As I write this, the temperature outside is -7ºF (-22ºC) with a windchill of -20ºF (-29ºC) or so. This is cold and windy enough to not only kill all of the leaves on my bamboos, but it may also kill all of the leaf buds too. This means that I will definitely see lots of blonde bamboos soon, and I may be cutting down lots of dead bamboo culms in the spring.
Since I've known for a while that this arctic air incursion was imminent, I took advantage of some sunlight a couple of days ago to get what may be my last look at some green bamboo for a while.
If the damage is as extensive as I predict, all of my large bamboos will come back a bit smaller next year -- without any existing leaves to help feed the plant during shooting the plants step back a couple of years or so.
This next image will be a good one for comparison with the "after" shot, as it shows several Phyllostachys species: bissetii, nigra, dulcis, rubromarginata, and aureosulcata 'Spectabilis' (from foreground/left to background/right):
There's a heteroclada in there between the dulcis and rubromaginata, but I'm not sure that it's visible.
This damage will be very disappointing, but is one of the dangers of growing bamboo in a zone 6 climate -- some years you will get "topkill".
The cold will stay with us until tomorrow, when it warms back up near freezing, and we will be in the 40's F by the end of the week. The damage will have been done though.
I will surely be posting more as the results become visible. Sigh.
At least I have plenty of photos, right?