Time to uncover the bamboo

It's been so warm lately. Much, much warmer than normal for February. Our normal high temps this time of year are 45ºF/7ºC, but today it reached 73ºF/22ºC, and the low temps for the next couple of days are also 30ºF above normal! This is fine unless it lasts too long and all of the dormant plants start waking up, but we're not quite to that point yet. My temporary greenhouse though -- getting way too hot!


That goes for the bamboos that I laid on the ground and covered with plastic too. Once the snow melted off of them, the sunlight heated them up pretty fast. So it's time to uncover them.

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I didn't think I'd have to do this yet, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. February usually has the potential for some pretty cold weather, but it looks like we may miss that this year. Early warm is better than more cold I guess, but I'm just concerned that plants will wake up early then get zapped by a late freeze, which is what happened in 2007.

I need to leave the greenhouse "door" open all the time now:


I'm also thinking about opening the back wall a bit for some cross-ventilation, as it still gets pretty warm in there.

Although it's exciting to be able to leave the greenhouse open, what's more exciting is I get to pull back the protective sheets and see how things fared:



The foliage looks almost perfect to me -- just a touch of leaf burn here and there.

Although the bamboo in the yard has stayed green for the most part, the leaves under the plastic are much greener, or maybe it's just a brighter shade of green.


In any case, it's really nice to see so much green appear so quickly -- instantly actually.

I should say that most of the plants look lush and green. Some didn't fare too well. This Fargesia murielae isn't perfect but doesn't look too bad:


But this Fargesia denudata is most likely topkilled:


It will probably put up new shoots in the spring, but it would have been better if the existing culms could leaf out again as it gives the plant the best chance of getting larger. I suspect that both of these plants were put into the ground too late last year, and this was their first really cold winter. Cold hardiness tends to increase with age.

My Phyllostachys nigra (Black Bamboo) looks really good too, as even though it is in the ground I bent it down and covered over it:

This is the first year to see this plant combination. I like it!

I'm hoping for a nice size-up on it this year so next year I won't have to do as much to protect it. Nigra isn't one of the cold-hardiest species here, but I'll see how it does with a few more years of maturity. This spring's shoots will tell me a lot.

I didn't bother uncovering this Bashania fargesii that's under the deck:


It doesn't get much sunlight so is in no danger of cooking in its mini greenhouse. I'll wait until I know for certain we're not getting one last arctic blast before unwrapping it and pulling it out of there.


So the yard has some big splashes of green in it all of a sudden -- it goes really well with the weather!

The newly-uncovered green is more impressive in person.

I'll stand all of the bamboos up as soon as I know that we're not going to get any super-cold temps in the next couple of weeks.

Then I'll just need to wait another month or so until some of these plants start producing new shoots, and that will be the start of my "daily trips to each plant to see if it has any new shoots yet" time. Shooting season is the most exciting part of growing bamboo!
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TC  – (February 17, 2011 at 7:40 AM)  

I can't believe you hit 22 degrees. The bamboo look great. I am not as lucky as you. We still have 120cm of snow pack! That doesn't include the drifts or snowbanks. It's going to be a while before I am able to uncover all my phyllostachys and document their winter damage. Seeing all that green on your pics sure gives me great hope but also tests my patience.
Nice work on the supervivum entry.

Steve  – (February 17, 2011 at 7:47 AM)  

TC, you're not alone. We're getting a quick thaw for a couple days, and then back to winter with consistently below freezing temperatures again.

I do get kind of jealous when people start posting pictures of their boos starting to shoot which will probably be by next week, and then I have to wait until May to see mine.

Alan  – (February 17, 2011 at 9:39 AM)  

TC -- we'll hit 24C/75F today if the forecast is correct. It's amazing how fast a 2' pile of ice melts when it's that warm. We won't get below freezing for the next week it looks like.

Steve -- I hope my boos don't start shooting yet! Rufa and bissetii are first in mid-March usually, but in 2007 I saw all of my rufa shoots get killed by a late freeze. That was before I was really bamboo-crazy, so not sure what I would do if that happened now.

Gerhard Bock  – (February 17, 2011 at 10:59 AM)  

Alan, you sure are having strange weather! 75°F in February is unusual for most places!

It was great to see so much green. Your bamboos look better than mine that have buffeted by winds all winter :-).

Some of my bamboo have started to shoot: Fargesia dracocephela 'Rufa', Fargesia dracocephela 'White Dragon', as well as two of the little ones you sent me in the fall: Pleioblastus distichus and Sasa tsuboiana (tiny shoots on those, but still shoots).

:: Bamboo and More ::

Alan  – (February 17, 2011 at 11:19 AM)  

Gerhard -- the distichus was the tiny one that I wasn't sure would make it, right? Good to hear that it's shooting. Treat it like a succulent until it's bigger though -- too much water with too few roots will be trouble.

Gerhard Bock  – (February 17, 2011 at 11:37 AM)  

Alan, yes, the distichus was the tiny one. Goes to show how tough bamboo is!

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