Pseudosasa japonica (Metake)
BELOW ARE MANY USEFUL SUGGESTIONS ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH BAMBOO. HOWEVER – IF YOU’RE CONCERNED ABOUT IT SPREADING – DON’T BUY IT.
The Bamboo we always say ‘looks the best with the least effort’. Very leafy, evergreen and easy. Grows to about 4 metres and looks good on its own or as a nice exotic looking back drop. Requirements of all bamboos: Like all grasses, Bamboos need a reasonable amount of light, plenty of water, plenty of nitrogen (we use ‘Blood, Fish and Bone’ fertilizer) and will always do best when they have little to compete with – particularly grass. Best way to deal with that is dig a clearly defined bed around the plant, mulch it and keep it well weeded.
An abundant water supply is the most important of these requirements and we usually advise customers to install an irrigation system if they’re planting large quantities – especially if they’re on very well drained soil (chalk or sand for example). Ask us for details about irrigation.
Creative Maintenance and Controlling the spread of Bamboos: The following applies mostly to the Phyllostachys bamboos. The Fargesia bamboo hardly spreads at all and only requires occasional removal of dead canes. Pseudosasa and Sasa bamboos require little Creative Maintenance – they do well if left alone with the occasional removal of dead canes. Not without reason, people worry about bamboos eating their garden. We think there’s a relatively easy system for growing bamboos that’s both practical and cosmetic.
1. Creative maintenance. Here’s what you do: cut out the dead canes and the runty little thin ones that are never going to come to anything. You’re now left with only stout young and healthy canes. For them to look at their best, remove all the branches below an arbitrary line – maybe about 3ft or 1 metre above the ground. Experiment and see what you think. It’s very easy and can make an enormous difference to the way the whole plant looks.
2. Control. If you don’t want it to spread (and most will, if allowed to), clearly define the area you want the bamboo to grow within. Every time it sends any shoots out beyond its designated area, chop off the runner as close to the main plant as possible. Nothing like using a spade with a nice sharp edge that you’ve just created on an electric grind stone. This way you’ll keep the plant under control and it will never have a chance to develop enormous root systems that can render bamboo extremely difficult to control. This does mean that the canes on your plant will never get as big as if it was out of control but if you have a small garden, this seems a small price to pay. We see the whole process as a kind of self fulfilling_ prophecy – keep it under control and it will be easy to control. Let it get out of control and it will be extremely difficult to control. We sell bamboo barrier which you could also use if you’re worried about it getting carried away.
N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.
As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.
Hardiness level Green