View Full Version : Auburn University Studies Bamboo!

29th March 2007, 12:22 PM
OK, so this is pretty old (1960) but it's VERY interesting to read and look at all the data that was gathered.....
By the way, I grew up in Selma, AL which is just down the road from Camden..
I had no idea this was even there.....Its pretty amazing....

Also, keep in mind, The forestry industry is Alabama's #1 money making industry.....That means they have a VERY powerful lobby in the Government.
The fact that the study showed Overwhelming results when it comes to Bamboo vs. Loblolly pine couldn't stop the lobbying power of the forest industry...........It only makes sense to use Bamboo instead of Pine trees.

CLICK ON THE LINK "Experiments at Camden"


Here is a Summary from Ken Tilt......

From Ken Tilt, Something to grow on newsletter, October 2002
I often get calls on bamboo. Some people want to grow it and some people want to kill it (similar to our deer problem). Callers are often interested in the fact that Auburn and the Experiment Station in Camden, Alabama were heavily involved in research of Bamboo for use as a renewable alternative crop for pine trees in the 1950’s. I have reprinted an Extension Bulletin from 1968 reporting on the bamboo research (go to keyword index) to show the researchers' very positive and glowing results. I often wondered why such promising data never progressed any further. I visited the now closed Camden Research Station to see the plantings and asked the retired Superintendent, Joe Little, what happened to the research. He said the money just ran out. The research was sponsored by a USDA grant and the next step in the research was to build a processing plant to test and stimulate interest in growing bamboo. However, political or economic pressures at the time shut off funding for the research. I enjoyed reading the information in this rare Extension bulletin and wanted to be sure it was saved for others who were interested.
Much of the bamboo is still growing well at the station (see photos below). They built a dam on part of the station and the water table rose in part of the bamboo nursery. Several species were lost due to excessive water. I offer a list below of the species at the station that are still roughly maintained and can be visited if you call Mr. Little. Some of the production groves of mature bamboo are interesting to walk through if you can squeeze under the towering canopy. There is no undergrowth on the ground beneath the bamboo. It offers an eerie view. Our visits to China have given me a great appreciation for these plants. Bamboo has incredible strength and endless uses. Some of the species we saw were also very ornamental. Unfortunately, bamboo is on the restricted entry list by USDA and we could not bring any in to the US to test.

1st September 2010, 06:18 AM
I recently heard about the Auburn Bamboo research, and have been told that all of the USDA bamboo programs were "defunded" at the behest of the Corn, Cotton, and Timber Lobby, in the 60's....that is when F A McClure started the American Bamboo Society, trying to keep the research going.

I also heard that the last pulp mill in town closed recently. It seems ironic that bamboo was proven to be 5x more productive than Pine for paper, right there in Camden; while every Congress person in the country is trying to get money for job development....I would like to get a project going there to develop a building system that could be used for disaster relief efforts in places like Haiti, where seismic events make masonry lethal, and there isn't any wood....Pakistan springs to mind too....disaster seems like a growth industry these days.

Anyway, last Feburary, I tried to find local people near Camden, and Auburn to try to get something going, but did not get any responses....Do you know people who might want to work on getting control of the bamboo there? I have heard that the University wants to rip it all out....maybe they would pay us to remove it to another site, or better, let us get the Architecture and Engineering Departments involved, and try developing some low tech building components.....we could try doing a "Smashed" panel that could serve as the basic unit of a Cavity Wall system...I think that we would need 2000 panels to build a 20,000 s.f. prototype for a hospital or school, that could be shipped as flat packs and assembled with simple tools.

We could develop a job training program in conjunction with every aspect of the process; from cultivation and harvesting, to processing and construction for "green" buildings. I hear that Camden is suffering a high level of unemployment....I would like to help the local government get together with their congresspeople, and pitch the idea of stimulus money for job creation.

Check out the website: bambooisgrass.com

If you like anything there, please let me know how we can work on a project in Alabama.

17th August 2011, 04:30 PM
I know this was posted a year ago but I was hoping to contact the person that wrote the posting BAMBOOIGRASS. I have the same thoughts as you and I have access to property in Alabama to grow bamboo. Please contact me a cpred_06(at)yahoo.com

18th August 2011, 11:02 PM
excellent article.


19th August 2011, 04:44 AM
Much of this type of work is (or was) being continued at Washington State University in Puyallup, WA and Vancouver, WA. Similar to there in the South, much of the timber industry around here is not interested in any competition from bamboo farms, particularly in supplying feed stock for the paper industry. Their bamboo studies seem to be in decline, probably from defunding. However, there has been significant study in the development and sustainability of bamboo farming in the PNW.


I sell bamboo on CL now and then. I had a dozen or so Moso for sale two years ago, and I posted that I had a lot of it. One fellow emailed me and wanted several thousand starts... I said that no one has that many. Actually, I do know one place that would, RKR near Coos Bay, OR. They could supply that much rhizome. The founder (who has sinse died) planted tons of Moso there. But Moso is hard to propogate and does not size up very fast in the PNW. It is fussy in small pots. The later studies at WSU showed that Yellow Groove and Rubro did about the best in the PNW for commercial pole and shoot production.

PM me if you want a link to the later WSU bamboo studies. They are on another forum that I am no longer a part of.