Bamboo After Cold Winter
I planted bamboo in my backyard many years ago. Here's some of the previous posts in case you are interested:
Bamboo in Heavy Snow - pictures after a big winter ice storm
Bamboo - 2011 - a much harsher winter meant lots of dead leaves in the spring
More Drain Pipe - trying to route a roof gutter drain around bamboo roots
Bamboo 2 - the first winter, hoping my small trees survive
Bamboo - the original grove of trees in West Virginia where i brought the trees home from
Bamboo in Cold Climates - a summary of how it's grown here in Michigan
I have two different types of plants, which i brought back from West Virginia and Kentucky. Over the years it has been a struggle to keep the plant alive here in Michigan's cold winter weather. In West Virginia the bamboo grew year-round and reached a height of about 50 feet tall. However in Michigan that same plan can only really grow for a few months before the weather gets cold and covers the ground with a foot of snow. This was one of the coldest winters, usually the leaves stay green all year, but this time they all turned yellow and died.
In previous winters I was able to keep the plant alive by putting layers and layers of grass clippings, leaves and mulch on the roots. After doing some research I believe that the large bamboo I have in my yard is Yellow Groove bamboo and reading about that specific species, I learned that it may be killed if the weather dipped below -15°F.
In 2014 the temperature was below -15°F on multiple days. When spring came I knew all the parts of the bamboo above ground were dead. So I got out my hand clippers to cut all the stalks down to the ground. My dad came over and helped cutting and stringing all these branches in bundles. One nice thing though is that the bamboo stalks themselves are pretty light, since they are hollow.
Another great thing about bamboo, which some people also hate, is that they are hard to kill. The bamboo plant stores energy in its roots, which are called rhizomes, and use that energy to grow new shoots in the summer. So even though it looks like the plant was a goner this spring, I knew there was a good chance it would come back as the weather warmed up.
One spring day in May I went out and noticed several new shoots coming out of the ground.
As you would expect they were coming up close to, or right next to where I cut down the dead stalks. Usually these new shoots have to compete for light with the main plant, but these new shoots were able to collect all of the sunlight. Although that's not really a big deal because as far as nutrients go all of the shoots are connected together and work as one. Bamboo is the same as the grass growing in the yard, it looks like many individual blades of grass, but it's really interconnected clumps which support each other.
Here's what it looks like now, it's actually hard to notice a difference from a year ago. The bamboo is such a quick growing plant, it goes from nothing to full height in about a week. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world.
The only downside is that there's not as much nutrients going into the roots this year, since there are less leaves absorbing sunlight. But actually I think I could probably just cut the plant down to the ground every year and it would grow back good as new.