After reading my post expressing my desire to experiment with growing bamboo for fodder, a friend of mine suggested I look into the Fargesia genus of bamboo. He sent me this article titled Non-Invasive, Cold-Hardy Clumping Bamboos/ The genus : Fargesia.
As explained in the linked article the Fargesia genus of bamboo is cold hardy but more importantly the root characteristics are non-invasive. The difference lies in the fact that the roots are clumping instead of running much like the perennial bunching onions mentioned previously. Pachymorph describes this nature of the roots opposed to leptomorph which describes the running rhizomes of invasive bamboo species. The latter is an organism much like turf grasses which both homeowners and gardeners know can be a pain to contain!
Phenomenons occur with bamboo that are still not well understood by man. Bamboo will flower, create new hybrid seeds from the flower pollination then typically die. This makes preserving the parent specimen difficult unless it is clonally propagated before its death. However the result is many new varieties of bamboo from the hybrid seeds. This monocarpic reproduction resulted in the death of the entire population of cultivated Fargesia in the 1990’s but resulted in offspring that vary wildly in characteristics.
Also pulled from the linked article is a breakdown of the different species and their characteristics that I have condensed. All included species should do well in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia’s USDA hardiness zone of 6-b.
Arching habit [Green house or garden hoop row construction candidate]
Tolerates not only the frozen winters but heat and humidity
It can reach a height of 15 feet, but normally 10 ft
USDA cold hardiness zone 5-9.
Fargesia robusta ‘Pingwu’ Green Screen™
Holds up well in the heat and humidity of the Southeastern U. S., unlike other Fargesia types
Maximum height is 18 ft.
USDA cold hardiness zone 6-9
Fargesia rufa ‘Oprins Selection’ Green Panda™
Extremely cold hardy and heat tolerant
It grows into a large clump (6-8 ft wide)
Maximum height is 10 ft. maximum and culm diameter is 0.5 inches.
USDA hardiness zone 5-9
Grows well in shade as well as full sun
Fargesia scabrida ‘Oprins Selection’ Asian Wonder™
Very narrow leaves and a graceful appearance
Stems show great color, with orange culm sheaths and steely-blue new culms (stems). Culms mature to olive green.
Maximum height is approximately 16 ft
USDA zone 5-8
Prefers sun to partial shade
Again, all credit for the information in this post is retrieved from here and due to:
Susanne Lucas, Horticulturist
Pioneer Plants, LLC. http://www.BambooSelect.us
9 Bloody Pond Road, Plymouth, MA 02360 USA firstname.lastname@example.org
[Note, I think her address is badass!]
I don’t really have a preference for species. For fodder any of the plants will provide the goats and other animals with the fun of browsing vegetation 10 feet tall. For building materials it would seem that the tallest species at maturity are the best choice. I am going to find what is available locally or by mail order, then make my decision.
3 thoughts on “Revisiting Bamboo as Fodder: Non-Invasive Genus Fargesia”
I thought about having bamboo and looked at the variety you mention. Alas, I think my garden is too small but it is beautiful as well as useful 🙂
It really is a beautiful and fascinating plant. The evergreen leaves can feed goats/cows and the woody parts are great building materials!
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And not to mentions the great privacy screening it provides for all the homeowners and gardeners reading
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