California is in year 4 of the drought. and the state is subject to mandatory water conservation. This summer I switched to a once-a-week watering regime. I knew the succulents and perennials would be able to handle it, but I wasn’t sure about the bamboos. While the running bamboos in the stock tanks in the backyard did suffer, the clumpers in the ground didn’t miss a beat. In fact, they produced more new culms this year than in previous years! As a result, the clumps have gotten quite congested—to the point where they need a good thinning out.
I tackled the most urgent case today: the Asian lemon bamboo (Bambusa eutuldoides ‘Viridivittata’—say that three times fast!) next to the front porch. As you can see, it’s gotten huge and has been casting too much shade on everything around it. This is not the look and feel I want.
Can you see the large sago palm (Cycas revoluta) at the base of the bamboo? Look closely, it’s there.
There it is, getting way too much shade. I’m actually surprised it produced such a massive flush of leaves this year.
From the street, all you could see was a dense mass of green (look behind the palo verde and lamp post).
Now take a look at the “after:”
Quite a transformation, isn’t it?
The sago palm is the star of this corner now.
I’ve thinned out the clump of bamboo enough so it looks light and airy.
Amazing how much more you can see from the front porch!
From the street, you now see individual culms, glowing in the warm winter light, instead of a dense mass of green.
I feel I can breathe now when I see this.
Thank heavens (or rather DeWalt) for my reciprocating saw. I used up a whole saw blade, but I cut down at least two dozen culms. My wife helped cut up everything into 6-foot sections for yard waste pickup. We ended up with two piles in the street.
I can’t get over how different this part of the front yard looks.
This is why I fell in love with bamboo in the first place.
About half of the culms that are left are new and haven’t fully leaved out yet. I will have to do some additional trimming in the spring to maintain the airy look. But considering it’s been at least a year since I did any work on this clump of bamboo, I would still consider bamboo no more labor-intensive than most shrubs or trees.