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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:07 am 
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Is anything to be gained by using fertilizer while growing Arundo donax? It's only about seven inches tall right now. I'm hoping for cane large enough for chanter reeds. Just in case I don't get any advice one way or another, two patches are going in. One will have it and one won't. My results will be posted when the findings are in.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:47 pm 
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My playing often sounds like sh*te so maybe it IS the reed after all...."it's da fertilizer doncha know.."..
:D


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 2:43 pm 
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I have no detailed information on Arundo, except it seems to yield very well in the right conditions on its own, without any help from fertiliser.

It can and is an invasive species, so confine your stand, or else. A noxious weed in many circumstances.

The effect of fertiliser is beneficial generally, in the right dose. Excess is toxious, and even in a beneficial dose can ahave negative effects. Thin cell walls, elongation, etc that lead to weakness of standing crops.

Good luck with your trial. Go wild I'd say - and have a good harvesting holiday doing it. Medir have an organic system I believe; but also natural conditions.


Growing environmentcould be an issue for you?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:33 pm 
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Arundo is very high in silica content and thrives in volcanic soil. Washington State University had several test plots planted in an effort to evaluate it as a 'feed-stock' for renewable energy. Check with their Farm Extension Service.

Bob

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:13 pm 
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Years ago when I lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia I planted some arundo donax. It was too cold there to really thrive. It would sprout, then early frost would stifle it and it would re-sprout, but hampered by a limited growing season. My recollection is that with succeeding years the initial sprouts would be larger in diameter. That it was like asparagus in the sense that the diameter of the initial sprout was very near the finished diameter of the full-grown plant. Might be wrong about this.

The particular spot where I grew it produced a very hard and silica-rich tube, almost sandpapery. When I compared it to other cane tubes I had bought (Spain, California) and others I had seen in the wild (Florida, New Mexico, Martinique) I got a sense of how different the qualities of the tube can be. Terroir? Subspecies? Climate? Other factors? All of the above?

Donax grows in many places but I suspect it is not for nothing that musicians are marketed cane from particular regions: the Var (southern France, Northeast Spain), California, Argentina. But exactly why that is I don't know.

For my part I'd say, sure, try some fertilizer on one plot if you will have two plots. Why not add a variable?

Where are you located?

Regards,

Nick


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:14 pm 
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It grows well on its own in sandy soil in a warm climate. Really does not need help... it's a weed and if conditions are right it will take off. It likes lots of water.

One problem I've had is getting small sections that are long enough for drones. This may be the genetics of the particular mother plant that I used.

But it will take over if you let it.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:40 pm 
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Well, the subject line reminded me of a sexist, blonde-ist joke...

Seems this blonde was having trouble with her pipes. Took the set to a maker, a crusty, auld Scot, who took a careful look at them and explained to her, "It's nae problem, lassie, just crap on the reeds." She thought for a while and asked, quizzically, "How often?"

That's sorta like fertilizer on Arundo, isn't it?

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:06 pm 
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Thanks for the input! I'm not getting too high-tech on this. The bag I got says "cow manure compost. Already added a little peat moss to help keep them moist in this sand. My patches are located in Florida. Each winter has been milder and milder.
If the base size is an indication of the final diameter, looks like drone reed material so far. May be a year or two out for chanter reeds.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:07 pm 
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I've been growing it in my yard (coastal region of Texas - warm & humid) and it does well on its own. The first growth (year or so) will be small(er) diameter, but once the root stock (tubers?) establish themselves it seems to grow larger and taller - at least in my experience.

It needs water and light. The stuff I have growing is partially shaded and it seems happy enough. I've seen in planted in constant shade to get no taller than 2 m. or so, too small for reeds. I have stalks in my yard that are 7-8 m. in length and nearing the diameter of a beer bottle at the base, with very thick walls. I've had it growing for at least 10 years.

Twigs on the large stalks can often be used for drones but sometimes small diameter stalks come out of the ground - not sure why. The twigs often seem thin-walled while the small ground stalks are often thicker, better for bass drone reeds.

My yard's soil is "top soil" (dark brown, organic, like mulch with a little sand) with dense clay below. The cane I get is medium to hard, though I've seen much harder. I use it, I am learning to live with whatever grows, happily. I hope to one day try growing it in sandy soil and perhaps in wet soil to see what happens.

I have to wonder about the variegated stuff I occasionally see - is the cane different? I've even seen "albino" cane growing within the variegated patches - has anyone found any differences by color?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:44 pm 
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pudinka wrote:
I have to wonder about the variegated stuff I occasionally see - is the cane different? I've even seen "albino" cane growing within the variegated patches - has anyone found any differences by color?


Variegated == softer cane == easier blowing reed, in my experience.
Variegation may also introduce other genetic issues that might affect growth, resistance to disease, etc,etc, but the softness can be exploited.
M


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:22 pm 
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I might need to dig some of the variegated stuff up then...thanks.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:58 pm 
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All useful information. I read somewhere that the variegated variety wasn't as good for reeds. Good to get another opinion. Thanks!

Rich


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:38 pm 
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pudinka wrote:
I've been growing it in my yard (coastal region of Texas - warm & humid) and it does well on its own. The first growth (year or so) will be small(er) diameter, but once the root stock (tubers?) establish themselves it seems to grow larger and taller - at least in my experience.

It needs water and light. ...


Wayne, you need to plant some spruce in your yard too! :)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:20 pm 
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But it has such a long growing season...

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