How to Trim Bamboo Plants

Overview

Bamboo is a fast-growing decorative grass that comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Bamboo groves make excellent wind breaks, natural screens or decorative additions to your garden. It is easy to grow and care for. Likewise, trimming your grove is easily done to create the effect you desire. Trim your bamboo to create a tidier grove, to keep it from growing too tall or to clean up an overpopulated grove. Pruning away the old canes, damaged side branches and excess plants will improve the health and appearance of your bamboo grove.

Step 1

Trim the culm (main stalk) of your bamboo to stop its upward growth. Use pruning shears to cut the culm just above the node (the joint in the stem). Do this type of trimming in the winter after the culm sheath has fallen away.

Step 2

Shape your bamboo by trimming the side branches. As side branches emerge from the culm, they can simply be brushed off the culm by hand. If they have hardened, use pruning shears to trim the side branches close to the culm, leaving no bud. This type of trimming can be done at any time.

Step 3

Cut down old canes or unneeded canes with a handsaw. Trim the cane flush to the ground to prevent tripping. Do not trim out unneeded canes prematurely; wait until the bamboo is established. This usually takes three to five growing seasons.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not remove more than 1/3 of your bamboo grove when trimming old and overpopulated canes. This could damage the health of your grove. If you remove too many side branches, your bamboo will not be able to gather as much energy and its shoots will be smaller, having smaller culms. Leave at least 1/3 of your bamboo cane's side branches intact. Do not damage the culm as you trim away side branches. Any cuts to the culm will create open wounds that allow pests to enter your bamboo cane.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Hand saw

References

  • Mr. Bamboo: Trimming
  • Bamboo Garden: Growing and Maintaining Bamboo
  • Lewis Bamboo Inc.: Pruning and Grooming Bamboo
Keywords: pruning bamboo, trimming bamboo, shaping bamboo groves, bamboo care

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She writes fiction, creative non-fiction and essays. McCarty's work has been published in Hip Mama magazine.