nice stand of 5yr old Yellow Groove Bamboo - this year we had 50+ shoots and are generally very happy with it. I just noticed the other day that 5 shoots were rotted - and had apparently stopped growing at about 3' tall. They were easily knocked over - at about 12" above the ground. Nearby was a 10' tall shoot - bent over halfway. What is going on with our beloved bamboo - any ideas?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

Sounds normal. Some don't make it. We have a grove of yellow groove our dad planted in 1965. Pretty big now (I'll post some pics in a few days). Couple dozen shoots broke off at the 3 foot level. Think deer got a few but not the ones in the interior of the grove. Two weeks ago one looked like it was about to fall off but was doing the zig-zag thing. Now its over 10 feet tall. This is the first year the grove has been fertilized and the results are twice the normal growth.

Not an expert on bamboo but from watching this grove since I was a kid, Phyllostachys aureosulcata is pretty hardy in our climate. Perhaps there is something which can be done to stop shoots from breaking but its been the norm for us to lose some every year. And they do appear as if they are rotting. Wet and squishy where they break off. Almost as if they had an infection.

Ours is planted on a sloping rock ledge with at most, two feet of soil on it. Soil is more acid (around 5.6) than yellow groove likes.. Drainage is too good in most of the grove. It has had dried out many times over the years. Another area is by a pond and it is so wet, shaded and acid, only moss grows on the lawn. Had some bad freezes with no mulch to protect the roots. But it keeping growing and growing.

This message was edited Jun 14, 2007 3:22 AM

SE Mass, MA(Zone 6b)

Thanks! Sounds like your stand is awesome - would love to see pics. I really love watching it grow - and my kids (and the neighborhood kids too) love to watch it. I told one kid that I planted it so it would attract pandas - they said "YOU DID?????". You gotta love 'em!

The rest of the stand is growing like crazy - I don't do much to it - it just keeps growing taller each year. How tall is yours now after all this year? We also have the problem of some shoots just falling over - not dead, just won't stand up - like they are top heavy. Someone on this list told me once that it years for it to stand upright.

Hopefully it will get warm here soon - it's freezing right now!


Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

At the edge of our grove, some of it does flop over, Kara. Think its more being on a ledge behind a 2` tall stone retaining wall than anything else. Inside the grove most of the shoots are upright (tangled in and slowly killing several pine trees).

Harvested it last week to build tomato cages. The canes are 35 feet long and about two inches thick. I see at Lewis Bamboo that in Zone 6, you can "expect" mature canes of Phyllostachys aureolsulcata to grow 18 feet high. Well, these in Zone 6B didn't stop there. They've been this tall as long as I can remember.

The long, thick canes are just wonderful for tomato cages. Have fifty-six heirloom tomatoes in five rows of cages thirty feet long. Not much tieing needed when you can span that much garden with one cane. Expensive to buy even ten foot canes because of the freight.

Btw...June was probably the worst time to harvest the canes but there is so much it didn't matter. After fertilizing and mulching this fall (I noticed the most new shoots came up where there is a real tangle of dead pine protecting the soil) I'll harvest when the ground is frozen.

Might take a week to get the pics but I will post them.

Riverton, UT(Zone 6a)

kara....I know this is completely off the topic of your thread here..... but i have been loooking everywhere for some yellow groove bamboo here in utah to no avail. Where did you get yours? I have wanted it soooo bad. Thanks so much. Lesh

SE Mass, MA(Zone 6b)

Hi - I got mine at a local nursery. Try mail order - there's a place in Mass called Burt's Bamboo or something like that.... they have all sorts of bamboo.

Mine is about 18' so hard to ship anywhere!


Riverton, UT(Zone 6a)

Thanks Kara. Ill search for some....:)

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)


Might be cheaper to ship from Oregon than Massachusetts....These folks are really nice people, too.

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