bamboo care

Asked August 25, 2020, 7:47 PM EDT

I have clumping bamboo planted in livestock watering tanks, and a gardening crew that comes in once a week to mow and whack. They shear it carefully, but now it is dying in the center. Would it be best to whack it to the 'ground" and start over? How does it need to be trimmed? It is supposed to act as a visual screen to the greenhouse, so I'd like it to grow as tall as possible.

Benton County Oregon

3 Responses

Hi there if you could answer a few questions it would be helpful and I can give you a more complete answer.
1. What type soil is the bamboo planted in, potting mix or garden soil?
2. How long has the bamboo been planted in the livestock tank? Have you ever refreshed the soil or repotted it?
3. How often and how much do you water it?
4. Does the livestock tank have drainage holes?
5. How large in size does your bamboo get both height and width?
6. How large is the stock tank?
7. What variety is the bamboo?
Thanks in advance for a response.


Answers below:
1. What type soil is the bamboo planted in, potting mix or garden soil? It is a mix of garden soil, potting mix and compost.
2. How long has the bamboo been planted in the livestock tank? Have you ever refreshed the soil or repotted it? 2 years, and I have added a top layer of compost each year.
3. How often and how much do you water it? Every day (it has drip irrigation tubing running along the outer perimeter of each tank, and I also hand water each day). It did get dried out a bit earlier this spring when we had those few really hot days, but greened up afterwards.
4. Does the livestock tank have drainage holes? Yes
5. How large in size does your bamboo get both height and width? The largest is five feet in height and about 2 foot wide.
6. How large is the stock tank? six by two feet
7. What variety is the bamboo? No idea, Gaea landscaping put it in

Hello. I am afraid that I can’t answer all your specific questions about bamboo care using university-based publications. I did find a document published on the website of the American Bamboo Society that answers most of your questions. Based on your answers to my questions I would check out two things in your bamboo containers.

First is the amount of water you are providing. The article from the American Bamboo Society mentioned that watering and fertilization is especially important until your bamboo reaches the desired height and after it is first planted. For container grown plants it specifically mentioned watering twice a week during mild weather and more frequently during windy and dry weather. For containers up to five gallons in size they recommended a gallon per plant and for containers larger “more” water is recommended. The following is a quote from the website. “Once a bamboo has reached the desired size, it can survive with much less irrigation. But until then you must water and fertilize copiously to achieve optimum growth.” It goes on to say that “Lack of sufficient water especially during hot or windy weather is the leading cause of failure or poor growth of new bamboo plants.” Any potted plant dries out faster than those planted in the ground and our summers include wind and hot temperatures making keeping potted plants of any type happy difficult. I am particularly concerned that water may be your issue because you mentioned that you have drip around the perimeter of your container, and you told me that the center of the plant is dying.

Second, I would check the soil, like any potted plant that is watered frequently the soil washes out of the pot and it degrades over time. Additionally, roots reach the sides of the container and then the plant either needs to be repotted or removed from the pot and roots trimmed and replanted in the same pot. I would seek out local experts starting with the people who planted your containers to answer the questions about how the plants should be trimmed, watered and how often they must be refreshed with new soil. Also find out how the plants do restricted in a container, some plants like constricted roots. We also have a local bamboo nursery (in Albany) that should be a good source of information. Here is the website for the American Bamboo Society https://bamboo.org.