Growing Heavy Bamboo

Overview

Bamboo (Phyllostachys) is a perennial grass that has more than 1,000 varieties. Giant, heavy timber bamboo can easily grow more than 70 feet with culms that average 7 inches in diameter. Heavy giant bamboo is widely used in the construction trade, for roofs, floors, structural construction, fencing, plywood and particle board. Its strength is excellent and often considered superior to many types of wood. The groves are naturally renewable and canes are ready for harvest in seven to eight years.

Step 1

Plant in tropical to temperate climates during spring or early summer. Most heavy, giant bamboo varieties are not exceptionally cold-hardy and will not thrive in extreme winters. They all require tropical to subtropical areas. Choose a location that offers full sunlight. The soil should be well drained and contain no rocks. The location should measure at least 25 feet by 25 feet to produce a nice grove of giant heavy bamboo.

Step 2

Plant rhizomes horizontally 15 to 20 inches apart. The yellow areas should be below the soil approximately 3 to 4 inches and any green on the rhizome is allowed to protrude from the soil. Mix aged manure with the soil at the time of planting. Mix at a ratio of 50 percent aged manure with 50 percent garden soil.

Step 3

Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch over the newly planted rhizomes. Use peat moss, leaf debris, straw or bark.

Step 4

Water the rhizomes thoroughly after planting. The rhizomes require moist conditions to grow but do not need to be waterlogged. Water the bamboo plants once a week thoroughly. Canes will grow rapidly the first year and often stand 3 feet tall. In succeeding years, the giant varieties will continue to grow to 70 feet or more. The diameter of the canes take up to eight years to reach their full size before harvest can take place. A few varieties take up to 15 years before harvest.

Step 5

Fertilize bamboo once in the spring and once in the summer using 24-8-16 general lawn fertilizer. Follow the directions on the label for application

Step 6

Thin the bamboo grove when the shoots stand 15 feet tall. Remove only a few canes in the winter to allow the light to reach the other canes. Always remove any dead or fallen bamboo promptly from the grove.

Step 7

Harvest canes using a handsaw when they reach the desired diameter. Cut at ground level.

Things You'll Need

  • 24-8-16 lawn fertilizer
  • Aged manure
  • Mulch, such as peat moss, leaf debris, straw or bark chips
  • Handsaw

References

  • Auburn University: Growing Bamboo in Alabama
  • The Small Farm Resource: Growing Bamboo
  • American Bamboo Society: Growing Bamboo

Who Can Help

  • University Of Kentucky: Bamboo
Keywords: growing timber bamboo, growing heavy bamboo, growing giant bamboo

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.