A taste of bamboo cleanup

There is much bamboo work to do this spring. Much is normal maintenance: pruning, cleaning. The dry fall and harsh winter have created an extra amount of damage that needs to be removed too, but I also skipped some tasks the last year or two and am paying for it now -- mainly rhizome pruning and therefore having to wrangle a few back under control.

So today just a taste, with some before and after photos. Starting with this vignette from the back garden, where it's difficult to know exactly what's going on here because it's so overgrown.


The Shibatea chinensis was allowed to spread unchecked last year, and it sort of filled in all of the space around it. A chop back of the out-of-bounds culms and a little off the top to remove much of the dead foliage brings things back to normal:

Now I have some space of a big-leaved something or other (Alocasia probably) in a large pot here. (Maybe not the pot that is already there -- it may be too small)

Note that I have not done much cleanup on the Fargesia 'Rufa' (on the right above) the last few years, and there are loads of dead culms inside:

I did some work to clean it out a bit, and was really surprised at how blue the culms were!

Very nice! Too bad nobody besides me will ever see them. Who would want to crawl under here to peek? (Barely any spiders)

Another vignette, back next to the pond (pond just out of frame to the left):

Indocalamus tessellatus, with those big, beautiful leaves. The only green ones left are those that were weighed to the ground though. So I went extreme...

...and pruned hard!

Just stumps left, but I expect it to bounce back with some strong new growth.

Turn to the right and you'll see Shibatea kumasaca and Hibanobambusa tranquillans 'Shiroshima' (plus a pile of those Indocalamus leaves I just removed):

It was an easy decision to prune these to the ground, as there was not a single live culm left:

Turn again to the right (so the Indocalamus stumps are now directly behind you, and the cleared Shibatea is to your left) and you see the big patch of Sasaella bitchuensis, as tall as me:

I didn't take it all the way to the ground, but this is lower than I prune it most years:

This one is so vigorous it will soon be a mound of greenery again. (Those green patches that were hidden are Lycoris squamigera, which I forgot were in here!)

I did quite a bit more of this over the weekend, and there is more to go -- I haven't tackled removing the dead stuff from the big bamboos yet. I should have started working out a month ago to get ready for this, but I don't think there's a "hedge shears" machine at any gym, is there?

I'm glad spring got off to a slow start this year so I'm not too far behind!


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Mark and Gaz  – (April 30, 2018 at 3:31 PM)  

With your warm summers I can imagine the great recovery of your bamboos and lush garden.

Evan Bean  – (May 2, 2018 at 1:15 PM)  

Wow! I had no idea rufa got blue culms like that! I don't think mine is showing that yet, but it's still relatively young. It is sending up shoots that are nearly twice the diameter of last years, though, which has me very excited. I started cleaning up in February when I noticed buds swelling on my Sasa veitchii. Then it got cool again and everything ground to a halt. I think I cut a few things back too early and now I'm chomping at the bit waiting for them to shoot. Thankfully the weather here is warming again.

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