Frequently asked bamboo questions...
He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.
Q. One or several of the culms on my bamboo have broken. What do I do?
A. It depends. If you have an established planting, cut the culm off at ground level, making a horizontal cut with a saw or pruners. Take care not to leave an angled stump as this could cause a fall and injury to someone walking through the grove.
If you have only one or a few culms and want to save them, you can splint the culm(s). Just use a piece of bamboo culm, stick, dowel, etc. on two sides of the break and tape in a splint-like fashion. The top will likely continue to produce new branches and leaves.
Q. Do deer bother bamboo? What about other animals?
A. Yes and no. Some people have reported problems with deer. We frequently have deer visit our groves, but we have never seen any damage; they generally eat the grass around the groves. It would be wise, however, to provide protection on any newly-planted bamboo to prevent deer or other animals from walking on it, rubbing against it, knocking it over, etc.
Rabbits are reported to create some damage. We've had rabbits living in several of our groves and have seen no evidence of damage.
Squirrels are a definite problem once they discover how tasty bamboo shoots are. Bamboo is not a normal food for squirrels and they have to acquire a taste, but once one squirrel in your neighborhood finds out about bamboo shoots, he/she'll tell all the others. We had bamboo and squirrels for 25 years before the squirrels discovered their fondness for tender new shoots.
Goats, cows, horses and ponies LOVE bamboo...shoots as well as foliage. Definitely fence these animals or fence your bamboo.
Q. What part of the bamboo plant do you eat?
A. For humans, bamboo shoots are a treat. Harvest new shoots before they emerge from the ground or before their height reaches 4 times the diameter of the shoot. There are a number of recipes using bamboo shoots on our site.
Bamboo shoots as well as mature leaves and branches are a favorite of many animals (in addition to pandas). Cows, horses and goats are particularly fond of bamboo which makes a good winter forage for livestock.
Q. Can I grow bamboo where I live?
A. The answer is "yes" for most locations. Some bamboos perform better in warmer climates and some do better in colder climates. Be sure to choose a variety that has a temperature rating compatible with your climate. Many bamboos can also be grown indoors or grown outside in colder climates and moved to a protected or inside space for the coldest season.
To help choose a variety suitable for your area, go to our home page and click on "Our Bamboos" and then sort by temperature to get a listing of those bamboos that would be good for your climate.
Q. Can I mix different varieties of bamboo together?
A. Yes. Many varieties do quite well together.
In mixing varieties, be sure to use those that are of similar size and aggressiveness to prevent one from overtaking the other. Groundcover bamboos can also be used under taller bamboos and the timber varieties.
Q. How many plants should I buy?
A. Divide your checking account balance by the cost per plant. Only kidding.
The number of plants you should plant depends on what you want to accomplish and how quickly you want to accomplish it.
The general rule of thumb is that a bamboo grove will double in diameter each year.
So if you start with a C-size plant (12-inch root ball)
second year - you will have a grove 24 inches in diameter
third year - you will have a grove 4 feet in diameter
fourth year - you will have grove 8 feet diameter
fifth year - you will have a grove 16 feet in diameter
Actual performance will depend on the variety chosen and on local growing conditions.
For a guide on spacing and the number of plants needed, please go to:
Q. Why are your shipping charges higher than some other suppliers?
A. Because of the size of the packages we ship. We ship with a full root ball so your plants are ready to go. Most plants are not cut back; we can ship a C size plant up to 80 inches tall and a D size plant up to 72 inches tall. We charge the actual amount charged to us by UPS.
Q. What do the size letters mean (A, B, C, D)?
A. In small ground cover bamboos the letters roughly relate to 1, 2, 3 and 5 gallon trade sizes.
In our large size bamboos:
A = 6 to 8 inch root ball with a 4 to 12 inch culm.
B = 8 to 10 inch root ball with a 12 to 36 inch culm.
C = 10 to 12 inch root ball with a 4 to 6 foot culm.
D = 10 to 14 inch root ball with a 10 to 12 foot culm.
Q. When is the best time to plant bamboo?
A. Basically, you can plant bamboo any time you can work the soil. We have done most of our planting from November through March; however, we have planted in every month of the year with success.
Q. What variety should I plant?
A. Start with at least one of each variety we sell !!
Seriously, recommending a variety is not that simple. In order to make a recommendation we need answers to the following questions:
Do you want bamboo for a screen or hedge, a ground cover, an ornamental planting or specimen plant, for timber or a large grove or for shoots?
Is the area where you want to grow bamboo in the shade or sun?
What color culms (stalks) do you prefer?
Do you want green or variegated leaves?
With the answers to these questions we can narrow the list of possibilities for your particular application.
Q. The leaves on my bamboo are turning yellow and dropping. What is wrong?
A. It is normal for some of the leaves on bamboo to turn yellow and drop. This occurs throughout the year, but it is particularly noticeable in the spring. The dropped leaves will be replaced with new leaves. Other causes of yellowing leaves are stress, drought, excess water and lack of nutrients.