Planting Bamboo

Overview

Bamboo is the world's largest type of grass, and is a versatile, elegant addition to the landscape. Many bamboos are adapted to temperate climates, and can be grown even in Northern latitudes. Once established, bamboo is easy to care for, and grows rapidly into privacy hedges and specimen plants. Bamboo is most easily propagated by division from established plants.

Step 1

Look for new, dormant shoots appearing at the base of an established clump of bamboo in the early spring, before growth has begun. Select a healthy shoot, growing on the outside of the clump, which is about 2 to 4 inches in diameter.

Step 2

Locate the rhizome that connects the new shoot to the parent plant by using your hands, or a garden trowel, to lightly dig in the soil. Cut the rhizome with pruning shears if it is not too large, and carefully place it where it will not be damaged.

Step 3

Dig downward with a narrow spade shovel to separate the new shoot from the parent plant, cutting through the rhizome, if it is still connected. Include as much of the connecting rhizome as possible. Continue digging into the soil a few inches around the shoot until you have loosened the shoot and its root ball.

Step 4

Lift the shoot and root ball carefully, using the narrow spade shovel, and place it on several layers of moistened newspaper. Wrap the root ball in the wet newspaper and transport it to the new planting site as soon as possible. Do not allow the rhizome to dry out.

Step 5

Select a location to plant your bamboo with deep, rich soil, which receives full sun. Dig a planting hole that is 6 deeper and twice as wide as the root ball. Place a 6-inch layer of well rotted organic compost in the bottom of the hole, and then place the new shoot in the hole at the same level it was growing.

Step 6

Create a 4-inch deep well in the soil around your newly planted bamboo using your hands. Fill this well to the top with water, wait until it drains completely, and then fill the well once more at planting time. Water your bamboo enough to keep the soil moist for the first season, until it is well-established.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting cold-hardy, running type bamboos in warm climates, or where they may become invasive. Select noninvasive, clumping type bamboos where your plants could spread beyond control.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden trowel
  • Pruning shears
  • Narrow spade shovel
  • Old newspaper
  • Organic compost

References

  • Auburn University: Landscape Horticulture: Bamboo Growing in Alabama
Keywords: bamboo, planting bamboo, bamboo care

About this Author

Malia Marin is a landscape designer and freelance writer, specializing in sustainable design, native landscapes and environmental education. She holds a Masters in landscape architecture, and her professional experience includes designing parks, trails and residential landscapes. Marin has written numerous articles, over the past ten years, about landscape design for local newspapers.