Is it normal for bamboo leaves to turn brown?

A customer who bought bamboo from us before the recent cold snap wrote to ask: 
Is it normal for the bamboo to brown in the winter?  All but the Golden Hedge now have brown leaves, following some rather bitterly cold nights we had last week and the week before.  The stalks still look basically the same.
Just wanted to see if something’s gone wrong.  I did avoid watering before the coldest nights for fear of freezing the roots, but otherwise they should have received plentiful water.
I replied:
You haven't done anything wrong.  The unusually cold weather has "burned" the leaves on many of the bamboos.  Those leaves will be falling off in the coming weeks and new leaves will form to take their place.  For information on which bamboos are most vulnerable to winter temperatures, please click on this post


Will the cold snap kill my bamboos?

Dwarf Buddha Belly leaves are beginning to die after being nipped by last week's freezing temperatures

Many people are worried about their bamboos.  People have been calling to ask what they should do to protect their bamboos during tonight's expected freeze.  Fortunately, most of the bamboos are going to be fine even if they are not protected at all.  All the running bamboos and most of the clumping bamboos can handle chilly weather - even when it dips into the mid to high 20s.  Certain ones are vulnerable but even those will rebound when the weather warms back up.  It is important to remember that even if the cold weather kills the above ground portions of the plant, it won't kill the roots.  The roots will remain viable and will send up new shoots again in the summer.

Here's a list of which plants are vulnerable:  all the Textilis bamboos like Emerald and Graceful are extremely hardy and won't be damaged unless temperatures dip into the mid to low teens.  That's also true for all the Multiplex bamboos like Golden Hedge, Green Hedge and Golden Goddess and also for Buddha Belly (Bambusa ventricosa).  Almost as hardy are Blue Timber, Baby Blue, Seabreeze and Yin Yang - those bamboos might suffer some leaf damage when temperatures dip into the low 20s. 

The ones to be concerned about in the current freeze are Dwarf Buddha, Hawaiian Gold, Angel Mist and Black bamboo.  To a slightly lesser degree, Ladyfinger, Asian Lemon, Giant Timber and Sunburst are also vulnerable.


A hand built black bamboo bicycle

Joel, a customer from Knoxville, Tennessee, sent pictures of his hand built bamboo bicycle using our Domestically Grown Designer Quality Polished Bamboo Poles

Joel's project required poles of very specific diameters : 1", 1 3/8", 1 3/4" and 1 1/4"

Building a bamboo bicycle requires poles of very specific diameters.  For most out-of-state customers we select the poles according to their specifications, package them up and ship by FedEx but it is always best if a customer can select the poles in person.  That's what Joel chose to do.  He drove to our nursery from Tennessee in order to hand-pick the black bamboo poles he wanted. He even brought along a cordless jigsaw and lots of blades to cut the poles down so they'd fit in the trunk of his car.

"I've finished the bamboo bike from the poles I picked out at your wonderful farm," Joel wrote in an email accompanying his photos.


When is the best time to plant bamboo?

Bamboo can be planted year round
People often ask when they should plant bamboo.  An email in today's inbox is typical:

I have a small area where I would like to plant bamboo for privacy purposes...the space is about 20 feet.  What is the best time to plant?

My response is that bamboo can be planted year round. 

Spring or summer is an immediate-gratification time to plant because you see above-ground growth soon, shortly after installation.

If planted in the fall/winter, you have to wait longer to see above-ground growth because new shoots emerge in the warm summer months.  But planting in the fall/winter also has its advantages.  It gives the roots a longer time to get established.

With bamboo, it's all about the roots.  Well established roots produce taller, larger diameter more plentiful shoots in the summer growing season.


Another Beautiful Bamboo wedding arbor

I recently received these pictures of an arbor built by one of our customers for their beach wedding:

A long view of the wedding arbor on the beach before the ceremony

Four upright poles, four cross poles plus two additional poles for added support in the back

Plenty of room underneath the arbor for everyone to fit


A patio display of bamboo poles

Perry, a customer from South Florida, sent the following 4 pictures of his bamboo poles purchased to create a very specific looking patio display. 

Because he lived over 3 hours from our nursery, Perry was unable to visit Beautiful Bamboo to pick out the poles himself.  Instead, like many of our customers, he selected poles based on our online photos and descriptions.  Once the order was finalized,  they were shipped to his location. 

Perry selected 15 of our 2" diameter Domestically Grown Designer Quality poles to fill 3 large outdoor vases.  He had very specific requirements that the poles be honey-colored as described on our webpage.

When the poles first arrived, Perry was disappointed because instead of having the honey-colored tone he expected, they had a slight khaki-colored tint.  When he called, I explained that the poles had been freshly cut and then "cooked", which is what brings out their shiny "polished look."

I told Perry that over the next couple weeks the khaki color would change into the honey tones he desired.  Sure enough, that's exactly what happened. 


Creating a serene wall of privacy

I received this letter with accompanying photos from Larry, a customer in Orlando who purchased two 3-gal containers of Emerald Clumping Bamboo in November 2008.  Larry remembers that when he first bought the bamboo one container had 3 thin canes, the other had 4 and both were only about 4' tall.  The plants have certainly grown in the 2 years since they were planted:

Here is how my bamboo looks. It’s a serene wall of privacy. I’m back to watering it every day and will be out to see you for another 6 pounds of fertilizer before the spring!

 The secret to my success was following your and Ralph’s instructions to the letter!
·         I bought
o   your mulch/planting mixture in which to plant the clumps into the ground, and the number of bags you recommended, and
o   the fertilizer you sell.
·         I watered twice a day every day for an hour until our natural rainy season got underway.
·         I fertilize faithfully every six months and still water once or twice daily during the dry season.

We were still in the dry, winter season when the first, new canes began to emerge … about three months ahead of when we expected them to.

The bamboo has grown into a living privacy wall and is a source of serenity, great pleasure, and pride.


Freshly cut green poles

A repeat customer from CA who is an event planner ordered some freshly cut green bamboo poles of various diameters to be shipped to New Orleans for a convention display.  The bamboos had to arrive at a specific date and, because green poles were required, the canes needed to be cut and packaged the morning they were to be picked up by the shipping company. Beautiful Bamboo was happy to accommodate their needs.

Timmy cuts some 2" diameter poles from a mature stand of Bambusa textilis mutabilis (Emerald)

The poles are checked for straightness

An assortment of freshly cut bamboo poles is about ready to be packaged and shipped to New Orleans
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Look how big bamboo can get in one summer!

A customer who bought two different types of clumping bamboo in May wrote to say how well their bamboo is growing:

Aloha Sherry and Ralph - Six months ago I bought a 30 gallon Textilis Mutabilis from your amazing collection. This Emerald has generated 26 new canes already. I enriched the planting bed with 30 bags of Black Kow, peat and organic soils mixed together,fertilized, plus watered faithfully every morning before work.

The two little sisters are Textilis Gracilis (Graceful); these two were only 3 gallon specimens and have produced 17 new canes each in the five month interval since they were planted!

My neighbors are thrilled with the unique tropical beauty of these upright, tight clumpers in our typically small suburban lawns. I'm looking forward to the privacy screen, shade and windblock/ noise barrier this living fence will create.

Thanks for your informative web site and blog. Kind regards, Freddy

After planting in May - One Emerald on the left with two Gracefuls to the right

6 Months Later - the same Emerald with the 2 Gracefuls to the right
The same 6-month-old plants as seen from the opposite side



Shipping live plants

This morning Timmy packed up 6 Golden Goddess bamboos to send to a customer in SC.  

The plants are all in 3-gal size containers.  Before shipping, we enclose the bamboo, which was recently watered, in a plastic bag to maintain moisture during the travel time. 

Two 3-gal size plants will fit in each 48" x 12" x 12" box. 

The plants are wedged into place with lengths of bamboo poles to prevent them from moving around during shipping.

Lots of crumpled up newspaper - a good way to recycle! - prevents shifting as well.

Included in the box are planting instructions. 

Once they are sealed, the boxes are labeled and fragile stickers are added.  Then it is off to the FedEx store to send them on their way.

Bamboo Question: Sun or shade?

Customers often ask if bamboo needs a sunny location or can it grow in shady conditions.  We explain that it doesn't make that much difference if the location is sunny or shady.  What is important are the soil and water conditions.  Bamboos grow best in rich, well-irrigated soil, regardless of whether the location gets a lot of sun or very little. 

Below are a couple pictures of some Bambusa textilis growing very nicely in the shade of some tall pine trees.

The pine tree sends shade down while the bamboo grows up...

...right through the pine tree branches!

GOLDEN GODDESS BAMBOO Bambusa multiplex golden goddess

Here are some pictures of Golden Goddess in 15-gal and 30-gal containers. 

A close-up of the canes to see how full both the 15- and 30-gal containers are

I'm standing on tip toes reaching up toward the top of the plants - 15-gal to the left, 30-gal to the right

30-gal Golden Goddess

A 30-gal is about twice as tall as Timmy, who is 5' 10"

Timmy with a 15-gal plant

Large Poles - Small Car

A customer who arrived in a mustang convertible purchased several large diameter bamboo poles last week.  But how was he going to take the 5" x 10' imported poles home in such a small car?  Not a problem!

He rolled the top down and we placed the poles in the car
With the canes pressed close to the floorboards and the tips extending out the back
Scott is ready to take the hour-an-a-half drive home and start working on his beautiful bamboo project!


Two new pictures of wedding arbors sent by customers

In the past couple days, I receive pictures from two customers who built wedding arbors with Beautiful Bamboo.  Here's the first letter and accompanying photo:

My husband and I bought a few pieces of bamboo from you for our son's wedding at the beach, attached is a picture, it turned out really nice. Thank your husband for helping us select such beautiful pieces.


And the second letter/picture:

This is the Arbor we built with the bamboo we bought from your grove last year. I don't know if you remember us we are the ones that showed up on the day it actually snowed in Florida lol we had a great time and this turned out to be perfect. Thank you.


How do you transport tall bamboo plants?

Although we offer delivery services as well as installation, many of our customers opt to take their bamboo home themselves.  In those cases, we put a lot of care into properly wrapping the leaves and securing the plants so they arrive home in good condition.   If you want to transport bamboos in your own vehicle, remember to bring along plenty of wrapping material.  Tarps, old sheets and even blankets will work.  It's also important to have on hand rope, bungee cords, straps or twine to secure that we can use to secure the wrapping material.

This extra-tall 15-gal plant extended far beyond the trailer of a customer from Dade City.  Note how the leaves have been wrapped in a tarp and secured with twine.              
You don't need a trailer to transport tall bamboos...

The back of an SUV or even a car will do

Even if it means the bamboo will sometimes have to extend out a window and around the front hood...

Tightly wrapped in sheets the bamboo is ready for the ride to its new home.

Asian Lemon - Bambusa eutuldoides viridi-vittata

If you are seeking a stunning specimen plant that has an upright form and eye-catching coloration, Asian Lemon is an excellent pick. The bright yellow canes are accented by bold green stripes. It's relatively short height enables it to be planted under electric lines yet still be tall enough to block a two-story house. The contrast of Asian Lemon's dark green leaves with the plant's colorful canes makes this a valuable and highly desirable addition to the landscape.

These 30-gal plants are approximately 16' tall with multiple canes including new shoots from the 2010 growing season that have yet to reach their full height.

Close-up views of the canes show how full the pots are with culms ranging from 1/2" to over an inch in diameter.