How To Plant Bamboo Plants

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This article provides helpful planting tips and instructions for how to plant bamboo plants
by Brett · All Zones · Planting · 0 Comments · January 18, 2014 · 6,637 views

Step-By-Step Instructions for Planting Bamboo in the Ground

Below are general guidelines for properly planting most types of bamboo in the landscape. This planting technique is suitable for most average soils. Most bamboo prefer a well-draining, most soil that is slightly acidic. Constantly soggy or wet soils can cause problems.

When is the best time to plant bamboo?

Cold Winter Climates - The best time to plant varies from area to area and species to species. In general, cold hardy bamboos do not develop their full cold-hardiness until well established, and planting in spring gives the plant a longer growing season to get established and develop its cold-hardiness before the next cold season. So, in cold winter climates, the best planting time for outdoors is in the spring when likelihood of frost is past and when the ground can be worked. If planting in the late summer, plant even the most cold-hardy bamboos at least 3 months before first frost. Thick mulch is recommended to protect the plants over the first winter regardless of when planted. If you purchase your bamboo during winter plant it in a pot if necessary that can be kept indoors until frost is past in spring, at which time you can safely plant it outdoors.

Hot Summer Climates - In very hot summer climates, the best planting times for bamboos are early spring and late fall. Bamboos will more readily establish themselves when weather is milder and rain is more likely. Mid-summer planting can sometimes be accomplished by using shade cloth to protect from intense sun.

Mild Climates - In mild climate areas such as coastal California, it doesn’t make as much difference, except for the least cold hardy clumpers, for which spring is still the best.

STEP 1 - Begin by digging a hole at least twice as wide as the rootball and not much deeper than the rootball.

STEP 2 - Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the soil you are planting in, you might need to add organic matter or a soil amendment to the native soil removed from the planting hole to condition and add nutrients to the soil. When planting in heavy clay soil thoroughly mix in a soil conditioning product, such as ground pinebark or bagged top soil, and some good organic matter, such as composted cow manure, mushroom compost, at a 50/50 ratio with the clay soil. When planting in very sandy, quick-draining soil you might want to consider adding in some peat moss and or compost to help retain moisture. When planting in fertile, loamy soil you might not need to add any soil amendment!

STEP 3 - Gently remove your plant from the pot it was growing in. If the root ball is stuck in the pot either cut the container away or place the plant on it's side and pound lightly on the side of the container. This usually helps to loosen the root ball in the container. After having removed the plant from the container, gently loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball. If rootbound, it may be necessary to use a claw tool to loosen roots.

STEP 4 - Most bamboo prefer well-drained soil. So, if you're planting your bamboo in a location that provides well-drained soil set the plant into the hole so that top of root-ball is level of the soil surface in the planting area. I would not recommend planting most varieties of bamboo in sites where the soil stays constantly soggy or wet. It would be best to improve drainage in wet areas. To test the drainage dig a 12 inch wide by 12 inch deep hole and fill it with water. If the water drains withn 12 hours or so drainage is okay. If more than 12 hours take steps to improve drainage.

STEP 5 - Use your hand to begin back-filling your soil mixture around the root ball, tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil to help remove air pockets. Then continue back-filling to the top edge of the root ball. Do not put any backfill soil on top of the root ball as doing so can suffocate your plant.

STEP 6 (Optional)** - With remaining soil mixture build a water retaining ring to around 3" or so in height around perimiter of planting hole or mound.

STEP 7 - Broadcast a granular shrub fertilizer, or organic fertilizer, atop rootball in amount suggested on label. To enhance root development, you might also consider watering your newly planted shrub with a solution of Root Stimulator.

STEP 8 - Water your newly planted bamboo deeply at time of planting. Thereafter, monitor soil moisture by using the finger test, and water when necessary to keep soil moist. Most likely, your newly planted bamboo will not need watering everyday. Bamboo like water but love drainage, so make sure that the bamboo's soil is not wet when you start to water again. Over-watered plants can develop root-rot and die. A good soaking rain or watering once or twice a week is usually all that's necessary until your bamboo is established. Once established, most bamboo will need little attention to watering, except during dry periods or prolonged drought. Bamboo planted during the Fall and Winter months, while in dormancy, will require less water.

STEP 9 - To retain adequate moisture and suppress weed growth, apply a 2 inch layer of wood mulch, or a 4-inch layer of pine straw.

Need to contain your bamboo to a smaller space?

If you want to contain your bamboo to a smaller space you can use a planting method that involves installing a bamboo barrier.

You can buy bamboo plants online at Gardener Direct Plant Nursery

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