New Bamboo

Recently I posted about Fall being a great time to find bargains at the local nurseries -- in that case, new pots. Today I will talk about some more great bargains I found last weekend: more bamboo plants!


If you read my blog regularly, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I already have more bamboo in my garden than most normal gardeners. You're thinking "where is he going to find somewhere to plant these -- bamboos need a lot of space, don't they?"

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One great thing about these is they are clumping bamboo, which means they do not spread more than a few inches each year.


The other great thing about them is that although I do have the one species already (Fargesia 'Rufa', the large of the two in the first photo), the other plant is a species I do not yet already have: Fargesia murielae:


The last great thing is that they were only $20 each. That's about my "don't have to think about it" price limit for bamboo. Although the murielae isn't overly large and is looking a little "tired", that's still a good price for it I think. The 'Rufa' took more thought because I already have two of those plants in the ground, but since it's a proven bamboo in my climate -- it can take the heat and the cold -- I knew I couldn't pass it up.

I want to get these into the ground right away so they have time to establish before the ground gets too cold, so I got them out of their pots to inspect them. The murielae had some roots showing, but it wasn't really filling the pot with them:


The 'Rufa' really should have been put in a bigger pot months ago:


You can see some of its rhizomes that may have died already from congestion:


It still has some parts that are looking fine though, like this rhizome:


Look! This pot even included some weeds with good root systems:


I decided to score the sides of the Rufa's rootball a little to help them spread a bit more:


This is a common practice for rootbound plants. If these had been running bamboos with rhizomes wrapping around the inside of the pot I wouldn't have scored them -- you don't want to cut the rhizomes, just the roots.

The bottom of the Rufa looks a little rough (too many roots), but the top looks similarly ragged:


Even though the tops of the culms have died, there are still new leaves emerging close to the top, so the plant will be fine.



That's enough looking at the plants -- let's get them into the ground! Here's where I want to put the Rufa:


Right between the two euonymous bushes, in front of the serviceberry who's leaves are turning. There's something in that spot already though...

Here's a closer look:


Unfortunately, this area contains:  1) several small rotten logs:


2) What I think are wild, weedy, thorny blackberry vines:


and after clearing some of the weeds and logs out, I revealed 3) a couple of tree stumps:


The blackberry vines spread through their roots, so they're actually throughout this area. To get them out, I need to get all of the viney roots too:


The stumps took a bit of work to remove. The digging bar was indispensable in chopping and prying the stumps out:



Whew! Remember a few weekends ago when I planted bamboo without having to do any digging at all? That was nice. This is exhausting.

After much effort, the stumps were gone, and the area was clear:


Now there's just some digging to do, which is quite easy due to the fact that the soil is quite dry and powdery right now (plus I've yanked out lots of roots and stumps which helped loosen it). After digging the hole, I mixed in quite a bit of compost:


There's a big difference between the original soil on the right and the amended soil on the left, isn't there?

So into the ground the bamboo goes:


Add a little compost as mulch, and the area has been transformed. (I'll include the "before" photo here for comparison):

Before

After
Although it looks pretty nice -- much better than before -- it should look spectacular next year, once the plant recovers and replaces all of the missing leaves at the ends of the culms. This is what it should look like:


That's one of my other Rufas. Beautiful, isn't it? It's only been in the ground a little over a year. I'm excited to see what it looks like next year. Although that's true for all of my bamboos -- I'm excited to see what they all look like next year!

There's one more plant to get into the ground, but I think I'm going to continue this post tomorrow, as it's already quite long. So more bamboo tomorrow!

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