Monday, September 19, 2011

Alphonse Karr bamboo revisited

Last Halloween I helped friends of ours plant three Alphonse Karr bamboos (Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’) in their backyard. Click here to read that post.

I recommended Alphonse Karr because it is a beautiful clumping bamboo that thrives in our Mediterranean climate and tolerates our winter lows (rarely below 25°F). Like all members of the genus Bambusa it is a fast grower—a definite plus when trying to create a privacy screen, like our friends are doing.

I recently blogged about the tremendous growth of our own Alphonse Karr, and yesterday I took my camera over to our friends’ house to document the progress of their Alphonse Karr.

Here is a photo from last Halloween right after planting:

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Newly planted specimens on 10/31/2010

And here is the same view 11 months later.

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The clumps look much fuller now and will eventually be tall enough to block the view of the 2nd story windows next door
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The clump on the left will also provide a partial visual screen of the compost tumbler and toolshed

Like all Bambusas, Alphonse Karr produces shoots in later summer and early fall, so there’s a lot of activity still waiting to happen.

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New shoots

New culms have a very pretty pink blush that over time fades to yellow, accented by green vertical stripes in a random pattern.

                                                                                                                                                           
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New culms with pink blush; the emerging branches will soon dislodge the culm sheaths (the papery covers that protect the culms as they telescope into the sky)

Since Alphonse Karr is a clumping bamboo, our friends don’t ever have to worry about the bamboo escaping into their neighbors’ yard. No rhizome barrier needed, as would be the case with running bamboo.

In our area, Alphonse Karr is one of the most popular bamboos and it is one of the few bamboo varieties available in most nurseries. I think it’s one of the best all-round varieties for most applications in a mild-winter climate.

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