Bamboo shoots, tiny style

About six weeks ago I dismantled a wooden raised bed and removed the bamboo that was growing in it. (The timelapse video is pretty cool if you haven't seen it yet.) I gave away a few large divisions from this plant, but the rest I potted up.

For some reason some bamboo species (in this case Phyllostachys aureosulcata, or "Yellow Groove" bamboo) that are dug in summer or early fall will send up shoots.


They're not the normal shoots that the plant produces in the spring though. They're tiny, thin shoots that may or may not have enough time to leaf out and harden before it gets too cold. If they don't harden, they will die during the winter.

I'm not sure exactly what triggers the plant to push out these tiny shoots. I think it may be the automatic reaction when rhizomes are severed. Maybe there is a section of rhizome in the division that doesn't have a culm attached to it, and these are "survival" shoots -- the rhizome is trying to create some leaves so it won't die. Maybe the rhizomes do have culms attached already, but they just don't "know" it at this time of year so they produce these "survival" shoots anyway.

This is a rhizome that has turned vertical. If it were earlier in the year it would turn into a weak shoot (often called a "whip shoot"), but this one isn't going to have time to do anything.

It will be interesting to see what sort of shoots these plants produce in the spring. These tiny shoots that the plant was "tricked" into producing have used up some of the rhizome buds, leaving fewer for next year's shoots and rhizomes.

At least that's what it seems like to me. Maybe these tiny shoots were produced by rhizome buds that would have remained dormant next year (and possibly forever) anyway, so the plant's capacity to expand next year isn't diminished. I really don't know -- I'm just guessing and theorizing.

One thing I don't need to guess about is how excited I'll be in the spring when all of these potted bamboo start producing real shoots, not these tiny twigs.

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