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In a previous e-mail I pointed to minimum temperatures and frost ocurrence in relation to bamboo growing conditions. The best canes for building purposes and even furniture belong to tropical species, with high temperature requirements. All of them need an average of 14C - 16C minimum air temperature to start photosynthesis, and also require high temperatures to keep growing since they possess the photosynthetic C4 pathway. If the soil has less than 16C roots are not able to work and rhizomes will not accumulate reserves for a proper tillering.
Remember, with less than the minimum temperature the stomata close with no CO2 entering the green tissues. The result is no growth at all. As a general rule, growing most of the tropical clumping bamboos under temperatures far away from their optimum means 40 % reduction in high and diameter of culms. Of course, the low photosynthetic performance means slower growth and more time to reach seasoning of the culms.The point is: Is this worthwhile?
On the other hand all running (monopodial type) bamboos grow in temperate to subtropical climates. The best of them for structural purposes are not suited to the prevailing temperatures in Great Britain. The anatomical structure of running bamboos is of a vascular bundle and cell arrangement containing fewer fibre bundles, with shorter fibres, generally of an inferior type in relation to clumping (sympodial) species commonly used for structures (W. Liese, 1995). Most monopodial culms generally are thinner walled than most species of sympodial bamboos. Of course, there are some exceptions.
According to Ryves, Clement and Foster (1996) following species are already grown in parts of the British Isles:
From the above list of temperate species you can conclude that no valuable structural bamboo is so far been grown in Great Britain. The reason is quite simple, cold hardiness is important, but there must be a reasonable sum of temperatures above 14 - 16C during the whole growing season. Due to the best of my bamboo knowledge and having been myself in England and Wales as a postgraduate student I dissuade any bamboo lover to invest time and money in trying to grow structural species in the unfavorable thermal conditions of the United Kingdom. Equivalent perennial crops to tropical bamboos range from citrus fruits to avocado, mango and palms that can be grown beyond the tropics.
With best regards, Roberto
Ing.Agr. Roberto Neumann
Av. del Golf 528
(A4408LZS) Salta, Argentina
Phone. 54 0387 4391086
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