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Giant Cane

Field grown, 3-5 ft. GICA_3-5 $42.00

This North American plant is one of a few bamboo species found often along rivers and streams throughout the Midwest and southeastern U.S. When we first started growing it, we were surprised at its hardiness. Our attempt to grow many other cold hardy bamboo was not successful in our full zone 5 location. This one not only survived but expanded into a small colony just like its haunts along the Mississippi River. Called 'cane breaks' these thick rather impenetrable grass forests were well known as travelers noted their wide expanse on many of the nations river systems. Getting through these were not easy so routes used were often buffalo trampled paths.  Buffalo were said to frequent these as  a source of food.  The thick roots form along a central straight as an arrow stolon. The stolons produce dense sprouts along its axis. 

Giant cane has a delicious flavor in the spring. The small white sprouts can be harvested and then stir fried or eaten fresh. A small knife can be used to cut off the sprouts which are next to the main stolon. Although not a mega crop plant, river cane has possibilities both as a conservation plant and as possible fiber and fuel plant. Because its clearly in the 'runner' bamboo camp, people tend to avoid planting it. Our experience with grow bags has worked for us going on 6 years to stolons were able to penetrate it. The root grew in circles within the bag.

Our plants are produced by cuttings taken from 3 and 4 year plants which were precut two years ago. When you get your bamboo from us, the roots will look severed from the main root and are taken with extreme care on our end to prevent damage from our sharp shovels. The roots may not look like much but rest assured they will grow. Plant and water thoroughly afterwards and keep weekly watering until summer. By then you will see new sprouts coming on. 

Plant Specs
Genus & Species Arundinaria gigantea
Seed Source Grown from cuttings in Zone 5, MIchigan. Originally from a cutting grown plant found in the northern part of its range.
Hardiness -20 F May suffer from die back or loss of leaves at this temperature or below.
Height (ft) Tops out at 6-8 ft. at our farm.
Width (ft) Spreads by stolons so if those are let to go-its a wide as you want to make it.
Pollination Requirements Can set seeds and die entirely like other bamboo are said to do. For us it took 20 years before flowering. The seeds are large and probably were used for food at one time. Our planting may not be diverse enough to set full seeds. Most of the seed heads were empty. But we did get one seed. One seed is enough.
Climate Zone 5-9.Adaptible to a wide range of climates.
Ease of Cultivation Once started this species is a vigorous and dense grower. it is a small crop but a tasteful crop of sprouts that make it worthwhile as well as its ability to screen, hold soil and be incredibly drought tolerant. Not everyone likes the stolon tendencies of the running bamboo and internet is full of the "i" word next to its name. (Invasive) But considering its use and its past destruction in our country, this river cane deserves a brake! Or a cane brake if you will. But of course it is not for everyone's yard. If you grow it in a normal grow bag in the ground we have found that it did not penetrate that bag for 6 years. Barring vole damage of the bag and putting a hole in it, this will keep your cane from spreading.

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