12/13/10

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.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tip. It was on my mind since I just bought some golden goddess and a graceful. Thank you. I planted the day before it crept into the 30s. Now, a week later, the leaves are turning brown along the edges. I have been diligent on watering and I hope the cold is the cause. Time will tell...

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  2. Eric - Your bamboos may lose some leaves but I doubt if either golden goddess or graceful (two very hardy bamboos) will be affected by the cold. Continue watering and they will be fine. Those two varieties are hardy down to the low to mid teens.

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  3. Leona - If you've had damage after the freeze you will notice some if not complete leaf drop. Keep up on the watering and then apply a nitrogen rich fertilizer. We use an 18-6-8. Once spring comes new growth with flush out on your canes. After it recovers if you notice any canes or branching that have died off you may cut them out.

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  4. I have golden goddess bamboo and live in Austin Tx...it was green even through the freezing weather until we got freezing rain and the ice covered the leaves and burnt them all. I have reported since they were root bound and added nutrient rich soil and fertilized with 10-10-10 granular hoping I can restore them to last year's lush plants ..if I can save them, I won't leave them out or uncovered in that kind of weather again.

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    1. The golden goddess will handle temperatures in the mid to low teens. Freezing rain, certainly could cause some damage. Go ahead and fertilize. Wait for new growth, and trim out anything that does not survive.

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  5. I have had bamboo outside of my home since we moved here in Pennsylvania. We moved here in 1975. I love it!! Some of the leaves have turned white over the Winter. Will they come back in the Spring??

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    1. The cold may have damaged the leaves and not the canes. You will need to wait and see where new growth pushes in on the canes this spring. Once you are past the last chance of frost, go ahead and trim out any brown canes. It would also be a good time to fertilize and apply a top dressing of organic matter.

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  6. My black bamboo lost all its leaves and looks pretty bad. I live in NJ and we had a lot of heavy wet snow and freezing rain. Will the leaves come back or are those stalks hopeless?

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    1. Yes, we have heard much of this lately. Do not trim anything that still has green canes. Sometimes, new growth will push off those brown leaves. You may trim out any tan canes that appear dead.
      Go ahead and fertilize with a high nitrogen fertilizer and keep them watered. You may also do a top dressing of a compost mixture.

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