The best way to buy bamboo plants is to buy large divisions; multi-culmed offsets taken from strong healthy plants. If you can get them, and if you know how to handle them.
Large propagules produce large plants quickly, and can give spectacular results. If badly done, the bamboo can go backwards very quickly, and so you have to be prepared before your plants arrive. Some bamboo species are very easy to handle this way. Some can be difficult and require careful attention to detail. With years of experience in producing, and using, this type of material, I can offer advice to buyers. For more detailed descriptions of bare-rooted bamboo plants on our price list, please call (or email).
'Bare-rooted blocks' are actually bamboo plants cut from the ground in spring and include the soil attached to the roots and rhizome. Very few roots are exposed. The culms are shortened and the plants stabilised before shipping. This is the preferred method for producing large bamboo plants quickly. The vital energy of all bamboo species is in the rhizome; the woody underground part of the plant that produces the new shoots. The basal part of every culm in a clumping bamboo is a rhizome, (the 'handle, or 'duck-foot'). This rhizome has buds on it's sides that produce the new shoots, and here in the rhizome and lower culm, the plant stores energy from photosynthesis in the leafy top. It's best to shorten the culms and remove most of the leaves to match the reduction in the root system that sustains them, but these offsets still retain the ability to produce large shoots and long leafy branches.
This type of bamboo propagation material is particularly suited to plantation growers, landscapers and nurseries who need to source bamboo propagules at minimal cost.
You need to have your site prepared before taking delivery. Allowing the roots of bamboo plants to dry out in the sun for even a few minutes will damage them. This is very important. Even bamboo that is very hardy when established can be easily damaged at propagation. The sun can also overheat the culms and damage them. Think of how and where to store them between delivery and planting; a shady sheltered place is best, with the plants upright and the base blocks covered. The use of sprinklers can help bare-rooted plants to cope with sun and wind. Be prepared before the bamboo arrives.
Water is essential, and a piece of poly pipe with micro jets, or garden hose and sprinkler with a basic timer makes a great irrigation system. If you can wet the leaves once or twice a day for a while this also helps. Bamboo loves humidity and can absorb moisture through its leaves and buds. Even though some varieties are very hardy, even tough when established, at this stage of propagation they are easily damaged and will benefit from careful attention to detail.
Both bare-rooted and container-grown bamboo plants that are very tall, need to be protected from excessive movement caused by strong wind, for a short time after they are transplanted. Shortening the transplants helps minimise this, but you'll need a few stakes and some rope to be sure a storm wind won't blow your plants over and break the new roots growing out into your well prepared planting hole.
Mulch not only protects again moisture loss and adds life to the soil, it also protects the soil from temperature extremes. This is especially important when planting bare-rooted bamboo offsets; even when the soil is suitably moist, high temperatures will noticeably damage the plants. Established bamboo plants have an ability to withstand high soil temperatures, and in fact this helps to initiate root growth and shoot production.
Shortly after planting you see dormant buds swelling and opening and new leaves and branches emerge to replace older ones that slowly yellow and fall. In warm, moist well drained soil the roots develop quickly, and soon you have new shoots.
Bare rooted blocks at planting, and again after 5 months.....
REASONS TO BUY BARE-ROOTED BAMBOO
- PRICE - unbeatable. This is the cheapest way to buy big bamboo.
- SIZE- speed of establishment. Get bigger plants much quicker.
- SKILL- ideal for farmers, nurserymen and experienced gardeners. The same skills are required to transplant other plants.
REASONS NOT TO BUY BARE-ROOTED BAMBOO
- UNPREPAREDNESS - you can't provide the simple planting requirements mentioned above before delivery.
- INSTANT PERFECTION - some yellowing and replacement of leaves is normal for transplanted bamboo. Some culms may slowly die before the new shoots appear. New branch and leaf growth signals success but brown crispy leaves means the plants have been damaged.
- INSTANT HARDINESS - Blocks can only be stabilised to a point before they then must be planted in the ground or planter bags. When you buy bag grown stock from a bamboo nursery this is done for you. When you plant bare-rooted stock you have to be prepared to give them extra attention if they need it, until they are established. (As in very hot and dry weather.)
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