This weekend ended up being a boo weekend. I potted up the Henon I got from JM Bamboo, potted up my yearling Moso seedlings, and today I went out to rescue the boo that was suffering at the back of my property.
And it’s a good thing I got the gumption to do it too. This boo has been in that soil for over 4 years. By all means, it should be 10′ tall or taller by now and be a nice clump. I had dug this boo up from a very lovely road-side patch next to a vineyard I was visiting here in town. Sadly, they have since bull-dozed that patch, tho I may revisit it and see if they missed anything. It was taller than the power-pole that it grew around – likely the reason it was bull-dozed – and the culms were at least 2″ in diameter. Very straight, very green and beautiful to behold.
I dug up three rhizomes from this patch. Since I had a drip-irrigated little vineyard at the back of my property, I planted them out by that in hopes to form a hedge along the back of the fence. The drip kept them alive – but at the time I didn’t know that my top-soil and subsoil back there was only perhaps a foot deep – that entire part of the property is sitting on a sandstone shelf, as you will see when I get pictures posted of my pit greenhouse. So, neither the grapes nor the bamboo did well.
A severe drought a year later hit us and really kept my drip busy. Even so the vines and boo didn’t have enough depth of soil to grow significantly. That winter I didn’t irrigate – shouldn’t have had to – but all my grapes grafted on root-stock died – they budded just fine that Spring, but with dead root-stock, there was nothing to keep them alive. Fortunately, my boo survived and all my own-roots grapes survived.
Last year I dug up the grapes – they spent that year in containers getting some growth on – and they grew like weeds! At the time, the boo just wasn’t up on my list of priorities, plus it was a very wet spring so I let them be. However, this spring, on inspection – where there were three patches I had planted, now there was only one. So, it’s time to rescue…
Inspired by my recent potting up of my yearling Moso seedlings and potting of the Henon boo, I decided that it was time to take shovel to dirt and dig that boo up. I had hoped there would be more rhizome than there was – it was pretty pathetic, sadly – it was smaller than it was when I originally planted it. I dug the shovel down deep and came up with a large chunk of soil with the boo and brought it back to be cleaned up. I removed more soil than what remained. My timing couldn’t have been better – this boo was clearly in decline. I didn’t remove all the dirt from the roots – I didn’t want to stress this boo any more than necessary. Still, most of the dirt came off.
Since it was so small, rather than using a 25 gallon container, I decided to pot this puppy in a 3-gallon container instead. I used the same layered technique that I used on the Henon and Moso – compost and leaves on the bottom, then enough soil to cover them, then another layer of leaves and so forth until it was high enough – after compacting – to sit the root-ball at a comfortable level. In went the root-ball and more layering around it, compacted tightly until it was level. I packed in some leaves and leaf-mold on top of that as a kind of mulch and that was that.
Since it went into a smaller container and with a few more cold nights left to this winter, I put this one down in the greenhouse next to the Moso. It’s a bit pathetic looking right now, but if the potted up grapes are any indicator, this boo is going to have a very good year. I already saw one shoot fixing to rise up as I was potting it up, so it’s still growing and it still has potential. Before long this diminutive little boo may be the parent to a nice little screening patch.