Growing Bamboo: Is it Easy?


Our world is now becoming increasingly interested in creating renewable, sustainable resources. One of the new “hot materials” for furniture, clothing, and other consumer items is bamboo. Growing bamboo is popular but best known for being a plant that is grown in Asia, more companies than ever before are using it to make just about everything imaginable. 

Is bamboo easy to grow? Yes, but it might grow a little too well. Bamboo is highly adaptable to soil and can quickly grow to the point of becoming a pest. In many parts of Asia, it’s considered to be a weed.

It may be tempting to want to start growing bamboo in your backyard, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Before you decide to plant your bamboo, take a quick read about what you should expect in terms of growth. 

Is Bamboo Easy To Grow?

Bamboo is incredibly easy to grow when compared to most other plants. As long as your soil is not very acidic and temperatures around your home don’t regularly dip below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, you should be able to start growing bamboo. 

That being said, bamboo has a lot of stigma among gardeners. Easy as it is to grow, this plant is notorious for being even easier to lose control of. 

What Does Bamboo Need In Order To Grow?

This is a loaded question since there’s not just one type of bamboo out there. There are well over 1,000 different bamboo species to choose from, and most are known for being easy to grow. Most bamboo species will require the following:

  • Semi-Moist Soil. Almost any soil type can be bamboo-friendly, especially if it has a relatively even pH. 
  • Temperate to Warm Temperatures. Bamboo is often associated with warmer climates but can stay alive in temperatures below freezing. 
  • Light Watering. When growing bamboo, moisture is required.

How Much Maintenance Do You Need To Keep Bamboo Growing?

If you are looking for a very low maintenance plant, then bamboo is it. Once it starts growing, the hard part is actually keeping it reasonably contained. That’s why many gardeners can’t stand it. 

What Kind Of Bamboo Should I Grow?

If you love the idea of growing bamboo for your home, you definitely have your own pick of species to choose from. There are thousands of bamboo types to choose from! To find the right plants for your needs, take into mind the following consideration:

  • Height. Bamboo species don’t all grow to the same height. Some grow as small as 4 feet tall; others grow upwards of 20 feet. Checking bamboo labels will tell you the maximum height you should expect. 
  • Diameter. Some species have smaller reeds; others don’t. 
  • Legality. Some species are so heavily invasive; local laws ban them from being introduced. Make sure that your species isn’t one of these!

Why Is Bamboo Considered To Be Such A Bad Plant To Grow?

Growing bamboo might be easy, but that doesn’t mean that most gardeners should want to grow it. The problem with bamboo isn’t being high maintenance; it’s the fact that it’s one of the most invasive species on the planet. 

Bamboo has a tendency of growing faster than most gardeners can keep up with and also has a worrisome tendency of spreading like wildfire. If planted, bamboo can seep into other neighbors’ yards, throw off the local ecosystem, and also turn into a massive eyesore. 

When Could Bamboo Be A Useful Plant To Grow?

Though it has a bad reputation, there are ways that bamboo can be a beneficial addition to your garden. These situations below are great examples of how bamboo can help your property:

  • Profit. If you are looking to grow and sell a plant that is easy to care for, bamboo is a perfect pick. Many growers make a profit with their bamboo while only working one day a week!
  • Privacy Hedges. With extremely careful cultivation and barrier use, it is possible to use bamboo as a privacy barrier. That being said, it’s not for beginners!
  • A Heavy Barrier. If you have a house that is very far away from anyone and you want to make sure that trespassers have a hard time entering, a field of bamboo will do the trick. 

How Fast Does Bamboo Grow?

Depending on the species, bamboo can increase in height by anywhere from five to 12 inches overnight! When it comes to species spread, it’s not unusual to see bamboo’s reach sprawl over half a property in a matter of months. 

Is There Any Way To Curb Bamboo Spread? 

Though bamboo is difficult to contain, there are two ways to curb bamboo from getting out of hand. These methods involve underground barriers and regular bamboo removal. Both involve some serious effort on the behalf of the gardener. 

How To Make A Bamboo Barrier

The barrier method is not foolproof, but it can cut down on work you need to do later on immensely. A barrier that prevents root spread which keeps growing bamboo contained without forcing. Here’s how to make your barrier. 

  1. Before you start planting your bamboo, dig a trench in your backyard. The trench should be a minimum of 18 inches deep and three inches thick. The trench should reach entirely around the area where you want to plant your bamboo. 
  2. Fill in the hole with concrete slabs, metal sheets, or reinforced wood. It’s important to ensure that there isn’t any space for growing bamboo roots to squeeze through.
  3. Cover the barriers and plant your bamboo within the barriers. This will keep your bamboo nice and safe!
  4. If you want, add some stones on top of the barrier. This helps you keep an eye on barrier locations and adds a nice flair to your home garden.

How To Curb Bamboo Spread By Culling Bamboo

The other way to keep bamboo spread down is to regularly “beat it back” by killing off new bamboo shoots and chopping down bamboo. Obviously, this can be very tiring over both the long and short terms. 

Killing off bamboo can prove to be difficult. If you chose this option, make sure you’re willing to do the work and are open to keeping it up during colder months. Culling bamboo requires you to dig up roots, spray down areas, and keep a watchful eye overgrowth. 

How To Get Rid Of Bamboo

Whether it’s to simply contain growing bamboo’s spread or because you just don’t want it in your yard anymore, knowing how to get rid of excess bamboo can be one of the most difficult aspects of growing it. Ironic, isn’t it?

Getting rid of bamboo isn’t easy, especially if you don’t want it to grow back. Getting rid of an entire tract of bamboo can take years due to its penchant to regrow regardless of how often you try to knock it down. 

If you’re struggling with your bamboo removal, these three tips can help:

  • Knockdown new bamboo immediately. Hitting growing bamboo with a shovel is often enough to knock down single reeds. After knocking the reed down, dig up the reed’s roots to ensure that it won’t regrow.
  • Consider using herbicides. You might not want to do this, but it might be necessary for extreme situations. 
  • Remove bamboo roots and rhizomes. Bamboo spreads by its roots and rhizomes. To make your bamboo vanish, you may have to dig up all the roots in your bamboo-riddled garden. 

If all else fails, call in a professional. Sometimes, bamboo removal can be too much for a single person to handle. If you’re feeling in over your head, it’s okay to ask for outside help. In many cases, it can provide better results than what you can do on your own. 

Eyerly Family

The Eyerly Family is a family of 8 that loves gardening. Over the past several years we have been applying what we learn about gardening to our own 16x16 raised back yard garden. Our garden is very prolific and we grow a wide variety of vegetables which we love to eat! Click here to learn more about the Eyerly Family.

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