Bamboo!!!

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Bamboo!!!
« on: August 29, 2008, 01:05:43 AM »
Hey Everyone,

I am here to make a difference and I have been brain storming.  So I was thinking to myself that there are spots all over the place where there is nothing planted but grass right.  Why is that bad?  Well, first we have to pay someone to mow that grass, second they have to drive to that location to mow (carbon outlay) thirdly, they mow that area (carbon outlay), fourthly they have to drive back (carbon outlay.)

So there are Four negitives to growing nothing but grass!

Next point, we know that bamboo provides more co2 conversion to oxygen over the same square footage of trees!  That is because Bamboo grows so fast, and closer together; it is resilent stuff and grows very easily.  Within three years bamboo can spread greatly both vertically and horizontally.  After three years of a tree growing it might be a couple feet tall. 

So planting bamboo would be a much better use of our resources.  Not only that, but bamboo really is beautiful isn't it.  And it provides lots of shade for people and buildings.  It can cover up eye sores and makes everything more brillant because of the color.  It grows thick so it provides both a security barrier and also a noise barrier as well.

For all of these reasons I have come to the conclusion that I want to start trying to plant bamboo in areas that can take it.  There are many places around highways and over and underpasses where this would really excel.

I realize that some people think bamboo is an evasive plant.  There is truth to that, and at the same time if you plant it in the right spots it could add much beauty to our environments.  I have been scouting out many spots as I have been driving around my city and I see many opportunities.  I hope to get a digital camera and share some pictures of places that it would be great!

Between now and then, what does everyone think?!

Phoenix

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2008, 02:17:25 AM »
Bamboo is very seriously invasive in Australia, a single clump of bamboo will prevent anything else growing that native animals or birds may use as habitat, and can spread many dozens of kilometres in only five years, even over paved areas, sending up suckers in cracks and beyond fences.

I hope no gullible Australian saw your post and acted on it ...

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2008, 02:19:19 AM »
Don't get me wrong - there is a place for bamboo, but only teh rarer clumping variety, not the common variety that reproduced by underground spread, and only if the stems are going to be used in construction, furniture-making, paper-making, sculpture etc etc.

Every single bamboo plant in Australia needs to be very carefully supervised, maintained and limited.

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2008, 12:47:22 AM »
Hey Nisaba,

Instead of just criticizing the idea that is clearly researched and thought out, maybe you could also come up with a better suggestion.

I pointed out a couple of negatives to planting grass, all the additional carbon output that is produced to maintain grass.  Bamboo would solve all of that and put out more oxygen, by converting CO2.

If you don't like this idea come up with a better one.  Bamboo does grow fast but it isn't going to take over the world, it would have already done so a thousand or so years ago.  I have been working with bamboo for awhile now and it is very manageable.

the threat that global warming brings justifies major actions.

Respectfully,
Matthew

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2008, 10:42:17 AM »
<smile> The suggestion was in using clumping bamboo, a much rarer plant that is non-invasive and doesn't spread over many kilometres sugffocating or starving out any plants in the area it targets, or sugar cane which not only fixes large amounts of carbon per plant but raises soil fertility by an exponential factor for many years after the cane is removed, or in any vertical growers. I have no problem with bamboo in environments where it doesn't destroy everything in its way ...

Grass is also an invasive weed in Australia, but not anywhere near so destructive of the native ecology as bamboo is.

Comfrey fixes carbon also, like you wouldn't believe, and like sugar cane, also provides a useful product. Sugar cane in Australia has to be cared for, it  won't escape its boundaries and displace and kill native plants forcing native animals to have to leave. Comfrey only survives in high rainfall areas and is regarded as a delicacy by Australian animals, so it is also non-invasive while fixing extraordinary amounts of carbon. The CSIRO is researching, currently, which of the few varieties of sugar cane that are the top carbon-fixers in teh world, are the best carbon-fixers in the Australian environment.

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2008, 03:25:00 PM »
Hi Nisaba, agree about the dangers of uncontrolled bamboo.  Think people should try and buy bamboo products (e.g. flooring and clothes) to boost markets in its native countries.

Re. comfrey, what evidence do you have for its CO2 absorption?  Some forums I've looked at suggest that ocean algae is the greatest carbon sink we have available, but that largescale tropical grass crops which have mega growth rates and C4 photosynthesis (like the sugar cane you mention) could have a positive impact. I doubt that a few clumps of comfrey will make much difference, but I'm interested because the plant attracts wildlife and improves the soil - 2 factors that make it desirable for guerilla gardening I'd have thought.  Also what type of comfrey?  I know most of the health & environmental claims for comfrey are for the Bocking 14 (s.uplandicum) variety, but I have creeping comfrey (s.grandiflorum) in my garden and it's good because it withstands shade, trampling and dry ground.  Similarly pulmonaria is also hardwearing and similar to comfrey but prettier.  Any info?

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2008, 04:55:45 AM »
Hi Nisaba, agree about the dangers of uncontrolled bamboo.  Think people should try and buy bamboo products (e.g. flooring and clothes) to boost markets in its native countries.

Re. comfrey, what evidence do you have for its CO2 absorption?  Some forums I've looked at suggest that ocean algae is the greatest carbon sink we have available, but that largescale tropical grass crops which have mega growth rates and C4 photosynthesis (like the sugar cane you mention) could have a positive impact. I doubt that a few clumps of comfrey will make much difference, but I'm interested because the plant attracts wildlife and improves the soil - 2 factors that make it desirable for guerilla gardening I'd have thought.  Also what type of comfrey?  I know most of the health & environmental claims for comfrey are for the Bocking 14 (s.uplandicum) variety, but I have creeping comfrey (s.grandiflorum) in my garden and it's good because it withstands shade, trampling and dry ground.  Similarly pulmonaria is also hardwearing and similar to comfrey but prettier.  Any info?

The "evidence" I have iws in gardening books and naturopathic books that comprisedf a serious library in the eighties and nineties. I've crossed the continent twice since then and my library has of necessity slimmed down, and some of the books I no longer own, so I'm not sure I can quote titles and authors' namkes accurately. An overwhelmingly interesting read, thiough, was "The transubstiantiation of Minerals in Plants", don't remember who it was by. comfrey takes any and every mineral it finds in the soil and air, and converts it into "phytoliths" (or plent-mineral-deposits) of carbon and potassium.

As to the variety, my only knowledge is based on the original wils strain, symphytum officinale. I assume that strains bred up from it would have similar qualities. I've never heard of a dry-resistant comfrey, such as the one you describe, though - in my experience it tends to die back pretty quickly if it dries out for any length of time. LAst time I crossed the country, I dug up and wrapped a few roots to grow new plants here, and I wrapped them well in wet tissues, wrapped that in newspaper, put it in a bucket, and added more water. After more than a week in that condition, tjhe roots were found not only to have put out hair-roots right through the tissue and newspaper, but some leafing-buds as well!

comfrey
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2008, 05:09:47 AM »
Thanks Nisaba, I read that comfrey is great for bringing nutrients up from the subsoil too and that it is great for distracting slugs from your veg patch and making liquid compost - all round wonder plant (though admittedly the creeping variety is invasive, so I wouldn't plant it where I couldn't pull it up as necessary).  Bees and hoverflies love it. 

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2008, 01:37:09 PM »
Bamboo is so useful... but yes, for us Australians it's totally out of the question. Killing the stuff when it gets out of control is a right pain, to plant it in open soil is actually unlawful.

Same rules apply to thinks like Blackberries, Patterson's Curse and so on.
Kieran

"African, n, a n-gger who votes our way" - Ambrose Bearce

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2008, 10:30:00 PM »
<smile> However, after I said something similar, I was told that planting bamboo was well-researched and I was being negative. I'd hate to be negative about vegetation ...

*

cannonsblazing

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2008, 05:34:32 AM »
I'd say bamboo would be a great idea in some areas, but not so great in others.

I don't think it would spread and take over here in Sweden, but it'd make a nice change in our urban areas :)

To get more plants, you just divide the original one, right? Hmm, I like this...

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2008, 12:46:17 PM »
<grin> It's early Spring here, so I've been buying and dividing running things like marjoram, oregano and mint. Splitting even a very small potted one in two, one for me, one for Guerilla Gardening ... <grin>

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2008, 03:15:31 AM »
Hey GG's,

    I am know I am new to this site and jumping in and offering my 2 cents is probably not a good idea.  But please remember that the concept of Guerrilla Gardening is beautifying a space that does not belong to you.  Whether it is forgotten, neglected, or planning is underway for something in this spot it is in fact not yours to say what the future will hold.  Please be very careful with bamboo.  It could cause so many headaches for the owners.  Definitely choose a variety that is not overly invasive and this about the site very carefully.  Is there a reason why grass would be there instead?  Does it have to be maintained at a certain height for visability/safety concerns?  But after you examine everything.. go for it!  I do love bamboo. 

    I too have hated to see our roadsites planted with grass and maintained wasting so much time and resources when maybe something else would be better.  I have come up with an idea that I really am trying to make catch on.  You see, one of the main arguments for cellulosic biofuels is that it will use land for feedstocks that should be used for something else, that and the fuel to grow/cut/transport the feedstock may cause it to have a negative energy balance.  Well, if we already are growing grass and cutting it why not make fuel with it?  Gradually starting to overseed with larger grasses would increase yeilds even more...  Sorry way off the bamboo topic I know.  But don't knock all grasses.  A few of use out there are trying to make something from them.

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2008, 08:41:49 AM »
Bamboo is very seriously invasive in Australia, a single clump of bamboo will prevent anything else growing that native animals or birds may use as habitat, and can spread many dozens of kilometres in only five years, even over paved areas, sending up suckers in cracks and beyond fences.
Better than concrete, mate.
greenwithagun - permaculture, democracy, and a future for the world

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2008, 01:05:18 PM »
Better than concrete, mate.

Er, concrete doesn't wipe out whole ecological systems, create a monoculture by killing off all diversity and other species, and starve out native animals so that all of them either die or have to migrate out of an area.

Concrete does none of those things.

But what would I know. I live in Australia, where we are all stupid and actually want to preserve nature. More fool us. We should just plant bamboo everywhere, get rid of all Australian plant and animal species, then there would be no problem any more. And you'd be happy, which is far more important than preserving natural diversity and a native ecology.

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2008, 04:45:50 AM »
Er, concrete doesn't wipe out whole ecological systems, create a monoculture by killing off all diversity and other species, and starve out native animals so that all of them either die or have to migrate out of an area.
Please point out an area which has been concreted, but has a thriving ecological system and supports native animals.

Quote
But what would I know. I live in Australia, where we are all stupid and actually want to preserve nature.
Where do you think I live, the Antarctic Peninsula?

Does concreting preserve nature?

I am not saying that introducing exotics thoughtlessly is a good thing. I am saying that exotic flora and fauna are better than no flora and fauna. And in the sorts of places many GGs are working, that's the choice they're faced with.

We're not talking about putting bamboo or whatever in a native forest. We're talking about having it some place like this,



or this,



If you could explain how leaving those places as they are enhances native flora and fauna, I'd be very interested to hear it. Exotics would do more good than harm to such a place.

Wherever possible, certainly we should plant natives, or exotics shown to interact well with the natives. But sometimes that's not possible, we have the plants we have, and the choice then becomes between exotics and nothing.
greenwithagun - permaculture, democracy, and a future for the world

Re: Bamboo!!!
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2008, 09:59:13 AM »
I have seen urban plantings of contained bamboo in WA and SA where people thought the suckeros of bamboo would do no harm, just like the settings you photographed.

The suckers ran right under road surfaces and kept breaking through, causing a blowout in the city's road maintenance budget and making some stretches of road undriveable to low-clearance cars.

And wild bamboo took off four kilometres away on untended land, and ran riot. It had to be burnt out, taking with ait a littole remnent native buishland that hadn't already been suffocated out by the bamboo. In Austgralia it's dangerous, which is why it is illegal.

If you wish to remove concrete and replace it with plants, firstly you'll have to get permission to demolish the manmade work, then once you have that permission, why not plant something a bit less environmentally damaging?