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As a comment about Hardy Bamboo (Fargesia rufa), RickCorey wrote:

Fargesia rufa is very cold hardy for a bamboo. It tolerates one-night exposures down to -10º F in still air and only loses its leaves. Colder or windier nights or prolonged cold spells will kill the culms or even the roots. Mine was completely flattened and lightly buried by a snow storm, but it sprang back without harm when I brushed the snow off.

Fargesia rufa prefers some shade and tolerates considerable shade.

{Edited to reflect information from OldGardener}
According to the American Bamboo Society, Fargesia species in general do not tolerate very high summer temperatures,
but humidity must be a factor, as OldGardener points out below.
http://www.bamboo.org/BambooSourceList/BambooSelector.php
http://www.bamboo.org/BambooSourceList/BambooPlants.php?G=73...

Maximum height is 10 feet.
Maximum culm diameter is 0.5 inches.
Clumps droop into a "mushroom" or "umbrella" shape.
Clumps expand by only an inch or a few inches per year. Rhizomes are shallow and easily contained by shallow barriers.

Flowers are said to be shaped like toothbrushes.
The culms are smooth and have very few branches.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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OldGardener
Jul 10, 2014 11:19 PM CST
There are multiple reports of Rufa growing well (from 5-6' wide in 2 years) from San Diego up to Sacramento. From my research, it appears that it is heat + humidity (aka - the Gulf states) that is the killer.

I'll be interested in how it does in zone 10 (high temps, low humidity). I will be planting (18) of them in dappled shade.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 11, 2014 11:20 AM CST
Thanks, OldGardener. I edited my initial comment to reflect your research.

I haven't had any experience with hot summers since I moved from New England (CT, NJ & NY) to coastal WA.

I originally chose F. rufa because I wanted to grow bamboo poles and hoops around 1/2" diameter. After four years, mine is still closer to a thick, stiff grass than a bamboo skewer, let alone a chopstick or 1/2" hoop! I probably should have started with F. robusta or something even thicker.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Jul 11, 2014 12:33 PM CST
Rick, what a great resource. Thank you so much for posting the links! I found it interesting that the American Bamboo Society has it listed as Fargesia dracocephala 'Rufa' (as so many other places do) - especially in light of this conversation yesterday:
The thread "Fargesia Rufa vs Panda" in Plant Database forum
I find it all quite confusing Confused Blinking Sad
RickCorey said:
I originally chose F. rufa because I wanted to grow bamboo poles and hoops around 1/2" diameter. After four years, mine is still closer to a thick, stiff grass than a bamboo skewer, let alone a chopstick or 1/2" hoop!

It is amazing to me how variable this particular cultivar seems to be. I will be interested to see how it performs here (fingers crossed). I will not mind if it remains grass-like as long as it comes in thick and fairly tall. I have neighbors who use the lot line as a trash area and I need a good, tropical -looking screen quickly. I read a few blogs where landscapers are using F. rufa as screens and most are planting them 10' on center, estimating full coverage in approximately 3 years. I am now concerned, though, after reading your account of inches per year that I may be quite disappointed in the results. I had considered using Arundo donax but thought that would be too hostile of an act Hilarious! .
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 11, 2014 3:10 PM CST
As to the names being confusing - for me, too!

If my tiny amount of reading has steered me right, every variety is almost a clone and propagates by spreading or division until every member of that clone, all over the world, 10 to 100 years later depending on variety, flowers seeds and dies within a year or two of each other. Then each seedling becomes a new clone.

With kind of life cycle, how would you test for "same species" in the sense of "capable of pollinating each other"? Wait several decades until it flowers and dies? Then you would only know retroactively.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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OldGardener
Jul 11, 2014 3:22 PM CST
That is definitely a problem. Is there any info as to where Fargesia rufa is within its cycle? With my luck, we are at year 79 of a 80 year cycle.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 11, 2014 3:41 PM CST
I don't recall ever hearing. I bet landscapers don't stress this!

>> thick and fairly tall ... I need a good, tropical -looking screen quickly.

I think F. rufa would do well for you, if your variety in your climate acts the same way mine did. When I said "a few inches per year of spread" I meant the diameter of the soil patch from which culms emerge. It is a very slow-spreading "clumper" in my poor soil.

HOWEVER, its "droop" means that the diameter that is screened by foliage is something like 1/2 of the culm heights, and each year they come in MUCH longer for me. I would say that the new erect culms have been 8-18 inches taller than the previous years bowed-over height. I'm not sure what that works out to in width-per-year, but my 2-year plant sprawled around 5 feet wide.

I don't have a photo of my three-year plant in the fall after new culms "sprawled", but I have a photo of it 4.5 years old, pre-new-growth, that suggests my 3-year plant must have been around 8 feet wide . At that point, I stopped watering it and fertilizing it, And started pruning it back from the sidewalk.

>> 10' on center, estimating full coverage in approximately 3 years.

Hmmm, that means each plant had to sprawl to a diameter of 10 feet? I THINK that my 3-year plant was around 2 feet short of that goal. But my soil stunk! Very low organic content and thin mulch. And I put it in a raised bed that dries out too fast around the edges, so in effect it was only intermittently watered. And now that I know it prefers shade, I might be giving it too much sun , which is NOT something a coastal PNW gardener says very often!


I bought it as a tiny clump in July 2009, from Home Depot, in a 2-3 quart pot. It wasn't MUCH bigger the second year, perhaps it "only" doubled or tripled the size of its foliage. And July might have on the late edge for planting it out. If you start with bigger, more expensive plants and give them better soil, yours may take off faster than mine.

I guess you don’t want to wait an extra 3-4 years to screen your neighbor’s trash completely. But you could buy fewer clumps and divide each 3-4 ways after 2-3 years. Replant 1 or 2 or 3 clumps between each original clump. And then you would have a uniform hedge, instead of 18 umbrellas in a row.

>> Arundo donax

A runner? You are a naughty person!


There is a PNW Chapter of the ABS:
pnwbamboo.org

This is 4 years old but BEFORE it's Year Four growth spurt. So this is how wide it must have been late in Year Three, after drooping.


Thumb of 2014-07-11/RickCorey/091f45

So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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OldGardener
Jul 12, 2014 8:00 AM CST
RickCorey said: When I said "a few inches per year of spread" I meant the diameter of the soil patch from which culms emerge.

Okay, now I feel like an idiot (where is the hand to forehead emoticon? Hilarious! ).

RickCorey said:I'm not sure what that works out to in width-per-year, but my 2-year plant sprawled around 5 feet wide.

I don't have a photo of my three-year plant in the fall after new culms "sprawled", but I have a photo of it 4.5 years old, pre-new-growth, that suggests my 3-year plant must have been around 8 feet wide .


This gives me hope. It will be nice not to have to look at the trash, dead plants, etc., any more.
RickCorey said:
I bought it as a tiny clump in July 2009, from Home Depot, in a 2-3 quart pot. It wasn't MUCH bigger the second year, perhaps it "only" doubled or tripled the size of its foliage. And July might have on the late edge for planting it out. If you start with bigger, more expensive plants and give them better soil, yours may take off faster than mine.

I am actually starting with plugs but I must admit, these plugs look good. They arrived in tree flats and each has a 2x2x3-4" root system. I am in the process of potting them up for the summer. Come September/October, they will be placed in their final homes at the bottom of the hill. Although our native soil is adobe clay (can that even be considered soil?), the soil along the fence line is deep leaf mulch from years of buildup so *hopefully* the bamboo will be happy.

RickCorey said:... you could buy fewer clumps and divide each 3-4 ways after 2-3 years. Replant 1 or 2 or 3 clumps between each original clump. And then you would have a uniform hedge, instead of 18 umbrellas in a row.

I actually will have to divide to get full coverage. I bought all of the plugs that Santa Rosa had left over and am considerably short - even with 10' centers. Their property envelopes ours - sort of a U-shape.

RickCorey said:>> Arundo donax

A runner? You are a naughty person!

YES - and I am still tempted Hilarious! 'Just a sign of my frustration.


RickCorey said:is 4 years old but BEFORE it's Year Four growth spurt. So this is how wide it must have been late in Year Three, after drooping.
Thumb of 2014-07-11/RickCorey/091f45

BEAUTIFUL!
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 13, 2014 9:36 PM CST
Thank you! I do love that little guy, ... "little" for A bamboo, though he is starting to loom over his neighbors in my yard.

>> Although our native soil is adobe clay (can that even be considered soil?), the soil along the fence line is deep leaf mulch from years of buildup so *hopefully* the bamboo will be happy.

From what I read, bamboo loves organic mulch. So I assume it will love the organic soil. Also from reading (somewhere), I hear that either this variety or most Fargesia do not need very thick soil, that their rhizomes stay within 4-6" of the surface.

When I read that the rhizomes stayed near the surface, I stopped amending the soil.

(But I do have good drainage, since that raised bed is at the top of a tiny slope in my front yard. I agree with you that you need drainage before you can even improve the soil. )


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