Cold, but -that- cold?

It seems like it's cold everywhere right now. That darn Polar Vortex swinging down and turning our mild, late winter into a my-brakes-on-my-truck-are-frozen-and-it-won't-move kind of cold, cold winter.

But is it the kind of cold that will set my bamboos back again? In other words, will they be "dead"?


Not dead like the castor beans...

...but there's certainly some leaf death that has occurred. Take a look at the curled leaves:

Those are almost certainly goners. The question though is how many of the leaves have died, and if the cold -- it was 3ºF (-16ºC) this morning, and 4ºF yesterday morning -- will have killed the leaf buds. That would be the worst scenario, as it means that the bamboo would have "top killed".

This foliage loss happened in the winter of 2013-2014, when it got down to -8ºF (-22ºC), so maybe this year won't be so bad.

I'll stay positive and focus on the good -- which is nearer to the ground on this plant.

There's still plenty of time for more cold weather, but I'm really hoping this was the worst of it. Unlikely, since January and February are typically much colder.


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Linda Lehmusvirta  – (December 19, 2016 at 7:48 PM)  

Wow! In Austin, we're totally freaking out but you've got it lots worse. Brakes aren't freezing here, but castor beans certainly are. But so good to know that our freak out on bamboo is silly in Texas since yours make it through!

chavliness  – (December 19, 2016 at 8:48 PM)  

Okay, I know nothing about growing bamboo so its going to be a silly question, but if all leaves are gone, wouldn't the plant grow back from bellow ground?

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (December 19, 2016 at 9:58 PM)  

Oh dear. I feel bad whining about the cold in California. The 27 we had yesterday is nothing compared to your polar freeze. I hope your cold snap is short-lived.

Steve Lau  – (December 19, 2016 at 10:01 PM)  

It doesn't look like a lot of damage. As long as you don't get super cold swings through the next 2 months, you should be far south enough to not get any further damage. As long as they keep some green leaves, they usually keep the same size or get a bit bigger.

danger garden  – (December 19, 2016 at 11:46 PM)  

Damn, that's cold. I hope this is the worst for you and you won't have to deal with anything worse.

Hoover Boo  – (December 20, 2016 at 10:38 AM)  

Get through it safely! Would the bamboo would come back from the roots if the tops are killed?

Alan  – (December 20, 2016 at 2:58 PM)  

Chavliness and Hoover: yes the bamboo will come back from the rhizomes, but smaller than before. It's not desired.

Steve: It's way too early to relax or to tell what the damage is. You know how it is though, we want mild winters so spring shoots are huge! :)

outlawgardener  – (December 21, 2016 at 10:02 AM)  

Yikes, that's cold! Hope this is the worst of it for you.

Richard Clayton  – (December 23, 2016 at 10:36 PM)  

I'm so sory about your bamboos, but don't worry, the winter will end and they will be okay.

Anna K  – (December 25, 2016 at 11:48 AM)  

Oh, good god - I should hope not! Here is hoping that it will thaw, and all will be good in bamboo land again. Merry Christmas, Alan!

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