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Growing Bamboo in Colorado? #164452 - Ask Extension

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Growing Bamboo in Colorado? #164452

Asked January 17, 2014, 1:36 PM EST

Hi There-

I've recently heard of landscape architects specifying Bamboo in their plans.  I'm totally surprised by this, but am I missing a trend that might work here?  I suppose it stands to reason that if it grows in Japan where it snows, it might work here. What's it's tolerance to drought? Would it be invasive here?
thanks!

Boulder County Colorado

Expert Response

There are some varieties of bamboo that are hardy in Colorado with the proper care. These are mainly in the genera Phyllostachys. Proper site selection, soil amendment and winter protection is needed to ensure survival in Colorado's cold winters.

Plant bamboo where it is sheltered from both temperature extremes and drying winds. This can usually be achieved by selecting a site with a northern or eastern exposure. Plant early in the season to allow the plant to properly establish before winter. Apply a thick layer of mulch after the ground freezes to protect the roots and prevent them from drying out. Do not remove the mulch too soon in the spring as this will expose tender new shoots to possible late spring frosts, which can quickly kill the plant.

Bamboo can be either running or clumping. The running types, which include several of the hardy varieties, can spread aggressively. The American Bamboo Society recommends a barrier made of HDPE (high density polyethylene) at least 40 mil thick and 30" deep to prevent spreading. Regularly checking for rhizomes that have spread past the barrier will also help to control spreading.
Micaela Truslove Replied January 22, 2014, 2:23 PM EST

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