Maintenance of Bamboo

Bamboos can grow on diverse types of soils but they prefer light soils, rich in organic matter, with a slightly acidic pH. Dense soils prevent growth of roots and rhizomes and impede growth. 

Bamboos are generally fast growing plants that need a lot of nutrition. Nutrients, rich mainly in nitrogen should be supplied during spring. In the years following planting, minimal care and maintenance, involves an annual check for rhizome development. The amount of work needed is of course very much dependent on the initial planning and planting. In older stands maintenance involves cutting older culms which are mainly found in the center of the clump. After winter dead leaves or culms can be removed to promote the development of new culms and leaves.

New shoots develop mainly in spring or early summer, sometimes with a second flush of growth in late summer. Chimonobambusa shoots develop typically in autumn, while in other species shoots develop during a prolonged period. To promote the hardening of the new shoots and culms, nitrogen is not used later than early summer. Applying a fertilizer with silicon results in extra strong culms.

Most temperate bamboos survive severe winters. Sometimes the foliage is damaged to some extent, and with more susceptible species from subtropical regions all culms above the soil level can die. These damaged culms and leaves can be removed after winter, especially with ground covering species. Because the growing season for new culms starts relatively late, the plants can look terrible after winter. Removing old and damaged parts is then necessary. 

In general bamboos can easily be trimmed, for hedges in smaller bamboos or for specific shapes in taller ones. In many of the lower bamboos a complete cutting back after winter promotes the outgrowth of new branches and green leaves.

Using Rhizome Barriers

When planting running bamboos such as Phyllostachys either enough space has to be allocated  or rhizome barriers have to be placed along the perimeter of the planted area.  We offer rhizome barriers made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) which are impenetrable for rhizomes.

The rhizome barrier should be placed at least 55 cm deep into the ground, leaving about five centimeters above soil level. This way rhizomes trying to escape over the barriers can be removed efficiently.

It is necessary to check the perimeter of the barrier once or twice a year and to cut any off rhizomes that attempt to grow over the barrier.

Radical Measures

Radical measures, such as the use of herbicides, are sometimes needed to remove invasive bamboos that start to cause problems.  

Products which contain glyphosate such as Roundup Ultra® are effective for destroying and eliminating all the plants in a specified area.  

Fusilade®, a herbicide effective against grasses, can be used without killing other plants. Repeated use of Fusilade®, results in complete elimination of bamboo. 

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