How to Trim Bamboo


Bamboo is a fast-growing grass species common in Asia and grown throughout North America for ornamental purposes as either a loose hedge or a shady grove. Though the plant is very low-maintenance, occasional trimming can help maintain a bamboo hedge's proper height or sustain and encourage the ornamental appeal and health of a bamboo grove.

Step 1

Trim bamboo once annually if you're growing a bamboo hedge. Auburn University recommends allowing the bamboo canes to grow all year, then cutting the tops of the bamboo canes down to your desired hedge height as soon as leaf buds begin appearing on the canes' side branches in the late spring. Make the incision an inch above a node, which is the circular scar mark that appears every few inches on the cane.

Step 2

Prune out dead canes anytime you notice them throughout the year, as they detract from your bamboo grove's appearance and can also attract plant diseases and insect pests. When trimming dead bamboo, cut the cane all the way down to the soil level, according to the University of Georgia.

Step 3

Thin out your bamboo if you're growing it as a grove. Thin in the winter when the bamboo is dormant and not sending up new shoots, according to Auburn University. First trim out bent, crooked or stunted canes by cutting them to the ground, then remove canes that are over 5 years in age, according to the University of Georgia.

Step 4

Remove the chopped-down bamboo canes. Cut it into foot-long blocks and discard in your municipality's green waste bins. Alternatively, chop them into inch-long pieces and use them as mulch in your landscape.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't use an ax to trim your bamboo. This leaves behind jagged edges that can be dangerously sharp, according to Auburn University.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or saw


  • "Bamboo for Gardens"; Ted Meredith; 2001
  • Auburn University: Growing Bamboo
  • University of Georgia: Growing Bamboo
Keywords: trim bamboo plant, prune bamboo, grow bamboo plants

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.