• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Vertical bamboo as root channel and wick?

 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was reading the lithic mulch thread and thinking about the technique. I live in an area that gets summer drought and high heat, so I am thinking of incorporating more rocks to help with those things by moderating temperature and moisture (perhaps). Furthermore, I have previously stuck bamboo into the ground as a support pole, because I have plenty of spreading bamboo to use, but I think these things could be combined to work together.

If you fully buried bamboo poles vertically in a bed it should decompose and become a root channel and perhaps wick water upward. Then, if you place a rock or pile of rocks on top of the bamboo channels, I would think this would direct water down the channel and create a very nice effect on plants growing nearby. Here is a little diagram to explain what I mean:



Any thoughts on whether this would work well?

I'm in 8a North Texas.

-Noah
 
Mary Ann Asbill
Posts: 123
Location: Western North Carolina
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How fast does the bamboo decompose? I use bamboo sticks in the garden for stakes and they last a long time? If you are wanting the bamboo to rot, I don't think it will rot very fast? Or maybe I mis-understood? Did you want the bamboo to rot or stay put as a wick?

I like to use what I have and since you do have the bamboo, I would support finding a way to use it. Maybe if there were holes drilled in the bamboo before putting it in the ground? Would that let the water spread better?
 
Chris Watson
Posts: 85
Location: North of Detroit (5b to 6a)
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bamboo has an annoying habit of not being quite dead. If you stick it in the ground, you could wind up with some of it taking root and growing. Once it gets started, you'll need an exorcist to get rid of it.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would char it first. try and get some charcoal activation going by using a reducing fire, making biochar pipes.

Tempting to put wood and some rocks down at the base for a storage cistern too.
The vertical channel idea is good, but some other folks have found that the roots like to grow down in between the heartwood and the bark, the sweet spot.

So, char bamboo in fire, smother with dirt.
Dig pit, lay in some wood, and some rocks for water spaces. put in some myco-rhizo starter too.
soak bamboo biosticks with compost tea. drive em in on 1 ft centers, or even better, on periphery to channel water down to base of plants and cistern, so you dont have rocks in middle of bed ?
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6139
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
187
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like birch wood for this since it is strong enough to be driven in with a sledge hammer but one of the fastest rotting woods. I don't suppose that you get much birch in Texas but there may be some other quick to rot species that won't pose a sprouting problem.
 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Perhaps this is not the most vigorous bamboo, but I haven't had a lot of problems controlling it so far. I also have a number of poles that have dried since the 100 F weather of the summer. Could they really sprout after that long being dry? I appreciate the warning, I hadn't considered that. I don't think I want to get into biocharring right now, either, but that is

I appreciate all the advice. I think I will try it some places and see what effect it has as opposed to just a rock pile, but not with any newly cut bamboo for sure! I love the ability to propose and debate ideas on here. You all are so helpful.
 
Mike Turner
Posts: 315
Location: Upstate SC
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The holes left behind in the soil by rotting bamboo poles would be great for allowing rain water to penetrate the ground, but won't help to wick water upward (that is accomplished by capillary action in the soil). The main benefit around here of the 13 year locusts doing their thing every 13 years is the myriad of pea sized holes left in the ground by the larvae emerging to become adults. These holes help to funnel rainwater into the (hydrophobic when dry) clay soils around here.

Except for a few species like guadua, most bamboo poles are not very durable when kept in contact with the soil. On the bamboo fences seen in
Japan, bamboo is used for the above ground parts of the fence and the bamboo fence is mounted on short hardwood poles that are sunk into the ground for anchoring. Here in SC, a Phyllostachys bamboo bean pole stuck into the ground will be mostly rotted away by fall if the soil is kept moist. (but they'll last for years in dry soil).

Although the tropical clumping bamboo species such as Bambusa can be propagated from culm cuttings, none of the running (spreading) bamboo species or the temperate clumping bamboos can be propagated from culm cuttings (they are propagated by rhizome cuttings or divisions. In other words, any bamboo that can grow from a cutting stuck in the ground is going to be a clumping bamboo (which are noninvasive) and any pole taken from a running bamboo won't be able to continue growing when stuck in the ground.
 
I think I'll just lie down here for a second. And ponder this tiny ad:
2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!