How to Split Bamboo Plants

Overview

Bamboo grows rapidly and can take over its garden bed. The plant provides a privacy screen or makes a good accent plant in gardens in both tropical and temperate climates. When your ornamental bamboo grows too large for its site, split the plant by digging up part of it and transplanting it elsewhere in the garden. Bamboo grows well both in the ground and in containers. Split bamboo plants in the spring before new growth appears to put the least stress on the plant.

Step 1

Water the bamboo plant until the soil becomes saturated the day before you plan to dig it up and split it. Watering makes the roots easier to separate out of the soil, stressing the bamboo plant less.

Step 2

Dig the hole in the new site before you dig up and split the bamboo. Bamboo plants don't transplant well if they've dried out, so preparing the new site first cuts down on the time the plants' roots are exposed to air. Dig a hole twice the size of the clump you plan to split. Bamboo plants grow in both sun and shade and can tolerate a wide range of soils, notes the American Bamboo Society. So choose the site based on where you'd like the bamboo.

Step 3

Dig up the bamboo clump you plan to split with your spade. Dig the spade into the ground in a circle around the plant to loosen the soil. Once you have loosened the soil all around the bamboo clump, it should come up readily because it has a shallow root system. Grasp the clump of bamboo near the base when you've dug out the roots. Tug up to free the bamboo and roots from the soil.

Step 4

Carry the bamboo over to the new hole. If you're unable to transplant bamboo immediately for any reason, the American Bamboo Society recommends covering the roots and foliage in polyethylene.

Step 5

Place the bamboo in the new hole at the same depth as it was planted. Hold the canes straight up and backfill the hole with soil to plant the split bamboo.

Step 6

Water the newly transplanted bamboo until the soil becomes saturated and settles around the plant roots.

Step 7

Loosen the soil in a 1-foot circle around the planted bamboo. Scatter a 1-inch layer of compost on the loosened soil, then work the compost into the soil with a trowel or small rake to provide the newly split bamboo with nutrients.

Step 8

Soak the split bamboo clump with a 5-gallon bucket of water for three days after planting. Then, watch the bamboo leaves; if they begin to curl, continue to water with 5 gallons for two to three more days to help the bamboo get over transplant shock.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Compost
  • Trowel
  • Rake
  • 5-gallon bucket

References

  • American Bamboo Society: Starting and Caring for Bamboo
Keywords: split bamboo, divide bamboo, bamboo plant care

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.