How to Divide Bamboo Plants

Written by kyle lanning
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Bamboo is one of the most decorative and useful members of the grass family. Gardeners around the world use bamboo to bring an oriental touch to their garden or to add a layer of privacy and mystique. One benefit to growing bamboo is that it reproduces on its own by spreading. Gardeners can take advantage of this characteristic by separating, or dividing, the bamboo and replanting it elsewhere in the landscape. Bamboo varieties differ in the way they spread. Thus, bamboo is classified as either clumping or running.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Sharp shovel or spade
  • Handsaw
  • Hand shears

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Instructions

    Clumping Bamboo

  1. 1

    Water the bamboo heavily at least a day before you plan to separate it. This will make the division process easier and it helps the separated transplants establish.

  2. 2

    Take your shovel and dig a circle around the bamboo at least a foot away from the base. Once you complete the circle, angle the shovel inward and dig until you can lift the root ball out of the ground.

  3. 3

    Take your spade, handsaw or hand shears and cut through the middle of the root ball. You can choose to cut the root ball again into fourths or eighths but it is not necessary.

  4. 4

    Separate any groups of bamboo that still remain by cutting the rhizome connecting the shoots. Remember that a good transplant should have a good balance of foliage and roots.

  5. 5

    Water the divisions and plant them as soon as possible to ensure success. If you are unable to plant the divisions immediately, store them with the roots in damp sawdust or sphagnum moss.

    Running Bamboo

  1. 1

    Water the bamboo heavily at least a day before you plan to separate it. This will make the division process easier and it helps the separated transplants establish.

  2. 2

    Dig around the grove of bamboo until you find the rhizomes. Uncover these rhizomes back to the group of stalks.

  3. 3

    Make your separations using your spade, saw or hand shears. Look for a section of rhizome that has a shoot coming out of the middle and rhizome buds on either side within six to eight inches of the main stalk.

  4. 4

    Top off the main stalk of your division. This is best done by cutting at a point slightly above the third branch.

  5. 5

    Water the divisions and plant them as soon as possible to ensure success. If you are unable to plant the divisions immediately, store them with the roots in damp sawdust or sphagnum moss.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid cutting very old or very new rhizomes because they will have few or immature buds.
  • After four to six weeks, the new divisions should stabilise and you will be able to fertilise them with a high nitrogen fertiliser to encourage new growth.
  • Early spring is the best time to separate bamboo.
  • Do not divide bamboo on hot, windy or sunny days.

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