I once heard about the Chinese bamboo … you plant bamboo seed, and then water it for 4 years, yes, four years! while it is still underground. And then it sprouts and grows so fast, and I mean fast, say, like up to 90 feet in less than 2 months, such that it recovers the four years that it spend as a seed buried in the soil.
But that is not the kind of bamboo species that you want for your hedge or garden. You want a species that can grow moderately fast and give your garden the ornamental quality and aesthetic value that you are looking for.
Planting bamboo – bamboo species to consider
There are different species of bamboo for different uses. For example, for screens and wind breaking, try Gracilis, Alphonse Karr, Fasca, Ventricosa, Amoenus and Oldhami. For the delicious bamboo shoots, yes, these are edible and Chinese and Indian restaurants buy them readily, try Black Asper, Oldhami and Atter. For timber (very popular with flooring), try Black Brandisii, Atter, Atro and Black Asper. Lastly, for aesthetics, go for Chungi, Amoenus, Gracilis, Black Brandisii among others. Make sure you understand the Australian government’s regulations regarding bamboo too. You can even use bamboo flooring! Brisbane, and most of QLD for that matter, has the perfect climate for planting bamboo.
How to plant bamboo
Step 1: With the knowledge that there are different species of the bamboo plant, it is important to establish which type of species you prefer to plant. Consult with the relevant experts on the particular type you desire. After identifying the species, seek to understand the specific requirements of the bamboo in terms of the spacing, the amount of water needed, and the amount of sunlight as well as establishing whether the bamboo will be contained or whether you will plant it freely directly into the ground.
Step 2: To ensure maximum fertility, mix the soil you intend to plant with manure. It is more comfortable and convenient to improve the ground before planting than when the plant is in place. After this dig a hole that is relative, one inch longer than the size of the container in which the bamboo plant is. Soak the hole with water to prepare the soil for planting.
Step 3: While exercising caution not to damage the new shoots from the plant take the bamboo plant from the pot and firmly put it in the hole. Ensure that the plant is standing straight before covering the hole with soil. Put back the soil into the hole, pressing it firmly with your hands. Make sure that the plant is in contact with the ground. In addition, be very careful not to break any shoots as at this time, they are very tender. You may want to keep junior and the pets away as you plant bamboo.
Even as you press the soil firmly around your tender plant, you will need to leave a space between the plant and the soil for watering, a kind of berm which you can fill with mulch. That way, whenever you water the plan, you will be sure the water is going to the roots.
Step 4: Water the plant to certify that the different layers of soil connect with each other to create one common ground for growth. Remember one important fact here; that bamboo does not do well in swampy conditions. Thus, you will be better off planting it in soil that has high drainage so that you can water it more often.
How much space do you have to plant bamboo? If you are growing the running bamboo variety, that can really spread out widely. When buying seedlings or seeds, look for a species that can be managed in not more than 5 meters square area. On the same note, know that running bamboo can be a nuisance and therefore you need to know how you can contain its spread.
You have just planted the bamboo seedlings from the nursery. Only a little of the work is done. There is need for more. For example, some species need more water, others do badly in cold regions while yet others need more soil nutrients. Do more research before you plant bamboo.