When should I trim back cold-damaged leaves and canes?

A customer from San Antonio, FL asks:
I wanted to know if I should trim off the dried leaves on the Angel Mist and Dwarf Budda Belly?. We covered the Budda belly on the cold nights. The bottom 10" is green the rest brown. I gave them a little dynamite fertilizer the other day and plenty of water. Should I just leave everything alone and let nature do its thing or should I trim?. Second question, is now the time to lay down some good compost?. This year I have "Worm Castings" for compost and I'm also growing composting worms, I wanted to go a little more "green" this year. Have you ever tried worm castings? What do you think?

My response:
We're still being cautious and waiting until the end of February to trim but it's probably safe to do some snipping now. As the weather warms, live sections of cane will start to send out new leaves and, of course, as soon as it gets even warmer, new shoots will begin to appear. You can add compost and/or worm castings any time at all. There is no bad time to apply top dressings of organic matter or mulch to bamboo. Good for you for growing worms! That's something I've always wanted to do but never gotten around to setting up. We've had a compost pile for years but no worm bin. Your plants should respond with vigor!

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