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  #1  
Old 5th February 2008, 01:31 PM
jag9111
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: USA - WA, Seattle
Posts: 3
If I cut bamboo will it grow back?

Let me start by saying I know nothing. I have read many of the posts but cannot find an answer to the basic questions:

If I cut down stalks of bamboo, will they grow back?

Will new ones grow back next to the old stumps, or will the stumps regrow into new stalks?

Can I cut them all?

Must I cut only a certain percentage of stalks?

It would be really great if there were a primer giving all of the basic information about bamboo. If I have missed one that already exists, please direct me and forgive my obvious ignorance.

Thanks in advance for all the great information I am about to receive.
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  #2  
Old 5th February 2008, 07:10 PM
CaroleMeckes
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 1,306
Bamboo 101 - Primer

Hi Jag,
I guess we don't have a primer set up here.

When you cut down bamboo - it will not grow back in the same exact place, but new shoots will come up near by IF it is the shooting season. For your climate in Seattle, Washington, USA - I'd guess that the shooting season is similar to what I experience in Austin, TX which would be the end of March and early April depending on the weather. In Austin, we also experience a lesser shooting time in September if rains are sufficient. Shooting season lasts about a month or so, and different bamboo species shoot at different times. (some shoot early and some shoot later)

The soil needs to warm up before the new shoots rise and rain helps to initiate the shoots.

The rhizomes which are under the ground have buds and when the conditions are right the buds swell and these buds emerge as new shoots.

When a new shoot emerges - it grows its full height in 6-8 weeks - and it also also retains its diameter for the life of the culm (which I'd say averages about 7 years.) The culm gets stronger with age and 5 year old canes are great quality. So a culm never gets any taller or wider once it reaches it's full height - it just gets stronger with age.

If you leave the culm there too long it starts to decline in quality.

I am assuming that you are dealing with running bamboo (not clumping bamboo) - If you need help with an id - please ask.

It is best to cut down some of the stalks as opposed to cutting down all the stalks. When you cut them all down, then the grove responds by sending up more shoots (during shooting season) but they are all smaller.

so: If you only cut some of the canes, you should get more canes that are varied sizes.

Are you dealing with an established stand of bamboo that has never been cared for?

Carole
My Photos: Gallery - Bamboo Flora - - - Bamboo Arts & Crafts - - - Bamboo Workshop Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 7th February 2008, 10:07 AM
jag9111
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: USA - WA, Seattle
Posts: 3
Thanks

That is great information. Thank you.

My father has a small stand of bamboo growing in a large wooden box in his back yard. Knowing nothing about the care of it, it has been totally neglected since its planting, some fifteen or more years ago.

I was hoping to harvest some of the shafts and make a folding screen for my deck to help shield my hot tub from prying eyes, and my father is willing to chop me some bamboo if I confirm that it will grow back. I think that the information you provided, in conjunction with what I have already read, makes it clear that he and I should thin out the grove and let it reestablish itself over the next few years.

I am betting that most of the stalks are older than the 5 years recommended for good quality product, but they will suffice for the non-structural application that I am intending. However, now that I have read up on the amazingly verstaile applications of bamboo, I may start planning better uses for this resource.

Thanks again for the great information.
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  #4  
Old 7th February 2008, 07:46 PM
CaroleMeckes
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 1,306
Hey Jag,
How big is this "large wooden box" ?

Since it has been growing for 15 years or so - some of the old canes will just pull right up without having to use a saw or loppers.

Carole
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  #5  
Old 8th February 2008, 12:13 PM
jag9111
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: USA - WA, Seattle
Posts: 3
Large wooden box

I would guess (from memory) that the box is about 10 x 3 x 3 feet. I think that he used some sort of metal sheet for the bottom, maybe corrigated aluminum. He had been warned about bambbo being hard to contain and did not want to lose control.

I intend to go over this weekend and check it out. I will give some of the canes a good tug to see if they lift out, and then will probably hack about a third of the remaining canes down, thinning the bundles but leaving plenty of leafy canes to gather up what little sunlight we get here in Seattle.
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