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Despotate of bamboo
30th November 2004, 05:40 PM
I have been developing a plan to propagate some "Alphonse Karr" bamboo.

The first question is this: Is it possible for cuttings to survive and root during winter temperatures (often around 35-65 degrees in this area)? The termperatures usually do not drop below 38 degrees even at night around this time in this area. Sometimes there is a minimum of 40-45 degrees for five days consecutively. Can the bamboo cutting grow roots fast enough in this temperature to survive?

The plan I have decided upon:

Remove part of the upper section of a culm and remove all branches except for one off of the cutting.
Plant the majority of this into the ground or perhaps in a pot.
Possibly put a bag over the pot to maintain humidity.
Then continue watering regularly until new growth occurred.
Eventually transplant to a certain section of the yard.

I would plant any branches cut during this process either in the yard's soil or a in a pot in an attempt to get some branches to root.

Any advice on how to get either of these to successfully occur or things to improve the overall success are greatly appreciated. :)

Mark Meckes
5th December 2004, 08:24 AM
Hi,
I've only propagated bamboo by root division, as I've spent most of my time hanging around runners, though I have propagated cuttings from other plants.
So here's some thoughts and speculations...
- Success (of failure) can vary, even with closely related species.
Some species, eg Phyllostachys spp. are nigh on impossible to root from cuttings though there have been (unproven?) claims otherwise.

- Age of cutting material - 1-2 year old cuttings are optimal

- Section of culm that is used ( need photos )

- Optimum season and state of growth of parent plant for taking cuttings

- Soil/air temperature (optimum - 70 -75 degrees F ?) and high humidity during propagation.

Propagating from cuttings isn't a precise art for the easy to root bamboo species.
It is possible to make cuttings of Bambusa multiplex, B. oldhamii and other bamboo species in late spring when the weather has warmed up, in a pot of well draining, but moisture retentive potting mix, set in filtered sun/shade with no other aid but occasional misting will root during the summer....
But if the conditions are less then ideal, the cutting, though it may eventually root, may require a much longer period (one to two years) before it jumps into a state of vigorous growth.
Some species, if stuck in the ground, green, at the right time and place will grow into a hedgerow of bamboo.
There are other species that can be very finicky and require more precise conditions.
It would be a worthwhile project to compile the known info about propagating bamboo. I think we'd find there's a lot still unknown, especially on a per species basis.
If you have the inclination to propagate bamboo, go ahead and experiment, try different ways, there may be surprising results!
Take notes.
Cheers,
Mark

Despotate of bamboo
10th December 2004, 07:07 PM
Status report on bamboo cuttings:

I have two Alphonse Karr cuttings in the garage (which usually is around 75-80 degrees in during the winter). Also there is a single exposed lightbulb in the garage.

The first cutting I or rather we made has grown about two roots within four days. The plant is growing in regular soil from the yard (I wanted to use potting soil however why it does not have it is another story). We have recently put a bag over it to build up humidity (We had a bag on before however it was not really very air-tight, why it was not even though I wanted it to be is also another story). We have been able to clip more of the branches every day (the leaves have folded up considerably however (why this is the case instead of cutting most of the branches the first day would be difficult to explain here). Now only a very small portion of the branches have leaves and most are cut to about the half way point. Hopefully when we checked on the cutting to see if it was growing roots that did not disturb it too much. The node with root growth is currently back under the soil and will be left there until we transplant it (which will be at least a few months away).

The second cutting is planted in a mixture of potting soil, sphagnum moss, and a small portion of soil from the yard. This plant received a white powdery rooting hormone on the cut portion and the two nodes above the cut. Only one node is below the soil however. We have placed a bag over this cutting as well and have tapped the bag to the pot (the drainage holes are not covered by the bag though). This plant is also in the garage. We acquired this cutting around 3 or 4 o'clock Eastern Standard Time today.

I suspect the both cuttings will survive however the second one is likely to become very healthy. Both cuttings came from the same Alphonse Karr bamboo which has about twenty culms or so (it had around 8-10 when we first acquired it in the late summer and has grown massively). Each cutting came from the top of an established culm rather than any with the sheeths still attached (though all the shoots seem to have reached maximum height a few still possess sheeth structures).

Edit: I wrote the above text on December 10.

Now on December 11 I noticed that the leaves on the first cutting I made have unraveled back to a normal condition. Previously the leaves were rolled up due to a lack of moisture absorption now however they appear to be much healthier and do not seem to indicate a lack of hydration. The bags have built up some condensation which is helpful. I have a spray bottle I can spray the leaves with now also.

Mark Meckes
11th December 2004, 03:07 PM
Wow! now that's some report! Research requires these kind of details.
You might want to keep an eye on the soil temp.changes. Electrical heat propropation mats are a great aid for propagating cuttings of plants.
I think it's good not to use too big a pot, relative to the size of the cutting, which can lead to a soggy oversaturated medium, damping off, etc.
There's a balancing act on choosing pot size, smaller size means watering more often, but I think if you can get a good circulation of moisture (laden with fresh oxygen) during this rooting period, the vigour and growth would be more then if the roots were in stagnating soil.
Another approach, when there's a lot of cuttings available would be to start multiple cuttings per pot...
I'd be real interested to see if small cuttings from pieces of side branches would root. I believe reading somewhere that they don't root, (as readily?), but don't let this stop you from trying it!

This technique might interest you too...
Lateral Branch Propagation - Dendrocalamus latiflorus (http://www.bamboocraft.net/forums/showthread.php?t=923)
I reckon it should work on different Bambusa's and your Alphonse too.

We've got a big clump of it in the front yard...may try it out next spring

Mark

Despotate of bamboo
11th December 2004, 04:09 PM
This technique might interest you too...
Lateral Branch Propagation - Dendrocalamus latiflorus (http://www.bamboocraft.net/forums/showthread.php?t=923)
I reckon it should work on different Bambusa's and your Alphonse too.

We've got a big clump of it in the front yard...may try it out next spring

Mark

That sounds interesting. I will try to test it when the weather heats up. It looks like one could get a large quantity of propagules by doing that technique. For some reason I crave the acquisition of propagules immensely. It is almost like an an obsession. The culms of the bambusa oldhamii I have in the backyard are mostly are curved somewhat horizontally and lean over so it would hopefully be easy to get soil to the branches or nodes.

I had this idea about tapping some styrofoam plates to stakes in the ground and piling up sphagnum moss and peat moss on these plates to get the rooting medium around the node. If that does not appear to be viable I could try cutting up one or two bags and tapping them together around the nodes and filling them in with sphagnum moss and peat moss. I think it would be effective to wait until it becomes warmer to try this since the soil would be exposed to cold temperatures currently. I hope that if I can get a culm to root before I cut it then the culm will be much healthier once it is growing post cutting.

The advice you gave about the effects of pot size will be very helpful also. The pots are fairly small I planted the two cuttings in. I will make sure to keep the drainage going. I think I need to reduce how much I water somewhat now that the leaves have stabilized (the soil seems to remain moist for long periods of time in the garage perhaps the lack of wind is why).

Mark Meckes
11th December 2004, 05:12 PM
"It is almost like an an obsession"
Yeah, I've been there! :rolleyes:
...I'm holding back on too much bamboo propagating...run out of space!...and time to look after the boo-kiddies! (though at different times I've made a partial living from bamboo, which I'm thankful).
Yeah, but I'm interested in trying out the air/layer method, of making a partial, angled cut in the stem, below the node, (maybe if neccessary, prop the slot open with a bamboo twig?), wrap a fistfull of moist spagnum moss
in and around the cut, and wrap some black plastic around it and tie it with string at both ends so I could check it out occasionally... just some thoughts off the top of my head...

Mark

Despotate of bamboo
13th December 2004, 12:09 PM
I have two more questions:

The first serious of related questions have to do with bags used to build up humidty. Do the bags require regular changing to allow the cutting access to fresh air? Are slits or small holes in the bag useful or necessary for allowing ventilation into the bag? Does the cutting get enough oxygen and carbon dioxide if one does not change the bag except maybe once ever 5 days or so (there have been some holes in the bag during this time period however)?

The other question is: During the air layering process is it usually necessary to cut the culm to encourage rooting? Do the nodes root without cutting into the culm or is it in fact usually necessary to cut into the culm to induce rooting?

Mark Meckes
14th December 2004, 06:10 AM
I have two more questions:
The first serious of related questions have to do with bags used to build up humidty. Do the bags require regular changing to allow the cutting access to fresh air? Are slits or small holes in the bag useful or necessary for allowing ventilation into the bag? Does the cutting get enough oxygen and carbon dioxide if one does not change the bag except maybe once ever 5 days or so (there have been some holes in the bag during this time period however)?
Generally there's a need for higher humidity initially, and as the plant adjusts it can gradually be reduced, by providing access to fresh air.
In fact, a cutting's reaction to a decrease in humdity provides an indication to how well, or not, the cutting is rooting. It may have to do with propagation conditions, or viability of the cutting due to species variety, material used, time/season collected or numerous other factors.
(reflecting on the past experience with other cuttings...I would have a tendancy to leave too many leaves on a cutting, then cut them off later if the cutting continued to wilt, or as they yellowed. I know that if the leaf to stem ratio is not well `balanced', that it can affect the vigour of the plant.

Plastic bags...
I read a brief mention in a bamboo article... about propagating a certain (?) tropical Schiyzanthum(sp) species required leaving it enclosed in a bag for two months before it rooted - no other info or comparision. I'm guessing that it took longer to take root then other species...(?)

Slots - no slots?...
Warmer soil temp and warmer air temp leads to increased evapotranspiration, gases etal - need to exchange air more often...

Colder temps can lead to dampness and stem rot problems.

There is great advantage to rooting some cuttings in a sterile or`soiless' medium to prevent mildew, molds (etc) from forming inside the plastic bag.

5 days- no air? Well... that depends...
The other question is: During the air layering process is it usually necessary to cut the culm to encourage rooting? Do the nodes root without cutting into the culm or is it in fact usually necessary to cut into the culm to induce rooting?
Well, partially severing the bamboo culm affects the flow and composition of nutrients. This in turn causes a biochemical reaction that concentrates root inducing hormones at the nodal juncture, which is the primary area where root buds (as a survival defense) will develop if the conditions are right.(just made all this up!)
Now, many especially temperate bamboo species are nigh impossible to root from above ground parts.. wheras various tropical rainforest bamboos are very adept at growing aerial roots, above ground, from their nodes...

Back to the subject of Bambusa multiplex species, and in particular B.m Alphonse Karr... Would it root with no incision? Don't know. If I still don't know in 6 months I'll give it a go in the (late?) spring both ways on our AKboobush.

Mark

Despotate of bamboo
14th December 2004, 11:02 AM
In fact, a cutting's reaction to a decrease in humdity provides an indication to how well, or not, the cutting is rooting. It may have to do with propagation conditions, or viability of the cutting due to species variety, material used, time/season collected or numerous other factors.
(reflecting on the past experience with other cuttings...I would have a tendancy to leave too many leaves on a cutting, then cut them off later if the cutting continued to wilt, or as they yellowed. I know that if the leaf to stem ratio is not well `balanced', that it can affect the vigour of the plant.

This advice will be very helpful. :) Now I see what a sterile medium is (was unsure before).

I think that the first cutting we acquired sometimes experiences leave roll ups when left outside of a bag or in bag lacking much humidity for more than a brief period of time. The leaves look a bit white even. The other cuttings so far have not had their leaves roll upwards so I hope that they have consevered their water effectively. I think that since we were able to get the leaves to uncurl in the past the first Alphonse Karr cutting we made might root ok. Also I think the one time we checked for roots it had about two (we have avoided disturbing the roots since then). Still that cutting was not done as properly as the second. Edit: I think there may be a problem with the cutting since the leaves are still rolled up today (it has been 24 hours and they have not unrolled even after watering). The bag does not seem to be building up humidity either. I think that I will need to water again and seal the holes in the bag perhaps. Edit after previous edit: The leaves recently unraveled after I poured about 75% or so of a cup's worth of water into the soil and sprayed substantial amounts of water droplets into the bag. We put a new bag on the first Alphonse Karr cutting after we saw the leaves unfurl the new bag has no penetrated sight and therefore should build up substantail humidity. The leaves look like they might have black lines on them (possibly from the stress) though most of each leaf looks a very dark green color. The second Alphonse Karr cutting should signs of leave rolling however we clamped the hole in bag after pouring some water and spraying some more into the bag. We were able to spray the leaves some. The Bambusa Chungii cutting seems to be fine. I think that the cuttings will all survive however the humidity and frequent watering still seem to be vital to maintaining hydration. The root systems apparently are still relatively small.

We were able to change the bags on all the cuttings yesterday. Therefore only the first AK cutting we acquired stayed in the same bag for more than two days (that was the one that was in the bag for five days). There were some holes in the bag after the first night of having a bag on the plant.

Btw, the other two people who helped me get the first two Alphonse Karr cuttings decided to get a third cutting of Bambusa Chungii. So I helped them with watering and bagging it in the garage with the other two. We were much more prepared for the third cutting. We had the Green Light rooting hormone, sphagum peat moss, and Perlite peat moss. I also acquired some weedblocker carpet-like netting incase we can use for air layering when the temperatures increase. We have four bamboo in the back yard therefore if all three of these cutting survive and root we will have seven in backyard by next spring.

Mark Meckes
15th December 2004, 08:13 AM
Well, it's all a learning experience :)
...and there's a lot of clumpers around needing judicious pruning!
The thing about cuttings is that once you figure out what works for you, it can then be repeated in multiples. A lot of bamboos are clones from an original source or collection. Though some tropical species can produce seeds, many bamboo species rarely do, and some are never known to have produced seeds and are presumed to be ancient hybrid selections, propagated by cuttings and divisions by countless generations of tribal villagers.

Checking for noxious mealy on multiplex cuttings
As a pre-caution, you should check that Bambusa multiplex spp.cuttings don't have any Noxious Bamboo Mealybugs (http://www.bamboocraft.net/forums/showthread.php?t=842)(Antonina pretiosa) as Bambusa multiplex species are favorite food to this bug. The Leaves often get coated by a black `sooty mold', which apparently is spread by ants which feed on the nector produced by the mealy bugs.
An established clump of Bm spp manages to grow on despite this resident inhabitant, but I do believe it reduces the life-span of each culm.
It's on our AK clump, probably came with the plant, though in 5-6 years time it has doubled in size each year (must find pics) and should now be called Alphonse Elephantus Karr.
If I make any cuttings I would want them to be free of this bug, probably using a repeat application of insecticidal soap in spring - I might spray with dormant oil this winter.
Mark

Despotate of bamboo
21st December 2004, 10:16 AM
Although it has been awhile since I posted I have returned to continue this thread.

The first Alphonse Karr cutting has been in a pot that is currently in the garage for about 14 or 15 days (most of that time was spent in the garage) and the leaves seem to have recently fallen off. Before the leaves fell off they began to shrivel up in a somewhat different fashion from rolling up due to a lack of water. This does not appear to be a positive indicator for the health of the cutting. The bag did not seem to be stopping this problem so we decided to remove the bags and allow more light access for the plant. Also, we though it was time to test how well the cuttings could do without the bags (we continue to spray them with a spray bottle about two-three times a day).

The second Alphonse Karr cutting which has been in the pot for about 12 days (and exposed to root hormone on the first day of being cut) still has leaves however most are about fifty percent yellow and seem folded (water does not seem to changes this status). Some leaves have fallen off however a somewhat high percentage remain.

The third cutting of Bambusa Chungii has been in its current pot for about 9 or 10 days has dropped many leaves (which were primarily green with the occasional yellow tips). The leaves appear to be folded up somewhat (both watering and spraying do not seem to cause the leaves to unravel anymore). The leaves remain much more green that with the other two cuttings however.

We could put bags on them again however that seems to reduce exposure to light (we now have a strong light aimed at the cuttings however). Also the problems with the first cutting seem to have been occuring gradually and steadily despite the usage of a bag.

The black stains of the leaves seem to have mostly disappeared (though the appear on and off perhaps). The first cutting was the primary one to possess the black spots however the lack of leaves has left it without those stains (in a harmful way however). Although someone has said it looks like the black stain (in the form of a stripe) has appeared on the branches of one of the cuttings I would have to check to see whether it is still there or not.

Mark Meckes
21st December 2004, 03:31 PM
Hi, :)
Here's some thoughts...

There may be a `best' season to propagate cuttings of Bambusa species, giving highest success.

Sure, greenhouse propagation can be artifically induced by extending daylight hours for vegetative growth, by optimizing air and soil temperatures, and moisture, humidity and nutrient levels etc...
...on the other hand...some species can root by just sticking them in the ground...though if the conditions aren't optimal, survival rate is reduced.

Plants experience periods of dormancy in which circulation and displacement of nutrients may be shut off or diverted into root zones for storage and further assimilation.
Hot summers, dry seasons, drought or cool and frigid winters and decreased daylight hours can trigger dormancy.

Each species has it's own unique built in time-clock for performing all the functions it takes to sustain life and regenerate.
(In the USA, almost all bamboo species have been introduced from another climate, so we should learn a lot about bamboo by comparing their adaptability from place to place.)

For some species, if growing conditions are not `just right', and not done in the `right season' , they suffer terribly or outright die. Other species are tolerant of much wider variations of growing conditions.
In nature, bamboo has specific times of the year that it performs very specific functions. This is what makes this plant unique among plants.

Here's a revisit to some things to consider for cuttings propagation ...

- lighting - intensity /duration (if artificial - type of light)
- ambient humidity
- air temp/circulation
- soil moisture
- nutrient management
- soil temp - A thermometer or an indoor/out-door temp gauge, using the `outdoor' probe line to measure soil temp, works good.
- cuttings viability
- etc

All the best with your efforts, and if you don't succeed, try, try again!

Mark