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Re: [Chat] orn. grass/ bamboo in cold climates

This is a bit late, but someone, I think Rich (?)  expressed interest in 
growing bamboo in zone 4/5 climate.  A local  bamboo enthusiast and member of the 
Bamboo society had been doing some  research on cold hardiness of bamboo, he 
sent me the following posting he had  kept in his files.  I know very little 
about bamboo, but perhaps  this is of some interest......read on...
zone 9
Texas Gulf Coast 
Notes from Gardenweb
Posted by: Leo_in_Zion_IL cold side of 5 (My  Page) on Thu, Apr 15, 04 at 
I have a 20 year old planting of  Phyllostachys auroesulcata. This is my most 
successful bamboo. It is now 40 feet  long by 8 feet wide between the house 
and the driveway, which keep it confined  nicely. The planting stays evergreen 
with no leaf loss 3 out of every 5 winters.  This year I lost leaves but the 
culms survived and will send out a new flush of  leaves in spring. Some years 
the culms winterkill to the ground. Back in '84-'85  we had -25 F winter with a 
week where the daytime highs were sub zero F. The  grove killed to the ground 
but the rhizomes sent up a new flush of culms that  spring. Once the grove 
got to be 10 years old I consistiently get 15 foot culms.  An excellent bamboo 
for this area. (Zion is 45 miles north of Chicago)  

Phyllostachys nuda, & Phyllo bissettii do equally well. I have a new  P 
decora planting which looks like pulled through the winter okay. My new  planting 
of Phyllo. rubromarginata took damage this winter, don't know yet if it  will 
sent up new culms. 

Indocalmus lattifolius stays evergreen for me.  This planting is in its 5th 
year for me. It is planted in a spot that is shaded  all winter long. It is not 
growing very fast, but the huge green leaves are very  exotic, especially in 
January. As a ground cover under the Indocalmus I have  Plieoblastus 
viridi-striata, it kills to the ground regularly. If it does not  kill to the ground, I 
mow it in early spring to keep it fresh looking. Lovely  soft green & yellow 
striped leaves. 

Fargesia nitida does well. I  have a clump that is about 10 years old now. My 
planting is in heavy shade, so  it does not get very tall. I am still at 5 
feet tall after 10 years. I hope it  does not flower, or if it does that it may 
survive and persist after the  flowering is over. In a sunny spot I also have 
a Sasa ramosa for another ground  cover. 

I mulch about 6 inches deep for the first couple winters, then  the bamboo is 
on it's own after that. Shade from winter sun will help marginally  hardy 
species avoid winterkill. I am sure there are more species that will work.  I 
have failed to get P. vivax to established. I planted it twice, both times  early 
in my bamboo career, vivax is a definite failure here.  I am fairly  
confident that with a mild winter or two and deep mulch it will be possible get  
Phyllo. rubromarginata growing around here.  I am certain there are many  other 
species that will make it around here. Any others Chicagoans with success  
Good luck.  Leo 

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