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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 1:55 am 
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Location: South WI
Hi everyone. I used to be active here a few years back, but life got turned totally upside down on me. The dust is finally settling and I want to get back into gardening in my new house. Short version, I live in southern wisconsin now, border of zone 5a/5b, and the only bamboo plants I have left are 3 potted phyllostachys. An aureosulcata "harbin", and a spectabilis and parvifolia I got from stevelau when I lived in NY. They have been in large plastic pots and I drag them into the garage over winter. They seem fine but last year took a hit when the soil froze for a bit too long before I got them in. The spectabilis is probably the tallest at around 8'.

I would like to get something in the ground and out of the pots, making room in the pots for new plants. I would also like to not have to cover them. I have one whole wall of my house (east facing) totally bare, hoping planting something along the house might keep the soil from freezing and preventing them from drying out, does that sound reasonable? I know I'm pushing it here for climate, it's worse than the last place I lived, but I have more sun and I'm going to be in this house for many years so i can do a bit more long term planning.

Also planning to get some clumpers to place around the house. At my last place I had 2 nitidas that just wouldnt grow, possibly poor soil and full shade doing them in. The juizighous looks cool, but they were newer when I was reading up before. Have those stood up as well as nitidas? Looking for that taller clumper kind of look, with a bit of the umbrella appearance.

I want to start getting indoor plants going again, too. Lost my japonica in the move, the automatic watering system quit when I was gone and everything dried up except a pothos and the 3 titan arums I got from stevelau that I brought with me. Really bummed about that. My groundcover plants got left in the ground when I moved, too... kind of a sad state to get back Into the swing of things!

The recent cold zone threads have been very helpful, they got me thinking I need some bissettii again. Anyone have suggestions for more to get? I have a number of pots I can move into the garage over winter. It's cold in there but seems to keep the soil just above freezing and shelters the plants from the wind. I might be able to get a few in big pots (10 gal) that are zone 6 or 7 plants to keep in there over winter, cant decide which ones though.

I'm gonna get some ground cover plants too, I have a few areas that need cover and I dont like visible mulch. I'm still working on a plan for that.

Before I remember people talking about the potential for phyllo virella to be super cold hardy, what ever happened to that? How about "shanghai 3?" I got one of those from steve too but I think it died to moles or something. I really hate moles.

Any recent introductions showing promise for looking nice in cold weather?

The bad news is much of my soil is hard clay, though very dark. Also I have some shade in the afternoon from a huge tree. Said tree is providing me with a crazy amount of leaf mulch and I have been composting. I have a friend here now who is also a master gardener, his help has been invaluable so far. Maybe I'll get him into this bamboo stuff so he stops playing around with those 8' tall tomato plants of his! Its sure good to be back into this.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:31 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:14 pm
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Location: Esparto, CA
Bamboo Society Membership: ABS - America
Welcome back! If you have straight Harbin, I'd not put much effort into it, it is a very weak bamboo (but the inversa form is about the same as Spectabilis/Yellow Groove.) Mine essentially never made new leaves save for one culm one year, it is not hardy and will not leaf out if leaves get burned, even after a mild winter mine did not produce leaves. Other people may have different experiences but I've heard other people also say it is a very weak bamboo.

Stick with Bissetii and Yellow Groove/Spectabilis, they are your best bests. I think anywhere in WI it will be a rare winter that you don't get frozen ground and dead culms.

Don't pursue Virella, S3 and I don't think Parvifolia over time will prove to be hardier than Yellow Groove. Perhaps the Fargesia will work for you, I never could grow them in SO IN but that was likely a local thing I had.

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www.needmorebamboo.com


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:53 pm 
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Location: South WI
Hi Brad, did you move or something? I thought you were in Indiana but your sig says CA.

That has been my experience with harbin too. I've had it for probably 7 years and it isnt much bigger now. Any time it starts getting some size it gets burned and downsizes again. I'm going to see what I can do with it in a larger planter but it's definitely one I'll be wheeling into the garage over winter.

Of the other ones spectabilis seems to be the toughest so that's probably going in the ground. After the pots seriously froze last year it only lost a couple small culms, the rest leafed out. The parvifolia only lost one culm (the bighest one, obviously) but didnt fully defoliate like the spectabilis. Weird for one to take more damage but recover better, both are about the same size and I've had them the same time.

Looks like I'll have to get some bissettii, maybe some other forms of yellow groove if I want variation. Lots of those fargesias look nice, too.

Maybe I'll get some more big pots and planters and just have some above ground plants that I can overwinter in the garage. When I got them in before damage set in they wouldnt freeze and the plants always upsized, even the harbin. Its mildly heated so even below 0 outside the garage stays above freezing.

I'll try to get some pictures around the house to show what I thinking of doing.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:55 pm 
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Location: Esparto, CA
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Yep, moved to North CA 3 years ago, still have the place in Indiana though I'll probably go clean up all the ugly dead bamboo and then list it next summer when the tenants pull out.

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www.needmorebamboo.com


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:41 am 
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Location: South WI
3 years ago? that shows how long i've been gone! i had no idea. You had quite the place there in IN if i remember right. Lucky tenants.

Today I walked around and took some pictures of what i'm planning. First up, right in front of the house:

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This is the north facing side of the house, and as you can see it's very bare. Dead center in that dead spot was a tree, the previous owner removed it and the stump and left the dirt patch. This gets sun until near noon when a tree starts blocking it, though on the right side of the picture the shade starts a bit sooner and denser due to the garage. The soil needs help, and i'm thinking of adding some ground cover plants and maybe a fargesia to block the garbage cans a bit and make them less obvious and maybe soften that corner of the garage a bit. Maybe a plieoblastus with green or white stripes, it depends what else I want to stick in there. I'm not planning on going 100% bamboo landscape, but i definitely want something other than bare dirt or mulch. I'm not a fan of artificially colored bark mulch.

This patch is also north facing, but gets much more shade from the house. I'd say MAYBE an hour of morning sun.

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I'd like something other than weeds growing along the bare patch. the spot in the sun has no trouble growing, though that tall bush thing is half dead and has to go. If i could get a tall, dense nitida or jiuzhaigou growing there i'd be happy, but probably not possible in this climate. We haven't been below 0 much last 2 winters, but -10 WILL happen. That spot is shaded afternoon, sunny most of the morning.

Next up, the east side of the house:

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Obviously that's a blank slate. there is a tree south of that causing the shade. This was maybe 1 PM? i forget, but obviously the house shades that area in the afternoon. the north side of the house (right side of the picture) has some utilities I can't block, but those are bedroom windows and that sun wakes me up. I wouldn't mind shading them. I would like spectabilis to get more than morning only sun, so maybe clumpers along that wall with some more plants in front of it to break up the monotony of cedar siding.


Last edited by Rufledt on Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:35 am
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Location: South WI
South east corner of the lot, causing some of my shade:

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2 of the ugliest spruce trees i've ever seen. Their days are numbered. I plan to have them removed, and take advantage of the full day sun that spot will get by moving my veggie garden there, probably no bamboo but maybe some potted ones to take advantage of the sun. My strategy involves large movable planters for less cold hardy species, which will overwinter in the garage that I keep above freezing.

North west side of the house (west side of the garage) is another bare area:

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Shaded in the morning, filtered sunlight the rest of the day. Maybe more fargesias or ground cover plants. Nothing else likes appears to like growing there. To the left of the photo is already well landscaped and filled in, so i'm leaving that. To the right is a deck.

Speaking of the deck, the messy messy deck, here's one of the titan arums I got from stevelau:

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That's the smallest one. It was, i mean. the other 2 were bigger, the leaves collapsed, and they are shooting again.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:19 am 
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Location: South WI
one of them is sending up 2 leaves:

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South west side of the house is a huge tree and some landscaping:

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The plants around the base of the tree don't look great, and there is a lot of dead space as well. Maybe i'll find more ground cover bamboo to fill in some of the dead space. i think it will add some visual interest to the plants already there.

South west side of the LOT:

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My sad, sad veggie garden. This gets sun until maybe 3PM or so. The soil is bad, the afternoon sun shaded, and the rabbits and deer are ravenous. Half of those plants were eaten to the ground a few times, i'm surprised i have any left. The ones that are left are sickly.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:21 am 
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Location: South WI
Along the south size of the house is more like this:

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Mulch, occasional plant, and mostly empty space. On the left there is my spectabilis

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Not doing too bad considering the pot froze solid last winter. Lost a few culms but filled back in. Parvifolia did a lot worse.

Along this back (south) wall i'm thinking of putting spectabilis (and maybe bissetii) in the ground. South facing plus all the tree removal/thinning i'm going to do this fall should give it the most sun of any spot around the house. I'm going to build a few more large planters and fill them with less cold hardy ones. Also i have that window behind the spectabilis that faces south:

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That means for the first time i have a house with natural sunlight shining in for hours every day. Indoor bamboo is in my future again, this time without the need for the giant overwintering light i have. I use that for the titan arums anyway, there isn't room under it for bamboo.

The soil pretty much all around the house needs help. Lots of hard clay, but some areas are well mulched. I'll probably get some plants soon but wait until spring to get the bulk of them. Until then i'll have to get things prepared, but where do I start?! So much to do... I suppose i'll have to see how the bank account looks, the first mortgage payment goes out the 1st of september... Its less than we were paying for rent, though, which is nice.

Figured out the photo thing. Took me an embarrassingly long time to work that out.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:57 am 
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Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
You've got it all planned. Thumbs up.
Regarding the sad veggie garden, the soil will rapidly improve. Composted bamboo leaves and some manure should make it rich and fertile. I have noticed how the clay soil started turning black humus under my bamboos.

Welcome back :-)

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:17 pm 
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Posts: 150
Location: Upper Peninsula, MI Z5
Agreed, welcome back! Nice to see another zone 5er giving things a shot. Where abouts in South WI are you? I'm about 4-6 hours North regardless, an hour into Michigan from Marinette. You might just be the most "local" other member on the forum to me.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:35 pm 
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Location: South WI
I'm in janesville, about 20 minutes north of the Illinois border. I think you're about the closest to me too now that brad is in California. I used to live by stevelau, but now I'm far enough from everyone as to basically be isolated.

I'm hoping I can take advantage of the plentiful maple leaves for heavy mulching and compost. My grass needs dethatching too so maybe I'll get some grass compost. Gotta see if any neighbors bag their grass, maybe get some grass compost too. The soil needs serious help, and to top it off the hose in the backyard doesnt work. Lots to fix up here, I better get working! I have an old truck now too so I can always buy a bunch of topsoil to jumpstart things.

Anyone have suggestions for dealing with all if this? How about timing ? I'm thinking of planting the spectabilis in spring, but the clumpers and ground covers I don't have yet. This fall or next spring?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:54 pm 
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Location: Esparto, CA
Bamboo Society Membership: ABS - America
There is a list member - Leo, I believe, who is in Chicago and has great posts about his bamboo growth over a very long time, so he is probably closest to you.

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www.needmorebamboo.com


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:08 pm 
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Location: South WI
Found him, very informative posts for sure. Looks like he hasn't been on in some months, maybe a PM will bring him back. Maybe I'll see if hes willing to sell some divisions of stuff that survives there.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:08 am 
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Posts: 150
Location: Upper Peninsula, MI Z5
Maple leaves make great mulch...I'm thinking with my grove and additional plantings I'll need about a dozen garbage bags or so this year. Fortunately they are not in short supply here.

And I'd said wait till spring to plant anything in ground...they need all the help they can get in the colder zones and more time to establish can't do anything but help.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:57 pm 
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Location: South WI
Need some feedback now on a revised plan. The stuff I'm planting in the ground is pretty much worked out, but I'm going to keep using planters for less cold hardy plants. I like the idea of seeing how big I can get bamboos in planters, itll be a challenge if anything.

Conditions: overwinter in an insulated garage, kept above freezing, generally around 40f though occasionally down to low 30's. Some days heated up to 60 or so if I'm working, cooled back 40 over night. Well lit. Summer conditions can be filtered sunlight or full sun, with anything in between depending on what plant prefers.

Size can range from small to huge pots. I have a dolly used for moving full beer kegs, so potentially giant planters can be used.

I would like visual variety, so here are the species I'm thinking:
Nigra
Decora
Vivax (some colorful variety)
Bambusoides (maybe "allgold")
Violascens
Tumidissinoda (for the cool canes)

For indoors I'm planning on japonica "akebonosuji" and maybe aurea "dr.don". I emailed bamboo garden and they said aurea survives fine with no dormancy, so that would go inside for the winter by a south facing window with the japonica.

Open to any other suggestions, and if anyone has any divisions of the above they'd like to sell let me know.


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