Every year, regardless of how mild the winter was, all of my groundcover bamboos need to get mowed down. That's because they take varying amounts of damage ranging from minor spotting and tattering to complete leaf kill.
Before I do the mowing though -- either with hedge shears or my actual lawn mower -- it's nice to take a look at the color contrasts that these "dead" bamboos provide. The Pleioblastus distichus above is my smallest bamboo, but the color punch its brown leaves supply right now is not small at all!
Here it is from another angle:
The Fargesia 'Rufa' that I cleaned up yesterday is at the left side of this image -- you only saw it from the patio side yesterday.
This 'Nearly Wild' rose is one of my oldest plants:
But since it's now being overshadowed (literally) by bamboo, it's been struggling. So I removed it. (photos to follow in the future). I really like that rose, so maybe I'll be able to dig out the roots and plant it somewhere sunnier. Has to be where the deer won't find it though...
One thing that the brown foliage helps with...
...is seeing how far these guys have spread out of bounds. If you look at the lower right corner of that last image you may be able to notice the bamboo out in the lawn. It blends much more with the green lawn so it's more difficult to see later, but now it's quite apparent (at least in person).
This other example shows it better:
The green bamboo is Shibataea chinensis, and is the same bamboo shown in the previous photo -- we've just moved around it a bit here. The brown bamboo on this side is Pleioblastus humilis if I remember correctly. This one has been slow to spread -- or so I thought. I did not realize that it had moved in front of the Shibataea!
The other thing you may notice is that it has spread forward out into the lawn:
I boosted the saturation quite a bit to accentuate the golden brown bamboo leaves. You should be able to make out the lines of bamboo leaves, clearly showing where at least some of the rhizomes are hiding. I'm actually glad to see this spread, as I wanted to let it encroach upon the lawn a bit more this year -- now I know where to focus my pruning efforts!
There are other examples where the brown foliage has helped me see some escapes, like the Pleioblastus fortunei that I've shown before:
So easy to see right now! Somebody needs to get to work...
I heard Chip Tynan from the Missouri Botanical Garden say on the radio that by one measure at least (ground temperature or something a bit more sophisticated than that) we're about 4 weeks ahead of the calendar here in St. Louis. Everything is starting to emerge! Good news unless we get a late freeze...