Bamboo survey: before and after

Back on January third I posted several photos of my lush, green bamboos. Knowing that some very cold air was heading our way, I wanted to document the "before" state. Today I show the "after".

I debated how I should best show both states here, and decided that rather than just including a link to the previous post, I'd include the "before" photos where appropriate. So let's get started.


(I'll follow the order of the original post as best I can.)

Remember that this winter gave my garden -8ºF (-22ºC) a couple of times, and it was for more than just a few hours. Sharp winds accompanied the frigid air, and the combination was too much for most of the exposed parts of the bamboos.

Phyllostachys atrovaginata on the left and Phyllostachys aureosulcata on the right:

The big-leaved Indocalamus tessellatus:

In the front of both of these photos:

Also in that last photo are Sasaella bitchuensis, Shibatea kumasaca (half was buried in snow), Hibanobambusa tranquillans 'Shiroshima' (left to right).

Phyllostachys bissetii is not looking too bad, relatively speaking:

Note that this is a view of the south side of the plant -- I expect the north side which faces my neighbor is probably looking worse.

Sasa veitchii I expected to get clobbered -- and it did -- but it gets mowed every year to remove the leaves with the beautiful-but-only-appreciated-in-cold-months burst margins:

Sasa tsuboiana too:

Phyllostachys nigra (black bamboo) sadly has been topkilled:

I expect this to happen every few years as this is not a reliably hardy species here, but last winter was tough on even the hardiest.

Skipping over the groundcover bamboos because they get mowed every year anyway...

...we have Pyllostachys rubromarginata on the left and Pyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis' on the right:

Both took a hit.

More views that don't correspond directly to photos from the "before" post so I can't show comparison photos...

Semiarundinaria okuboi likely topkilled:

Phyllostachys viridis in planter box topkilled it seems, with show-buried Fargesia 'Rufa' on the left and similarly-protected Shibatea chinensis on the right:

I'm so glad we had the foot of snow during the coldest weather! 'Rufa' seen from the other side:

Along the driveway, Indocalamus longiauritus on the left, snow-buried Sasaella masamuneana 'Albostriata' and Sasa oshidensis (almost entirely hidden), then Sasaella bitchuensis on right:

If it's green, it was buried in the snow.

Left to right Ph. bissetii, Semiarundinaria fastuosa 'Viridis', Ph. nigra, and Indocalamus 'Solidus':

Phyllostachys dulcis and Phyllostachys heteroclada:

I'm pretty sure that everything growing in a planter box was topkilled. Hopefully the rhizomes are still alive...

Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'aureocaulis' might have some green left in the middle, but most of these culms will have to be removed:

(Had enough yet? I have.)

And that's the state of things. I'm hoping that the "after after" photos from later this summer will have things looking lush, full, and green again, and that these plants don't take steps back three or four years.


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danger garden  – (April 3, 2014 at 12:40 AM)  

I'm going with the "after after" photos being lush and green. Maybe not as lush as otherwise might have been but after all you all convinced me I could hack back the Sasa palmata f. nebulosa and have it respond within the season and you were right. Green ahead!

Alan  – (April 3, 2014 at 6:27 AM)  

Loree: I agree that it will eventually be green again, but the possibility of a 20' 50-culm plant turning into a 10' 25-culm plant has me a bit worried. The smaller bamboos will be fine -- the bigger ones might take a couple of steps backward. I'll know in a couple of weeks when they start shooting.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (April 3, 2014 at 10:11 AM)  

It's so sad to see such lushness reduced to a sea of brown. Bamboo is tough and most of it will come back, but still....

Anonymous –   – (April 13, 2014 at 11:04 AM)  

We had beautiful bamboo in Chicago that was 4 years old and over 18 feet high. It is all entirely yellow except maybe some green right by the roots. Should I cut it all down to the base? Does anyone know what to do???

Alan  – (April 13, 2014 at 5:12 PM)  

Anon: In the next week or two check the branches for growing leaf buds. Search for "leaf buds" on my blog for an example of what they should look like. If they're not growing by then, the culms are probably dead and can be cut down. It's easier to cut the culms before the new shoots grow, but they'll probably start shooting about the same time.

Anonymous –   – (April 15, 2014 at 9:24 AM)  

thank you, I will look

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