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Growing bamboo for garden canes

 
pollinator
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Hi folks,

I have belatedly realised I know next to nothing about bamboo, and need to fix this. I I have some bamboo in the garden - it looks like a black stemmed clumping variety and has been in place for as long as we have had the house. The clumps are VERY dense - gaps between stems are typically around 1cm. I have need of a bunch of garden canes and was thinking it might be viable to cut some bamboo, and early experiments were promising. Cut a few canes just now that were between about 8ft and 10ft long, and the bottom half of each was definitely thick enough to be usable.

BUT they seem very flexible. I'm guess that they will need to dry out/season before they become rigid enough to use?

Going forward, I would like to be able to regularly cut usable poles from the two established clumps I have. What do I need to do to them to make that achievable?

My current  thought process is that I should trim out all the thin growth, as I believe that they will never thicken up once their initial growth phase is over?  This should give more room in the clump for the thicker stems to develop, as well as make it easier to maintain in future.

Any thoughts?

My search of the forums brought up basically nothing on caring for bamboo with the intention of harvesting usable garden canes.
 
gardener
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Michael,

I think a bamboo patch is a nice way to compliment a garden.  Is yours a clumping variety?  Given your description it sounds like it is.

Regarding the pole flexibility, maybe you could weave a fence while the bamboo is still flexible and let it dry into a rigid structure.  I think that thinning out is a good practice, partially because you can get different diameter poles.  This is of course to say nothing of the overall plant health.  Bamboo is an incredibly useful plant.

I would be interested to know how your bamboo patch works out.

Eric
 
pollinator
Posts: 154
Location: Western Kentucky
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It takes bamboo culms a few years to fully harden, and yes, they do not get larger in diameter after the initial growing phase is done. They are more flexible when green. For longest lasting canes, put the ends in water until the leaves die to get all the sugar sap out.
 
Michael Cox
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Yes, I think it is a clumping variety.

The gardeners who are here periodically to deal with my parents ornamental garden seem to like it, and think it is an interesting ornamental variety. They propagated a few sections to go in pots on the patio, and established a few more plants near the current clump. I din't have any say in that decision and I hope we don't end up regretting it. You hear such bad things about bamboo spreading!

How long should I expect a cut and properly dried bamboo cane to be usable for? I'd expect to get at least a couple of years use from one, I think? I can probably store a LOT in the rafters of the garage.
 
Jordan Holland
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Michael Cox wrote:Yes, I think it is a clumping variety.

The gardeners who are here periodically to deal with my parents ornamental garden seem to like it, and think it is an interesting ornamental variety. They propagated a few sections to go in pots on the patio, and established a few more plants near the current clump. I din't have any say in that decision and I hope we don't end up regretting it. You hear such bad things about bamboo spreading!

How long should I expect a cut and properly dried bamboo cane to be usable for? I'd expect to get at least a couple of years use from one, I think? I can probably store a LOT in the rafters of the garage.



Two years may be doable. I wouldn't expect much more. The drier they stay, and the farther from the ground they stay, the longer they last.
 
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