[permaculture] Article: "In Africa’s Vanishing Forests, the Benefits of Bamboo"

Robyn Francis robyn at permaculture.com.au
Thu Mar 15 18:28:40 EDT 2012


Bamboo rarely goes to seed, once every 50 to 100 yrs depending on type (genus, species, variety), so in-between seeding bamboos are propagated vegetatively, either by cutting or by division of the rhizomes. 

Cuttings are best taken from or near the tips of the culms rather than from the base. I've had great success with striking cuttings and it's not as labour intensive as division (some can be really hard work). By cutting can take a little longer to establish, but once they shoot they'll have the same growth rate as successful divisions.

There's some great bamboo enthusiasts around, and bamboo nurseries for plants, good to contact them and see what works in your climate. You shouldn't need to import plants.   

I do caution against planting running bamboo - they can take over, though they usually tolerate much colder temperate climates than clumping ones. There's some excellent clumping bamboos that can handle a bit cold & frost. 

Oldhamii is one of my favourites as an exceptionally useful clumping bamboo & can tolerate frosts of -8 deg C. I find most of the hedge bamboos, multiplex spp, are also relatively frost tolerant and great source of garden stakes and thin culms. These both grow well from cuttings.

Robyn

On 15/03/2012, at 9:29 AM, David Muhl wrote:

> Hey Chris,
> 
> I'm certainly not a bamboo expert, but my understanding is that most bamboo is propagated by division (rhizomes).  In the past, I've taken bamboo that has grown a full season in, say, a 5 or 15 gallon container, then quartered it in the spring once temperatures are favorable.  You could conceivably get even more (but smaller ones) by growing out individual rhizome buds.  There could be quite a few if you're digging up a field grow specimen.  Then you could start these in gallon containers or something about that size.
> 
> Since bamboos (doesn't matter what species) rarely flower (maybe once in a person's lifetime), and the same species will flower worldwide all within a 2-3 year window, the odds of finding legitimate seed (what you're looking for) are slim.  If anyone else knows otherwise, I'd like to find out also!  Even if you do find some, I understand that when you grow them out, there is quite a bit of variability in their appearance (nothing like the parent plant).  There are also restrictions on the importation of bamboo into the US (not sure why).
> 
> Good luck whatever you decide to do.  
> 
> ~Dave 
> 
> --- On Wed, 3/14/12, Chris Carnevale <c.s.carnevale at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> From: Chris Carnevale <c.s.carnevale at gmail.com>
>> Subject: [permaculture] Article: "In Africa’s Vanishing Forests, the Benefits of Bamboo"
>> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>> Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 7:21 AM
>> There is a great article on bamboo in
>> the NY Times Opinionator blog today: "In
>> Africa’s Vanishing Forests, the Benefits of Bamboo."
>> 
>> http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/in-africas-vanishing-forests-the-benefits-of-bamboo/?partner=rss&emc=rss
>> 
>> On this topic, does anybody have a good source for bamboo
>> seed in the USA?
>> Any experiences worth noting growing bamboo from seed?
>> 
>> Thanks,
>> 
>> Chris Carnevale
>> Charleston, SC
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