Bamboo dig (not rained out)

Last Sunday my planned bamboo dig over at Michael's garden was rained out. Today it did not rain, so the dig was on! The plan was to help Mike divide and pot up some of his smaller bamboos, both to control their spread and so he could sell some divisions.


Besides being a lot of fun (I enjoy digging and potting bamboo!) Mike was also going to let me take a nice division home with me. Free bamboo -- let's get started!


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The plan was to start with the Shibatea kumasaca bamboo, which is a unique smaller bamboo that has short, wide leaves (seen in the photo above). This is one of my favorite smaller bamboos (it only gets about 5'-6' tall) and I was really disappointed this year when my potted kumsaca died, most likely from cold exposure this winter.


It's such a nice-looking plant, don't you think?

Anyway, the digging started by figuring out where we should make the divisions:


We look for natural division points where there are fewer culms (canes) and go from there. Sometimes you can't find bare spots and have to sacrifice some culms -- if you're taking large enough divisions this won't make any difference.

It took a bit of digging and prying, but it's much easier to remove divisions of smaller bamboo like this than the larger stuff we did earlier this year. The thinner rhizomes are so much easier to cut through, but still take some work. Here are the big divisions before they were cut into smaller pieces:


Mike cut them up into reasonable sizes and I was doing the potting. Since I usually work in the garden alone it was nice to have a 2-man team tackling a project like this.


A couple of hours after we had stared the project we had a few pots finished:


We then continued to pot up more divisions and ended up with about double this number of pots. The more observant reader may have noticed that there are two different species of bamboo potted up there -- when I was digging out the kumasaca Mike was working on an unidentified Pseudosasa, and we potted both up.


Three hours and 15-20 pots of bamboo later I was ready to call it a day, but instead we decided to remove the last of the Yellow Groove bamboo so Mike could use that area for all of the newly potted bamboo. I won't show photos here because I didn't take any, but it was another 45-60 minutes or so of chopping, digging, and prying to get two fairly large divisions out and potted up.

You'll notice that I started off this post saying "the plan was to start with this bamboo...". We were also going to tackle this Indocalamus tessellatus, but that's going to have to wait until another day (next weekend?):




After a nice air-conditioned ride home I spent the rest of the day lounging on the couch, since that 4 hours of work (I mean gardening) really wiped me out. A lot of fun, and I got some beautiful new plants out of it, so I'm definitely not complaining. It still wiped me out, but wiped out is a great way to feel after a good day of gardening!

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