Growing Sustainable Bamboo


Bamboo is a sustainable natural resource. It is used to make many products, including paper, timber and food. Bamboo can be broken into two categories: running and clumping. As the name suggests, clumping bamboo grows in a shrub-like form, and running varieties spread out, making them perfect as hedges. Bamboo canes grow between 1 and 100 feet tall, depending on the type. Many varieties grow throughout the year, forming new buds underneath the ground. They can grow in full sun to partial shade, depending on the type of bamboo you purchase. Bamboo does better in temperate climates, but there are some types that grow in places where the temperature reaches below freezing in winter.

Step 1

Loosen the top 1 foot of soil the spring before you want to grow sustainable bamboo. Once frost is no longer a threat, use a garden tool to loosen the soil. If you have heavy clay soil, mix sand in to encourage better water drainage.

Step 2

Dig a hole that is larger than the root mass of the bamboo. Make it slightly deeper, using the nursery container as a guide.

Step 3

Set the plant in the center of the hole. Fill in around the roots with soil and tamp it down to get rid of air pockets. You want the bamboo to sit 1 to 2 inches below ground level so that the roots can get enough water.

Step 4

Water the bamboo until the ground is moist. Continue with a watering schedule of at least 1 inch every ten days between spring and autumn. If you have heavy rain, hold off on watering for ten days.

Step 5

Lay down 3 inches of mulch around the base of bamboo canes. Store-bought mulch works well, but so do grass clippings and dead leaves. The mulch will retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth.

Step 6

Keep the area under the bamboo free of weeds. Pull the weeds out by hand so that you don't damage the plant.

Step 7

Trim canes after the first two years to gather sustainable bamboo. Cut the shoots down near their base, making the cut at the second or third notch from the roots.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never trim more than one-third of the bamboo plant at once.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade or garden hoe
  • Sand
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • Quindembo Bamboo: Maintenance Tips for Growing Happy, Healthy Bamboo
  • American Bamboo Society: Growing Ornamental Bamboo
Keywords: sustainable bamboo, growing sustainable bamboo, bamboo plant

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.