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While we specialize in hardy clumping species, we boast a wide variety of bamboo types that can serve a multitude of purposes. Additionally, we have been at the forefront of introducing new and exciting species into the horticulture trade. From timber bamboo to cold-sensitive bamboo, we’re sure to have the bamboo best-suited to your needs and growing conditions.
The genus Phyllostachys is the most familiar among bamboos found in the temperate world. Most species are native to middle to eastern China and Japan. It includes a great range of sizes; P. aurea ‘Koi’ barely reaching 20 feet, to P. edulis “Moso” which can grow over 70 feet tall. Phyllostachys also boasts some of the most prolific bamboos, such as P. aureosulcata “Yellow Groove” and P. heteroclada “Water Bamboo.” These are strong, resilient, and generally fast-spreading bamboos which can withstand the heat, cold, and drought that we encounter in our vast and varied climate within the United States and Canada. Phyllostachys are what many consider to be the classic bamboo –a giant grass capable of forming beautiful, open groves. Distinctive characteristics include impressively tall, robust culms with a pair of branches at each node, and a sulcus (an indentation in the side of the culm above the branches). Not only are they effective, fast-growing privacy screens; they also have great ornamental value. Phyllostachys come in a number of culm colors, butterscotch gold, black, light and dark green, lemon yellow sometimes with a red blush in the spring, and green culms which are often covered with an attractive bluish waxy coating in the spring. Some species, such as P. aureosulcata ‘Spectabilis’, create a striking color contrast between bright yellow culms and a dark green sulcus.
Under ideal circumstances, a well-established grove of bamboo, such as P. vivax, can produce new shoots with such vigor that one can practically hear them pushing towards the sky. During shooting season, these new culms can grow over a foot a day, emerging from the ground in April and reaching 60 feet by June. Rhizomes that spread underground horizontally, are usually found within the top six inches of top soil. Though more slender than the culms, they are anatomically similar, with nodes, a sulcus, and buds found on alternating sides. Usually pale yellow in color, they will sometimes take on the coloring of the culm when exposed to light. Phyllostachys rhizomes are running, or leptomorph. They seek out areas where the sunlight heats the ground, indicating that there is plenty of available light, therefore, a prime location to send up a shoot. For methods of controlling bamboo see: Bamboo Control
Controlling the spread of bamboo is a matter of regularly pruning the extending rhizomes. Support roots, differing from the rhizomes, anchor the tall culms to the earth and can reach depths of over two feet, providing sturdy resistance to wind, snow, and ice. The common P. aurea “Golden Bamboo”, and P. aureosulcata “Yellow Groove”, among others, have contributed to bamboo hype (and a few horror stories). Running bamboo requires regular maintenance, and a neglected bamboo can sometimes get “out of control”. Such situations are usually the result of lack of knowledge regarding effective bamboo maintenance.
One of Bamboo Garden’s most important goals is to educate and inform the public so that they understand how to tame bamboo and appreciate this peaceful giant for all of its endearing qualities. See: Maintaining Bamboo
Phyllostachys are the most popular and sought after hardy bamboos in the United States. Their great utility, as well as their resounding charm, make them highly desirable. The full spectrum of bamboo uses – from paper to stir-fry, timber to surfboards, even using biomass pulp for producing electrical energy– remains largely untapped in the United States. As landscape plants, however, bamboo’s popularity is on the rise. The beauty of bamboo, as a solitary specimen, an evergreen privacy screen, or a real bamboo forest where one can stroll among towering culms, ensures that these bamboos will always be in demand.