Cold Hardy Edible Bamboo


Can you tell any difference between that patch and bamboo in full sun? Is it as dense of a grove as one that gets more sun, for example?

@PatapscoMike do you know what species of bamboo you have growing at the back of your yard?

That makes me wonder about using a silage tarp to kill it. I wonder if it would poke through a tarp or whether it would poke through a tarp if first reduced to grass form growth.

Here’s a photo of some bamboo growing at a friend’s house about 20 miles from me. He has multiple different species of mature bamboo. This photo is of Ph. vivax aureocaulis. It’s bigger than it might look at first. Most of the culms are probably 3-4" in diameter. If you look closely you can see some daffodils for scale just to the left of the base of the bamboo grove. I first saw this little grove of bamboo about 7 years ago, and I haven’t noticed any change over the last 7 years. He says shoots don’t come up in his gravel driveway (on the right in the photo) and he says he just kicks over any shoots in the spring during shooting season (when they’re tender and easy to break) that come up in areas he doesn’t want them. He sure seems to make bamboo seem easier to maintain than other very trustworthy accounts. I wonder if the apparent differences are related to differences between species, if some species of running bamboo are just a lot easier to keep in check than others. This same friend has another grove of this same bamboo that he’s let spread over about a full acre, and he describes it as a species that sizes up and forms a mature grove very quickly, but maybe that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s hard to control. He also has a grove of moso and madake (very large timber bamboos, even a little bigger than the bamboo in this photo) that he has let expand as much as possible, but although they’re very tall (60’+) and large they haven’t expanded to anywhere close to an acre in the same time. (He said they were planted at the same time, but I don’t remember if he said how long ago that’s been.)


It seem that in the shade they may be taller , and farther apart.
In full sun the culms can be as close as 6-8 inches , making it hard to walk through, even turned sideways .
Also have noticed …
The patches down in the valley, on richer , moister soil, have bigger stems ( 2+ inches )
While on the ridge top, in poorer dryer soil , they are shorter,
And only get about 1 inch in size, but seem tougher. More woody. So… Serve different uses.


I don’t know what species I have. It’s the common species that I see all over the place. It’s all green, no yellowish stem like some of the ornamental ones. It gets about 40’ tall and the bases are 3-4" diameter.


Phyllostachys aureosulcata, of which the yellow groove type Dave has been talking about is the most common variety, the same species that grows at the end of my road that I’ve mentioned, as well as at another friend’s place… is what I’d guess is the most common species of bamboo, but I don’t think it ever gets quite as big as 3", let alone 4". It can definitely get up over 2" in diameter though and I’d guess around 40’ tall. Two distinguishing traits of Ph. aureosulcata are (1) that the culms will sometimes grow in a zig zag near the ground before continuing straight up the rest of the way and (2) the culms feel kind of rough like fine sandpaper instead of being almost glassy smooth like a lot of other species. If the 3-4" diameter isn’t an over-estimate, I’d guess something else, though, maybe Ph. vivax, the same species as in the photo I just shared, but not the strain with the yellow culms. The shoots are more distinctive than the culms, and someone that knows more about bamboo than I do could probably immediately identify the species from a photo of a shoot. If there are any culms that are all of 4" in diameter, there would be very few options, though, maybe just 3 or 4 species (of varieties that might be growing in Maryland).


There is never any zig-zag base on the ones I have, and they aren’t yellow like all the online pictures of yellow groove bamboo tend to show. But I went and measured and the biggest stems I have are about 2.5", not 3 or 4. I tracked down the 1938 photo of the land around my house too, and while my house wasn’t there yet the bamboo was and it was almost as big a patch as it is now. So it’s been here at least 85 years or so. I sure hope it flowers and dies off. I’m sure we’d all have a huge party because not one person likes having it there.


My bamboo , which I believe to be yellow groove, is green overall, but the slight groove on the stem has yellow in it,
at least sometimes you can find the " yellow groove"
But mostly green. It to can approach 2.5 inches in size.
Also only occasionally does it do the zig zag on the stem.
Most are straight, may be different strains , of this type ?
So , my comments above about it spreading , and hard to kill,
Only apply to this running " yellow groove"
That’s all I have experience with here.
So I just want to advise caution with this " one"
Even its agressive habit could be good ,? In the right place.
So iam not bad mouthing bamboo in general.
Wonderful plants really .
I have nibbled on the shoots , not to bad, a little bitter aftertaste, did not make me want a lot more. Have not tried cooking them, seasoning etc. but hope to soon . The comments from others ,to think of them like say a potatoe. May mean I just did not give them a fair shot.
( a potatoe is not that good raw either )
These are " very" cold hardy, and supposedly one of the good edible types.

So maybe some one will chime in about the choice edible, cold hardy clumping. Types …
These may be a lot easyer to contain, but how cold hardy,
I have only seen them in zone -7-8-----.
Maybe @BambooMan can suggest some to try ?


Also , found this on eBay. Maybe I would give someone a similar deal,
But 1/2 price , if you dig, free pickup .
My retirement project ? :grinning:

Any takers ?


The one good thing about my bamboo is that I make a couple hundred dollars every spring selling it for garden stakes and tiki bars. For years I took it to the landfill. One year I put an ad on Craigslist with a good picture. I’ve not put a piece in my truck since then. I can sell it as fast as I can cut it. Still not worth the trouble…


I’m a bit colder than you. A neighbor of mine tore out Yellow Groove a few years back, he wouldn’t even share any. He said he would feel bad inflicting it on someone else after fighting and cursing it for so long.

I’ve had nigra in the ground for 6 years and if it had more sun it likely would have thrived, even in my climate. I potted it last year. A Yellow Groove will be going into its place (it has spent 2 years in a pot and has filled it with roots.

None of my shoots have ever been large enough for me to bother trying to peel and sample them.

I also have Arundo Donax “Variegata” in the ground. It has not been as vigorous as I’ve hoped.

Anyone growing Sasa veitchii?



Now there’s a great example of turning lemons into lemonaide :smile:


I need to thank you for the sawsall comment! OMG, I bought a cheap reciprocating saw that works with my 18V Ryobi batteries and it is going to make my bamboo cutting soooooo much easier this summer! Like a hot knife through butter! Well, not really, but a heck of a lot better than using a machete and no more razor sharp edges! I am going to redouble my bamboo selling this summer thanks to this. Will make it a snap!


Yah the sawzall is the ticket…!
I use a long wood cutting blade, it helps a lot to have a helper
Lay each Cain down, away from your work area. So all you have to do is cut…and not get buried in cains.


Also , I find that letting them air dry for a month or so…
“ with the leaves on “ they dry more evenly , preventing cracking of the bottom , main Cain.
So don’t get in a hurry to cut them to length ( tomatoe stakes , etc.)
As they will often crack lengthwise if done too soon…


Yes and no on the hardy edible bamboo. I am in zone 4b and planted about a dozen varieties in 1999. We found no variety that keeps the above ground growth over winter, but most will come back from the roots. We visited Adam Turtle down in Tennessee who gave us some words of wisdom. phyllostachys dulcis (sweet stem bamboo) is not the hardiest of bamboos, but unlike many others it stores much of its reserves in the roots rather than the culms. It comes back strong every year, growing to 15 - 20 feet tall each year. I let a patch or two go where it wants and mow the rest off in the lawn.


Thanks. That’s good to know. I don’t really have space to grow edible bamboo. The hardy, non edible bamboo I have serve us well as a natural screen. The grove stays green through the winter most years.


They are bitter because they contain the cyanide taxiphyllin. That’s why they need to be processed before consumption.


Good to know , thanks


Bamboo are greening up. An early Spring.


Appending this to the good bamboo discussion. We had some debate about annual spread from an established bamboo stand. I was thinking 50 feet, others said about 20. I measured. The old school bamboo I have is sending up big, thick stalks 34 feet away from the main stand. The last shoot is by my girlfriend’s leg. Poodle for scale.


I am in 7a and there is a significant stand of bamboo growing invasively in a creek near me. I guess I don’t know for sure that it is edible.

I have seen an Asian couple collecting sprouts to eat, but until I see them again I can’t take that as proof that it is edible. :slight_smile: