Bamboo tie-up project, part 2 (long delayed)

A full month ago I started a project that I'm going to finish today: I supported the bamboo next to my driveway with some poles. Although I got most of it done that day, I didn't do the end of the planting, and those culms have been hanging down and blocking this little path:


It just looks so untidy. So today I spent "a few minutes" putting in a couple of more poles to fix this problem.

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I started this later in the morning than I wanted to, and the sun started beating down here making things very hot and also making it harder to take photos (I try to avoid direct sunlight when taking photos, as it's too hard to get even exposure, and without good photos, what's the point in sharing?)

If you remember, I used metal electrical conduit poles because they're cheap and sturdy, and hose clamps to tie the poles together. (I actually used plastic zip ties in that previous post, but later added the hose clamps for more support.)


Driving the new pole into the ground was a little tough because of all of the rhizomes under here:


But a heavy hammer really gets the job done:


I laid the cross pole down on the ground to indicate where it will go, and you can see that there are several small culms past the end:


I'll just remove all of those, cutting them off at the ground:


Even one year ago I would have spent a lot of time debating whether I should cut them, as I wanted to keep every culm possible. More culms mean more leaves, which means more energy for the plant, which means faster size-up the next year. Since I now know how many culms this plant will produce (almost too many to count), losing half a dozen or so won't make any difference at all.

Now it's just a matter of getting the crosspole up in place and putting the clamps on. That sounds so simple, doesn't it? The first end goes on fine, but once the pole is pulled into place and has the force of the bamboo pushing against it, it becomes spring-loaded. I lost my grip and it whacked me once, and a second time it missed me but flung out of the first clamp so I had to start over.

After some work I finally got it into place:


Don't be fooled by the screwdriver slot in these clamps -- I believe they're just there as a cruel joke, as it's almost impossible to keep the screwdriver blade in the slot while tightening (or loosening for that matter) the clamp. Use a nut driver of the right size. You'll save yourself so much trouble!

With the poles in place, there are just a few straggler culms that need to be trimmed, but it's looking better:


There are also some rhizomes that have escaped and are turning into culms -- "whip shoots" we call them:


I need to dig all of those rhizomes out, which isn't too much work. Let's just say that there were "a few" of them down there:


With those gone and the trimming done, this job is finished! It looks quite a bit nicer now I think:



Now I just need to rhizome prune along the driveway:


I've not done that yet this year, and I'm pretty sure that the rhizomes are under the driveway.


Call it bamboo grower's intuition, but I just have a feeling that they're under there.

I may still want to add some more support poles to this structure. The bamboo will get heavier this winter with ice and/or snow on it, and I don't want to be repairing these supports when the windchill is in single digits (F). Although I'd like to have this entire project 100% completed, the extra supports can wait a while.

There's only so much time in a week (or weekend) for gardening, and you have to work efficiently, right?

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