Planting Bamboo

Click Here to download bamboo planting instructions in PDF format

Bamboo Planting Instructions

Things to consider before you buy

  1. Measure the space: Walk out the area you want to plant bamboo. Find out length and width of the space.
  2. Check the air space too: power lines, telephone lines, etc.
  3. Know your ground condition: bamboo likes fertile and well-drained soil. Add a layer of dirt if necessary. Most plants including bamboo do not like prolonged standing water which could cause root rot or kill the plant.
  4. For transportation, bring a suitable vehicle or use our delivery service.

Choose the right variety

  1. Choose only clumping bamboo. They are non-invasive and safe for landscaping use.
  2. Choose preferred mature height: Mature bamboo can range from 10 to 60+ feet tall.
  3. Our nursery staff will be happy to help in choosing the most suitable varieties for you.

Planting

Dig the hole twice as wide as the root ball and about 4-6 inches deeper than the root ball.

For sandy soil, mix compost and the original soil (about 50% each) and put 4-6 inches of the improved soil in the bottom of the planting hole and pack down. Water the soil at the bottom of the hole thoroughly.

Take the root ball out of the pot and place it in the hole with the top of the root ball at or slightly above the level of your surrounding ground. Position the plant upright and backfill the soil mix around the root ball. The leftover soil can be used to build a berm around the planting hole. This will hold water around the root area until it can soak in. Water the planting hole thoroughly.

If you are planting more than 1 plant, take the pot off the bamboo root ball at the time when you are ready to put it into the ground. This way the roots will be protected and not be exposed to the air longer than necessary.

Watering

Continue to water every day for 3-4 weeks. The bigger the plant, the more days you should water to help them establish their roots. After 3-4 weeks, you can reduce the watering frequency to twice or three times a week. Monitor your plants. Their leaves should be open and flat. If their leaves curl up like needles, they need more water. Your bamboo will grow faster and healthier with regular watering. We recommend using sprayers over drippers for a larger and more even water coverage.

The key is to keep soil around bamboo moist but not soaking wet. (You may not need extra watering after a hard rain)

Mulching

Preferred but optional: Add 3-4 inch of natural mulch around the plant but not directly piled on the canes (Do not make a mulch volcano on the plant). Mulch can help retain the moisture in the soil, regulate the ground temperature, reduce weeds, and slowly break down to provide organic matter to your plants.

Fertilizing – Leafy plants need high Nitrogen

A slow-release (6 month) fertilizer with N-P-K ratio of 18-5-10 is a great choice. Apply it where the irrigation will hit and release the nutrients. Burying it under a couple of inches of dirt or under the mulch will help them last longer.

Do Not use Weed N Feed or any fertilizer that contains herbicide/preemergent near bamboo.

Trimming or Pruning

Bamboo, especially shorter and slender bamboo, can make a great hedge. For best look, you can trim them an inch above the node at the desired height. The topmost node will grow a puff of small branches and leaves which will hide the cut. Once a cane is trimmed at the top, it will not grow taller, so each cane only needs to be trimmed once in their lifetime.

To encourage any kind of bamboo to have more leaves on the lower section, the simplest way is to choose a portion (maybe 10-20 percent) of the new canes to cut them short after they reach their height but did not leaf out yet. Every cane has the natural tendency to grow leaves, so when the top is not there, they will try to push out leaves at lower levels. This is a simple way to make your bamboo fence a leafy wall all the way down to the ground level.

When you want to thin out your clumps, cut out the dead or old canes at the ground level (slightly lower than ground level if possible, for a better look). As the clump grows bigger, you can trim away the young shoots where they are not wanted. They can be easily kicked off or cut off at slightly below ground level with a suitable hand tool. Most young shoots can even be broken off by hand.

Bamboo in general takes trimming well, so you can achieve the desired look by creative trimming. When you trim them as needed regularly, they will have the freshest look and are easier to maintain in the future.

The most important thing for planting bamboo is to water it sufficiently and daily in the first month. When in doubt, water more than less.

Click Here to download bamboo planting instructions in PDF format

Choosing a location for bamboo planting

 Clumping bamboo, unlike running bamboo, will not run, but they will expand each year like most other plants. Make sure you plant them at least 3-5 feet away from house or fence. That way you will have access to cut away dead or old canes (at or below ground level) and always keep your bamboo plants in top shape. Bamboo is a versatile plant that can survive in many conditions. But bamboo growing in full sun and moderately acidic fertile soil will grow the happiest. Bamboo roots need to have some air to breathe, so they like well drained but moist soil.

Planting bamboo plants from pots

 Once you have chosen a place for your bamboo, you can prepare the ground to plant the bamboo. Dig a hole that is at least twice as wide as the root ball of your bamboo and 6 inches deeper. Mix rich compost (such as Black Kow) and top soil in equal parts. Set the bamboo in the hole with top of rootball level with your ground and fan out the roots a little. If the roots are circling, cut 2-3 places around the roots to allow them to grow out into the new soil. Gently backfill the hole, tamping down the soil as you go. Water the area thoroughly to help fill in any air pockets. Apply a handful of high-nitrogen slow-release fertilizer to encourage growth.

 

Watering new bamboo plants

Once you have planted your bamboo, you should water the new bamboo every day for 3-5 weeks, then reduce the frenquency as needed. Do observe the leaves in the first few days. If the leaves curl up lengthwise, it’s an indication that the bamboo need more water. 

 

Mulching bamboo plants

Mulching is optional but preferred. Mulching helps to control weeds,  hold moisture, regulate ground temperature, and slowly decompose to add nutrients to the bamboo plants. A 3-4 inch layer of mulch is a good start. 

 

Caution

DO NOT use any Weed n Feed product or herbicide around your bamboo. They could cause damage or weird growth!