Should bamboo watering schedule change with the seasons?

A customer from Winter Park, FL wrote to ask about winter watering needs for bamboo:
Now that winter is still with us, yet changing into something like Spring over the next few days, should we adjust our winter watering schedule? We have restrictions at this time of year: once a week is the city limit. Yet I could go out and give each bamboo clump, say, a gallon or two a day if you advised. Most of the bambusa chungii still have green leaves, but on a number of these leaves the tips are brown. I'm thinking that is a seasonal thing, but maybe you will say more water is needed. I'm also planning to put Black Kow around each clump later this week.

My response:
Soil conditions, fertilizer and water are the 3 key ingredients needed to make large, healthy bamboo plants.  

Clumping bamboos send up new shoots during the warm months and those shoots will be a larger diameter and taller if they are growing in rich, well-irrigated soil.  Adding compost, manure, grass clippings or any other organic matter as a top dressing around existing plants is always beneficial in any season.  As it rains or when the bamboos are watered, the nutrients from the top dressing leaches into the subsoil to be absorbed by the roots.  

If water restrictions limits watering to once a week any additional hand watering will help.  The more you water, the sooner new shoots will emerge.  But don't worry if you can't do that.  Bamboos can handle minimal watering, they just grow faster and get bigger sooner if they are more frequently irrigated.  

The browning on the tips of the Bambusa chungii (Blue Timber) is, as you suspected, just a natural part of the winter season.  Bamboo leaves die and fall to the ground all year long but it seems to happen more so in the winter.  The brown tips are not a sign that your plants are lacking in water or are nutrient deficient.  It just signals a transition time from one season to the next.  

Keep your eyes open for new shoots on the Bambusa chungii.  Just within the last few days I've noticed new shoots emerge on the Blue Timber bamboos that we planted last year.

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