My least favorite time of year?

Although Spring is such a wonderful time in the garden, it's also my least-favorite when it comes to the plant that I'm most taken with: bamboo. I have many shrubby and ground-cover bamboos in my yard and although some of them stay mostly green through the winter months, the leaves that looked quite good during the cold, snowy days look tattered and tired when side-by-side with fresh growth.

So that means a yearly pruning to remove the tired foliage. With some of the plants like the Sasa veitchii above it's a simple task, as every single leaf shows significant damage. Removing them all is required and I don't hesitate.


With others though it's a bit harder to just take the hedge shears to them. For instance, Sasaella masamuneana 'Albostriata' looks quite good:

But experience has shown me that I've forgotten how amazing the fresh foliage is and that "quite good" isn't enough.

So I've pruned off most of the foliage and turned something that is still looking relatively good into an ugly bunch of sticks that I'll have to live with for at least a few weeks.

I always put this task off as long as possible but I have to do it now, as new foliage is starting to emerge:

I must do it over and over:

I'll be so glad that I did this in a month, but it still is one of the most difficult (emotionally) springtime gardening tasks for me.

Now I just have to wait...

Fresh bamboo foliage photos coming in the next month or so!


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outlawgardener  – (April 6, 2015 at 12:19 PM)  

This would be a difficult task for a bamboo lover. I bet that with your warm daytime temperatures, the plants flush with new growth fairly quickly. The things we do for love...

Anonymous –   – (April 6, 2015 at 4:02 PM)  

This is sounds horribly brutal, but in a previous garden (US zone 9b/10a) that contained a number of bamboo ground covers on an embankment I used to use the line/string trimmer. It made light work of the job and the bamboo never seemed to suffer one bit

Alan  – (April 7, 2015 at 7:03 AM)  

Peter: it has to be done. Those ratty leaves look terrible in summer if left.

Railway: I might use a string trimmer if I still had one. The true groundcover ones could probably be mowed (with a lawn mower) but I'd be afraid of mulching any wildlife that had been living in there -- I often find nests.

Anonymous –   – (April 13, 2015 at 6:32 PM)  

I agree about spring. Everything feels so unruly in the garden. Strong winds, pelting rain and delicate seedlings; a terrible match! ;) I have a lot of work to do in the garden too! But I just want to leisurely enjoy the "new" warm weather! Cheers to hard work in the spring garden ;)

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