7/22/10

Emerald - A bamboo gem

EMERALD TIMBER BAMBOO    
Bambusa textilis mutabilis/Kanapaha
Can grow 30-40 feet with 2" diameter canes. Very Hardy


Emerald - also called Royal Bamboo or Wong Chuk - is a stately and elegant cold-hardy bamboo

I often refer to Emerald as the "big brother" to Graceful bamboo because they are both members of the Textilis family of bamboos.  

The new shoots come up fairly close to existing canes, which produces a nice tight clump that will not only look attractive but help to provide a dense privacy screen.
Emerald is one of the cleanest, neatest looking specimens we carry.  The tall, straight canes on this timber bamboo have very few side shoots so they rarely need pruning.  The space between culm sections is unusually long, which give the bamboo an especially striking appearance. 
The new canes have a slight bluish tint

Another striking feature is the slight blue tint that appears on new shoots and remains throughout the first year of growth.  After that, the blue changes to an emerald green color, which means at all times the clump has multiple shades of color.

The four clumps of Emerald that I'm standing next to are just 1 year old.  Each one started with a single cane planted 4' apart.  In only one growing season they have formed a tall, full hedge. 
Many people who look at Emerald in our demonstration area say, "This is what bamboo is supposed to look like." 

Planted in 2002, this mature specimen of Bambusa textilis Emerald also started out with just one single cane.  Look at it now!

36 comments:

  1. I am wanting to create a "grove" with the kanapaha and am wondering if it can be pruned to have a more open appearance of a running bamboo. My current plan is to have a 20' X 25' L-shaped grove with about 8' width. I am planting the clums about 4' apart. I live in the Panhandle of Fl, so winters get a bit cold for the Oldhamii. Is this a good bamboo to accomplish this.

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  2. You can create a "grove" like you describe with Emerald but it will require quite a bit of annual culling of canes. A better possibility might be Blue Timber, which already has a more open, less dense growth pattern. Blue Timber is also very cold hardy - more so than Oldhamii but not quite as hardy as Emerald.

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  3. Hi Sherry! We are interested in planting these along our fence line to hide our neighbors houses. Do you think it will offer enough privacy and not take up to much space off the fence line? I am thinking about 1 to 2 ft. Looking for bright green bamboo with some foliage on top...we live in south florida.

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  4. Emerald would be a good fit for the area you describe, preferably in a 2' space rather than a foot-wide area. If you plant the bamboos 4-6' apart in enriched, fertilized and irrigated soil, you can expect the bamboo to form a solid wall of green by the end of the first summer growing season. Check out the "Before and After" pictures on this blog to see how quickly clumping bamboos have formed similar hedges for our customers.

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  5. Oh Sherry you just broke my heart...

    I wanted the Emerald on my yard...the irrigation is questionable though...

    What kind of Tall, clumping, cold hardy, and thick caned bamboo can I put in a not so well irrigated and shady yard?

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  6. to anonymous: where are you located? if you live in a climate where the temperature never gets below 18-20 degrees, then Emerald will work for you. shade is not so important. bamboo will grow fine in sun or shady locations but the water is important. why are you unable to irrigate? is water available? if you explain more fully, perhaps we can offer suggestions. don't want to break anyone's heart...!

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  7. Broken hearts can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle...hehehe.

    I'm in Staten Island, NY Sherry...Sometimes the temperature dips lower than 18 degress over here.

    I just realized...irrigate...meaning provide water supply...My yard has plenty of that.

    So what do you think? Emerald would be ok?

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  8. I wish I could say yes, but unfortunately, Emerald would not make it on Staten Island. Like most clumpers, Emerald is a tropical plant and although it is hardy down to 18 degrees, it will not survive winters where the temps dip below that even if only for a few days. I grew up in PA/NY so I know what the weather s like where you live. You can, however, grow any of the running bamboos, all of which love cold weather and actually do better in cold climates than hot ones.

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  9. I see, I love how the Vivax looks but it may just be too much bamboo that my yard could handle.

    The yard is 25x100 big. Can it handle the Vivax you think? If not...you think Japanese Timber is appropriate?

    I wanted to use the bamboo as a privacy screen on along the borders of the yard. There's this 3 story house I wanna screen out.

    Also the SPREADING CONTROL is a little concerning to me, just because I don't want our neighbor's yard to be invaded.

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    1. Vivax is one of the slower-growing running bamboos; however, if you are concerned about it spreading into a neighbor's yard, you might be safer with a clumping bamboo. What state are you thinking of growing in? If a clumping variety isn't an option, you'll have to look into a barrier to keep the bamboo roots from spreading throughout your yard and your neighbor's.

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  10. I have prepared a planting bed for emerald goddess. I'm trying to prevent new shoots from coming up in neighbor's yard that likes to use round up. I have a barrier to 8" below and 2" above. Is this enough to contain spreading to planting bed?

    Many thanks,
    ann

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  11. Ann - Emerald is clumping bamboo and clumping bamboos are not invasive. New shoots that come up will emerge right next to existing canes. Once the circle of bamboo gets as large as you want it to be all you have to do is knock over any new shoots. Once they are broken, they will no longer grow. A barrier is neither necessary or effective. Clumping bamboo roots are 18 inches deep so a 8 inch barrier won't do much of anything.

    BTW, are you mixing up two bamboos? We sell Emerald Bamboo and also Golden Goddess Bamboo. Both are clumping bamboos but we don't sell a clumper called Emerald Goddess. It would be best to know the botanical name for the plant to properly advise you.

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  12. The person at nursery called it emerald goddess. After looking through your site more I'd say it it golden goddess. It has pencil thin reeds.

    Thanks for your help and quick response!

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  13. Where do you live, Ann? In most parts of the country, the only bamboo that will grow are running bamboos, which are invasive. Here in FL and a few other warm-weather states, we can also grow clumping bamboos, which are not invasive. It is important with bamboo to know exactly what type of bamboo you are purchasing before you plant it. If it is a running variety, the roots can go 3 feet deep, You will need a special product made for bamboo to contain it. Please check with the nursery for the actual Latin name, not the common name, before you purchase you bamboo. If you like, you can also purchase bamboos from us. We ship plants throughout the country and will be sure to give you accurate information and advice about the best bamboos for your particular situation/climate.

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  14. Hi Sherry,

    I live in Dallas, TX inside the city where it is warmer than the outskirts, but the winters still can have a few days below 18 degrees, and last winter we dipped down to 6 degrees a few days, which were near record lows. That being said, I am looking for a timber clumping bamboo like the Blue or Emerald to place in various locations around the yard some being shady and some in full hot Texas sun. I have some running Suow in wine barrels, but the Dallas heat is too much for the containers this year, and the height too constrained in the wine barrels. I prefer clumping if planting in the ground. Will the Emerald and Blue survive the Dallas winters?

    Thanks!
    Matt

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  15. Hi Matt - Unfortunately, none of the clumping bamboos are tolerant of temperatures in the single digits. The most cold hardy varieties are the Multiplexes (Green Hedge is a good example) but even they will only tolerate temperatures of 13 degrees. All the running bamboos will do fine at cold temperatures but they will need to be controlled to prevent them spreading into neighboring properties.

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  16. I live in Southern NJ and would love a clumping variety of your bamboo to line a border with my neighbor. I was hoping for a black bamboo but the clumping varieties are runners from what I'm understanding. So I thought maybe the Emerald here but after reading your post about the Staten Island location, I'm having second thoughts. Can you please make a recommendation? Thank you.

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  17. i wish I could offer you a clumping bamboo that will grow in southern NJ but none of the clumping varieties we sell will grow in your climate. you can, however, look into purchasing from another supplier (someone whose nursery is closer to your area) who might stock a fargesia clumping bamboo. fargesias don't grow in FL because they need a higher altitude but they might grow in your area. other than that, i would suggest installing a bamboo barrier to contain any of the running varieties, which will all do very well in your area.

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  18. First let me say that I love your cite. Very informative- the best I've seen as I've googled for information about bamboo. My question: I live in Key West FL. We just bought a house near a very unsightly property. The space between our house and the fence is 6 ft of hard cement like surface. I believe it's just the way the earth & soil are in KW! Plus we need to use that space as a walkway to get to the steps & back yard. I would like to plant bamboo in pots to eventually hide the neighbors property, but still use the space as a walkway. Can you suggest any bamboo that we could grow in pots & would meet our needs for a screen?

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  19. Many bamboos do well in containers. One of the best and one that should do especially well in Key West because it like a hot tropical climate is Dwarf Buddha Belly (Wamin). Although it has a relatively small height (15' max), the canes are dramatically large and interesting with cool looking bulges that create a very Asian look and definitely attract attention. Check it out on our Clumping Bamboo page.

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  20. Thank you for your suggestion Sherry regarding the Dwarf Buddha Belly bamboo. I showed my husband the pictures & his question was "how fast do they grow?"
    We have about 40 feet of fence area to cover. Would it be OK to buy extra large pots & plant a 3 gal container of this type of bamboo in this size pot and just let it grow? What size pot should we buy? How many? And how far should we space them to give us the coverage we need? Lots of questions- sorry- but we really want to hide our neighbors property!!! Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. The Dwarf Buddha Belly would grow well in large pots (maybe at least 3' wide and tall) and I would try spacing them every 5' or so. The bamboo will send up new shoots every year which will reach their full height in less than two months - so the short answer is that it grow fast! Dwarf Buddha Belly is a clumping bamboo, so it will send up new shoots outside the existing ones in a circular pattern each summer. Good luck!

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  21. We just moved to Terrell, TX (75161) on 2.25 acres. We would like to surround our open property with a natural barrier of Bamboo to provide a screen. What would you suggest in the way of a tall (20+ foot)running bamboo? The more invasive and faster growing the better, as we have a lot of area to cover. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. My favorite running bamboo and the one that we feel provides the densest, most upright, evergreen hedge is S. fastuosa viridis (green hedge bamboo.

      Here's a short description from the Running Bamboo page at www.beautifulbamboo.com:

      Can grow to 25 to 35 feet with 1½" diameter canes.

      Makes a very tight and fast hedge or fenceline planting. Dark green leaves. Very vigorous spreader grows straight and dense with leafy branches clear to the ground.

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  22. Hello Sherry,

    I am here in UK and we get pretty cold weather. I am really interested in growing non-invasive and clump forming bamboo which is not too tall either. Few days ago, I purchased a Dwarf hardy Bamboo, Asian Wonder which can get 1.5 m max tall and can spread up to 2 m max.
    I tried finding some information online but wasn’t so lucky and I am not sure what is the Latin name for this bamboo. I don’t want it to spread like a weed or get very high just 7 to 8 feet do you think I am using a right sort?

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    1. Hi there, it looks like the bamboo you purchased is Fargesia scabrida. It is a clumping bamboo, so it is easier to maintain the size of the clump, hardy to -23°C, and grows to about 3 - 3.6m tall at maturity. It seems you made a great choice!

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  23. hi sherry
    will it possible to have emerald here in my place, riverside california with 92508 zipcode?

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    1. Emerald should do well in Riverside, CA. Like all bamboos, it likes a rich, well-drained soil so if your existing soil is clay, rocky or sandy, you might need to dig out a large planting hole and replace existing soil with an enriched mixture of compost, manure and woodchips. It's also important to water regularly for the first year and to mulch heavily to help retain moisture. Once the bamboo is established, you won't need to water often.

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    2. thanks for the reply!....on your home page where it shows the family picture of yours with young baby in the center of the picture---what kind of bamboo tree is in the background? will that grow in my place? my address--- riverside, California 92508. is it clumping type and why the trees are not that close to each other?

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    3. The bamboo in the picture of our family is Giant Timber Clumping Bamboo (Bambusa oldhamii). Oldhamii should do fine in Riverside, CA. Oldhamii is one of the more open clumpers, meaning it sends out new shoots a little farther apart than many other clumping bamboos do. The result is a more open looking grove. Also, every year before new shoots emerge, we prune out some of the older, smaller diameter canes to encourage that open look. You don't have to do this but in this particular bamboo, we like the way it looks when smaller diameter canes are removed.

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  24. I would like to mix different types of bamboo trees. I have a fenced yard and I have available about 30 feet. It all grass and the tress next to the bamboos will be a queen palm, in one side and a pomegranate tree in the other side. I'm thing of emerald, blue and ying and yang bamboo. What are your thoughts? Also the bamboos will be planted across the pool, which measures 30" long and the fence is white.

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    1. You've chosen three very beautiful and hardy varieties of clumping bamboo that should look lovely against your white fence. With only 30 feet distance, you don't have a lot of room. Keep in mind that for best results, clumping bamboos should be planted at least 4 to 6 feet apart in rich soil and watered regularly. All three varieties are available at our nursery. Call 352-429-2425 to make an appointment.

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  25. Hello Sherry,

    I'm a little confused. You have some listed aliases of Emerald being Royal and Kanapaha. Tropical Bamboo has Emerald listed separately than the Kanapaha. Are they two different bamboos or are they the same?

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  26. There was some confusion a number of years ago, so we another bamboo grower did side-by-side test plantings. We both agreed that the two bamboos look the same, shoot at the same time and the shoots and canes look exactly alike.

    The 'Kanapaha' comes from Kanapaha Gardens in Gainesville, FL. We presume they planted Bambusa textilis mutabilis many years ago. As you may know, bamboo growth and appearance is very dependent on local soil conditions.

    We presume that they or someone else named their attractive specimens after their Gardens. As time passed, some people came to believe they were a different species. We do not believe they are.

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  27. I live in Dallas ,Tx. Can you please advise me what type of bamboo will do well in containers?

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    1. Most bamboos will grow in containers as long as they get sufficient water, fertilizer and sunlight. Some varieties, however, are better suited for container growth than others. One of the best is Dwarf Buddha Belly bamboo, a clumping variety with large interesting shaped canes and big leaves. Also, any of the running varieties make good container plants. For more suggestions, please call Beautiful Bamboo's nursery manager, Jennifer, at 352-429-2425.

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