Once you have your bamboo, taking care of it is important. Here are some ways to make sure your bamboo is healthy and growing how you want it.
We can provide maintenance, planting and transplant services for you as well
Planting and Spacing
Bamboo can be planted at any time, though Spring and Fall are recommended. Any well-draining but moisture-retentive soil is satisfactory as well. When planting your bamboo, leave about a yard between your bamboo and anything else. This will make it possible to control the spread of your bamboo by hand. If you're planning on using a machine to help control your bamboo, make sure you leave enough space for the machine to fit. The bigger your bamboo will get, the more space you will need.
Planting, Water, Mulch, and Fertilizer
Planting bamboo is very straightforward. Measure the diameter of your root ball and dig a hole to just over that size. There's no need to dig a hole much larger as the bamboo's roots will go where they need to. You can spread a little matured compost on the bottom of the hole before planting. Upon transplant, inoculate the bamboo rootball with endomycorrhizal spores. These grow into the bamboo roots and establish a symbiotic relationship while feeding your plant and helping to protect it against climatic changes. Plant the root ball no deeper than the surface of the soil and cover with no more than an inch of mulch.
You'll want your root ball to be as snug as possible so new roots can quickly get established in the native soil. The quicker this happens, the better for your new bamboo. Soil interface problems can arise, but only really happen extremely compacted or hard soil or clay.
Immediately after planting, water your new bamboo plant and keep it moist for the next couple of weeks. Water regularly during the first season. An inch of water should be sufficient. Water daily during the dry Oregon summer.
Mulch once a year with compost or wood chips.
Pruning, Harvesting and Thinning Out
In order to keep your bamboo attractive, you'll want to keep it cleaned out. You may also want to shape it so it doesn't interfere with your other plants or places you don't want the bamboo to grow.
Bamboo is relatively simple to keep the height you want it. Once you trim a culm it will neither grow in height or width ever again. New growth that comes up will need to be trimmed, but again, only once. Hand tools are all that are needed on bamboo as well, which makes trimming even easier. When trimming, cut just above the node or branch. This will limit the amount of die-back.
When cutting down entire culms, make sure you cut at ground level. This will eliminate tall stumps that are unsightly, can be dangerous, and break down slowly. The bamboo culms you cut can be saved and used for many purposes.
Shoots that you don't want to grow into new culms should be harvested in the Spring. This includes shoots that are too far away from your bamboo grove, or shoots that aren't aesthetically spaced out. Healthy groves are evenly spaced which is more visually beautiful, but also allows culms to get the light that they need.
Another method of cleaning out your bamboo is to cut down older culms as new culms grow.
In general, this is not ideal for your bamboo. However, if you find it necessary, the best method is to club them off. Find a decently stout piece of wood and club smash them off with a quick downward stroke. It's possible to peel off some of the skin of the culm as you do this, but with a quick enough strike, you should avoid this problem. Cutting branches with shears or clippers can will leave sharp stubs, so we don't recommend this.
Controlling Spreading Bamboo
Regular maintenance should be done once a year during the wet season (October - April). Running Bamboos usually run just under the surface, so most runners can be snagged with a hay hook, but if they've rooted down securely you'll need a strong shovel to chop them. The best way to keep Bamboo under control is to make a shallow trench around your bamboo planting area and fill it with sand or some other loose material. You'll be easily able to hook any runners that are making an escape, and cut them easily with a shovel.
You can also control the spread of bamboo through cultural techniques. Take time during the year, generally in the winter, after the new year, to thin out your bamboo. In addition, harvest or eliminate all shoots except those that are coming up exactly where you want them to.
Cutting or mowing shoots and canes about ground level does not prevent the spread of bamboo. Rhizomes have, in these cases, already escaped. New shoots will likely appear elsewhere. In these situations, the rhizomes will have to be found and pulled out. You can call us if you need help.