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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:31 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Longboat Key, FL
I have not had good luck with tropical bamboo.

I'm on an island off the Gulf Coast of Florida, zone 10a, about 2 blocks from the water. After having my bamboo zapped by late-summer king tides two years in a row, I went through great energy and expense to bring in truckloads of dirt and a small train yard of railroad ties in order to build one enormous raised bed that runs along the property line. I had been fine for a few years and the bamboo--black Timor, blue Chungii, Dendrocalamus Minor Amoenus/Ghost, Emeiensis V. and F.--had really taken off this summer.

Unfortunately, this hurricane/tropical storm Eta passed by very close on the wrong side Wednesday, and for 2-3 hours around the resulting storm surge at high tide, brackish water breached not only my fruit trees, but my tropical bamboo as well. Though history has told me to expect the worst, I'm holding out a glimmer of hope that my plants will survive. Unlike past instances where damage was caused by 100% salt water during unusually high tides, my plants had been inundated with 6" of rain on Wednesday before the storm surge rolled in at high tide, so the plants had already been drenched with fresh water. Second, the storm surge was a mix of salt water combined with monsoon-like rain. Finally, it continued to rain pretty hard after the surge receded, which I'm hoping aided in flushing salt deposits.

Yesterday morning I took out my bag of emergency gypsum and I spread it around the bamboo. I then ran the sprinkler system and I gave the bamboo a thorough soaking with the hose, so as to allow the gypsum to mix in.

Would I in fact have a chance of my bamboo surviving in light of the fresh water inundation beforehand? I guess it's a waiting game, but if I lose this bamboo, I think I may have to accept the fact that I simply cannot fight nature here, and I may have to go with the standard lame palm trees like everyone else in the area.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:31 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Longboat Key, FL
I seem to have bad luck with tropical bamboo here along the coastline, and nearly a week out now from the tropical storm, it would appear I don't fare much better with responses on this forum. So it goes.

For anyone arriving here in the future via google search, my experience has been that the Bambusa Chungii--or blue bamboo--seems to have a fairly strong tolerance to salt water storm surges. This is now the fourth surge that's breached my bamboo over the past 5 years, and my original Chungii is still going strong. At the other end of the spectrum is the Lako/Timor. It's a stunning bamboo, but sadly I am about to lose my third (and final) specimen due to salt water leaching underneath, with the 6" of rain inundation we received earlier that afternoon notwithstanding. I had it in a particularly well-guarded bed of raised landscape ties, but it is looking worse & worse with each passing day. Fool me once, shame on me; fool me three times...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:14 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: Kea'au, HI
Bamboo Society Membership: ABS - America
I don't think people here have experience with your issue, I know I don't.

_________________
Brad Salmon, zone 12B Kea'au, HI
http://www.needmorebamboo.com


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:28 am
Posts: 303
Location: Southeast Texas, Zone 9a
ZZZ wrote:
I seem to have bad luck with tropical bamboo here along the coastline, and nearly a week out now from the tropical storm, it would appear I don't fare much better with responses on this forum. So it goes.

For anyone arriving here in the future via google search, my experience has been that the Bambusa Chungii--or blue bamboo--seems to have a fairly strong tolerance to salt water storm surges. This is now the fourth surge that's breached my bamboo over the past 5 years, and my original Chungii is still going strong. At the other end of the spectrum is the Lako/Timor. It's a stunning bamboo, but sadly I am about to lose my third (and final) specimen due to salt water leaching underneath, with the 6" of rain inundation we received earlier that afternoon notwithstanding. I had it in a particularly well-guarded bed of raised landscape ties, but it is looking worse & worse with each passing day. Fool me once, shame on me; fool me three times...

Thanks for posting your experiences here! I faced similar challenges trying to grow running bamboos in my current location. After much backbreaking work digging and transporting divisions, I only have a few survivors. The soils are so wet here, that it is difficult to get runners to establish, but that hasn't stopped me from trying :D .

Have you tried growing Bambusa malingensis? Many sources say that it handles salt spray...perhaps it could perform well for you. It definitely thrives with freshwater inundation. I would certainly try it in your location!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 7:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:31 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Longboat Key, FL
Hi Glen--

Thanks for your reply. I didn't realize there was such a thing as "too wet" for bamboo, as my experience has been that bamboo will take as much (fresh) water as it can get. Then again, I have only dealt with clumpiers and not runners. You must have quite a bit of land to work with if you are raising running bamboo.

You mention the B. Malingensis. The very first clump of bamboo I ever purchased--nearly 10 years ago--was a 25 gallon bamboo that was busting out of the container; I spotted it at a small landscaper/nursery nearby, and they told me it was left over from a job a few years earlier. It was presented to me as "Seabreeze," which is the common name for B. Malingensis. At the time I had no knowledge of bamboo, and I didn't even know enough to ask if it was salt tolerant or even if it was a running bamboo. I bought it on the spot, and I placed it on the corner of our then newly-purchased lot. Nine or ten years later, it has grown to nearly 40' tall with about a 15' clump diameter. In fact, I finally had to run riprap around it, and I have to keep up on squashing new culms that pop up outside of the riprap ring.

Anyway, I was very lucky with this bamboo, as the corner it occupies is a low spot that is prone to salt water flooding, and while the leaves may show some brown after a prolonged surge, this bamboo always bounces back. I have had a few bamboo experts look at it over the years, and there isn't a clear consensus if it's B. Malingensis, B. Ventricosa, or, as an 80-yr-old bamboo dealer who looked at it a few years back told me, it's a tropical hybrid bamboo that's popular along the Gulf Coast because of its salt tolerance. I will attach a photo I took a few days ago of the black Lako I'm concerned about losing, with a Buttonwood to the left of it, and a very little but of this small-leaf mystery bamboo to the left of the Buttonwood.

Aside from the aforementioned salt tolerant bamboo on the corner of our lot, each of my other bamboo clumps is housed in a large raised bed and runs from the corner right along the side property line. If the Lako doesn't pull through, I suppose I could replace it with a Seabreeze, but I like the look of the more exotic and colorful bamboos--the Lako, Chungii, Angel Mist, Dendrocalamus Validus--as opposed to the "generic" bamboos that are always sold at the Home Depot-type places.

I have been deep-watering the Lako each day, and while the leaves don't look great, there is still a fair amount of green. All of the culms are still purple/black; none of them have died (see photo). Is there a point where I can say, "X amount of weeks have now passed since the storm, and the bamboo would have died by now if the surge had been severe enough to have killed it," or is it a waiting game until the spring, where new culms sprouting up will reveal this bamboo's fate?

Thanks again...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:28 am
Posts: 303
Location: Southeast Texas, Zone 9a
Running bamboos, in general, are much less tolerant of flooding than tropical bamboos. I have had many plants die or be quite weakened by periodic inundation, or just saturation in heavy soils. I would generally say that running bamboos can handle any amount of water, if they are on soils with good internal and surface drainage.

The plant that I have which bears the name B. malingensis certainly does look like B. ventricosa. I believe the taxonomic identity of many of these plants is very suspect.

Most of those more exotic bamboos that you are growing will always be more challenging than the old standby plants. But I think experimentation is one of the great joys of gardening!

I always consider new growth to be the only sure sign that further decline will not occur on stressed plants.


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