Care guide for your bamboo

Hedges/In ground plantings

Most bamboo planted in the ground likes to have partial sunlight and good soil. The richer the soil and more water it receives, the better the plant will grow. Basically the better the conditions you give your plants the more new shoots will form and the shoots will be thicker and taller too! We usually suggest installing root barrier when planting bamboo in the ground as it likes to run and can grow quite quickly once established. To prevent bamboo from spreading out of desired areas we offer a 40mm plastic barrier to surround the roots to prevent them from running underground (available for $3.00 per lineal foot). The barrier is placed on edge in a trench at least 20” deep, then you trim off any extra (scissors can be used) above ground leaving approximately 2” minimum above grade. In mild weather you can water your plants once or twice a week. In summer more water is better and daily watering may be necessary when very hot (85 degrees and higher). If you can see the leaves curling inward (i.e. not flat) and have dry or dead foliage at the tips or edges of the leaves, they probably need more water. If your bamboo gets badly heat stressed you may need to cut 20 to 30% off the tops to reduce the demand on the roots, this is good for the plant and stimulates more root growth which will give you more new shoots in the spring. Do not be worried if you see more leaves than normal falling off in the spring as bamboo renews its foliage during these months. Mulching the soil with leaves, grass clippings or, our personal favorite, wood chips can really help keep your plants moist and healthy all year round. Grass clippings are an excellent fertilizer and mulch, manure is great too. Commercial fertilizers are also OK.

Potted Bamboo

Most types of bamboo like partial sunlight and plenty of water. When you transplant, water heavily to be sure to fill in any air spaces completely around the roots (Vitamin “B” root food is great). If your planting site has full sun exposure or very hot, keep the plant in a shady spot for the first week or two and keep an eye on it to see how well it likes the transition. If it exhibits any wilting or curling of the leaves, spray water on the leaves two or three times during the hottest part of the day. In mild weather you can water your plants once or twice a week. In the hottest summer months you may need to water your potted bamboo every day or two to prevent heat stress. If heat stress is wilting more than 20% of the leaves you may need to cut 20 to 30% off the top of the plant. It helps a lot to have a tray under the pot that holds some water to allow you to see when the soil is not absorbing more; this reservoir gives the plant some reserve too. Bamboo roots like it moist but be sure to have drain holes in the pot; we recommend putting packing popcorn or large pebbles in the bottom of the pot to promote drainage. Supply the plant with as much nutrient rich soil as possible. Grass compost is a great source of nutrients for bamboo as it holds nitrogen and silica. Don’t be afraid to let a layer of bamboo leaves build up around the base of the plant, it helps the plant retain moisture and is healthy for the plant. Do not worry if there are more leaves falling in spring as bamboo renews its foliage during these months. During the coldest part of winter protect your plants from wind when below freezing so the leaves won’t get leaf burn, if below zero I recommend protecting the roots by covering the pot in mulch or a tarp.

Call us to make an appointment at 503.703.1345 or feel free to stop by on a weekend, we are open Saturdays and Sundays 10am-5pm.