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A bamboo hedge is not only a good privacy screen, but also brings something exotic to the home garden. But the plants from the sweet grass family are also great for balconies or terraces. Poaceae, real eye-catchers. The various bamboo species usually survive the German winter well outdoors. However, it happens that bamboo dries up despite good winter care. And then the question arises: what to do?

Natural leaf shedding

Although bamboo is an evergreen plant, it also loses leaves. This natural shedding of leaves begins in fall to late fall. However, it does not lose all its leaves, but only gets rid of those that are no longer useful to it, i.e. leaves that do not receive enough light for photosynthesis. Regular thinning out helps the bamboo, because this way enough light gets inside the plant.

Unnatural leaf shedding

The following types of damage, which mainly occur in winter, are not natural causes, even if you water the bamboo plants regularly:

  • shedding of all leaves
  • yellow or brown culms

If these signs appear, then they are an indication that the bamboo roots have suffered damage. This can usually be traced back to two causes:

  • cold drought
  • lack of root formation before winter
Fargesia murielae, umbrella bamboo, Muriel bamboo

cold drought

Most bamboo species that are offered for planting out in the garden in this country tolerate temperatures down to -25 °C or -30 °C. As evergreen plants, however, they also need sufficient water in the cold season, as a lot of moisture evaporates through the leaves. Therefore heard regular watering with the sweet grass for winter care, otherwise it will dry up.

Cold droughts are understood to mean periods in which there is no precipitation and the thermometer falls well below the freezing point. So there is dry and cold weather that freezes the ground. This weather has two consequences for the plants:

  • no possibility of water absorption
  • roots dry up

Since the sweet grass lacks the necessary water to survive, the chances of saving it are slim. Nevertheless, you should give the plants a chance and start a rescue attempt:

  • cut down radically
  • pour normally

With a bit of luck, especially if the root area hasn't completely dried out, the plants will begin to sprout again. You should be patient, because the new shoots can last until summer.

tip: Preventively water the plants with lukewarm water during cold drought, this increases its chances of survival.

Lack of rooting before winter

In order for the bamboo to quench its thirst, it needs enough roots. If it does not have enough time to root, the roots can dry up during the winter because they cannot absorb enough water. This often happens when the sweet grass is planted too close to winter. Since the consequences are often very serious, the gardener speaks of a "complete damage to the bamboo". This shows up as follows:

  • stunted new shoots in spring
  • death of the plant

tip: A bamboo planted out only develops its full winter hardiness after three to five years, because it is only after this time that it has really rooted itself.

What to do? Since bamboo plants are very robust in and of themselves, you should also try to save the sweet grasses in this case. Prune the plants radically and keep watering them normally. As with the cold drought, the same applies here: with a little luck and patience, they will survive and recover over the course of the year.

tub culture

There is also a risk that bamboo plants will dry out despite watering during the cold season if they are kept in a bucket. As with the outdoor specimens, frozen substrate and lack of adequate roots are the two biggest enemies in container culture.

Hibernation outdoors

If the bamboo is to overwinter outdoors, it must be protected from the penetrating cold. Therefore, the bucket is covered with a fleece. It is best to place it on a thicker wooden board or a styrofoam plate against the cold from below. Also make sure that not too much water falls on the plant from above, because the sweet grasses do not tolerate waterlogging in the long term.

hibernate inside

So that the cold season cannot damage the bamboo plants, you should look for a suitable winter quarters for them. A room with a temperature between three and seven degrees Celsius is ideal. A heated winter quarters is not recommended, as the bamboo will rot very quickly there. It is also more susceptible to pests and mold growth. In addition, you should keep the plants in the winter quarters rather dry.

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