A little more bamboo work

This past Sunday I had high hopes of tackling two projects related to this bamboo (Semiarundinaria fastuosa 'Viridis'):


I was not looking forward to either of them, but felt motivated enough to tackle them now. Better than waiting until it's hot and miserable -- Sunday was quite cool, giving me the energy that I usually only have once the cooler days of autumn have arrived.

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The main project was to be building a support cage for this plant, which puts out tons of leaves and gets quite top-heavy so leans over:


I really need it to stay more upright until it gains some size (it's already supported a bit or it would be leaning much more). That is, if it ever gains more size -- that's uncertain in my climate. I'll give it a few more years though, as I don't relish the thought of having to dig it out.

I had my materials all ready...


...but realized that I should probably dig a trench around this guy before I put poles in the way. I was lazy last year and didn't rhizome prune around the entire plant, and there were a few escapees. A trench will make it much easier to do this in the future.


So I used my mattock and just dug a narrow trench, digging until I passed all of the rhizomes, which was 12"-18" (30-45cm) or so. That's one advantage to trenching after you've had an escape: you can see exactly how deep the rhizomes are so can dig to the right depth.

The soil was heavy and sticky as we had lots of rain (2.25" or 55mm) on Friday, so this wasn't much fun. It was exhausting too. I cut about 25 rhizomes, even though there were only a few shoots coming up outside of the allowed area. Next step: mulch!

Good thing I have a big pile of it nearby on the driveway:


As you may remember, this pile has been here since winter, when I mulched over the potted bamboos.

If you want to grow some huge earthworms, I recommend putting a big pile of wood chips on your driveway for six months.



Look at the size of these! I saw a dozen big ones at least, and lots more smaller ones.

With the trench filled, this just looks like a nicely-mulched bamboo now:


Plus the driveway is almost mulch-free! Yahoo!



(Note: if you don't fill the trench with something, it will erode pretty quickly and fill itself in with soil. I learned this from experience.)

After this exertion I never got around to building the support structure, but I'll get to that soon -- next weekend at the latest.

I'll check the trench for rhizomes this fall, cutting any that cross into it. The real test will be this time next year -- if shoots come up out-of-bounds again, well, I'm not sure what I'll do. I'm glad this part of the project is finished though!

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Gerhard Bock (Bamboo, Succulents and More)  – (June 4, 2013 at 12:13 PM)  

NICE! If people took care of their running bamboo the way you do, it wouldn't have such a bad name in certain circles.

scottweberpdx  – (June 4, 2013 at 9:48 PM)  

You are awesomely diligent...I've been pre-staking a few known floppers recently too...let's hope I actually prevent eventual collapse on those bad-boys!

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