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Listners Question- Where Can I Buy Bamboo?

Posted - Nov. 10, 2001 at 6:18 a.m.



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Could you tell me where I could purchase bamboo in Salt Lake or Utah County? Several nurseries carry a small selection of bamboo plants in our area. I recently saw some at Ben’s House of Bonsai in Murray. Because many bamboo varieties are tender, most nurseries will only have some of the hardier varieties. Since they are very common in California and the nurseries bring much of their stock in from that area they can likely order whatever you would like. Bamboos are grasses. They have very stiff stems because of the silica in their stem tissue. They have been use for many purposes for many millennia and are now finding an important place as ornamental in our country. Some types of bamboo are very large and will grow to more than 100 feet high. Others are small creeping groundcovers. Homeowners often overlook them, but some make a nice evergreen addition to the ornamental grass palette. The Giant Bamboo Forest in Asia is the endangered habitat of the Giant Pandas; however, there are a wide variety of smaller bamboos that are useful in a garden setting. Many bamboo plants are tender, but there are bamboos that are hardy in our colder northern climate. Some bamboos will die back to the ground in the winter, but will sprout anew in spring. There are two types of bamboo: running bamboo and clumping bamboo. Running bamboos can be quite invasive; therefore it is important to plant them in an area in which they can be contained or where their running habit is an asset, not a detriment. Clumping bamboos do not spread; they form clumps. Several bamboos have interesting shaped canes, or stems—there are golden bamboos and bamboos with zigzag canes. Bamboos are usually evergreen and therefore provide good winter interest. Sunset Western Garden Book lists more than 40 kinds of bamboo. Most are tender and will die if temperatures drop below 15 degrees. A few are hardy to subzero temperatures including the Yellow Groove Bamboo and the Dwarf Whitestripe Bamboo. There are at least two plants that are erroneously call bamboo that are not. We will talk about them next hour. Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Thanksgiving Point Office

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