Bamboo provides materials that fulfil a number of uses. A type of woody grass, bamboo plants grow rapidly, forming tall spires that may reach above the rooftops. In many areas of the world, bamboo plants supply wood for constructing furniture and buildings, as well as providing a food source for native wildlife. Frequently grown as a fuel source, these reedy grasses also offer heat, doubling as a type of firewood. Grow this renewable source of energy in tropical and semi-tropical climates to provide a source of firewood for your own home.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Soil test kit
- Garden tiller
- Fibreglass fabric
- Bamboo rhizomes
Test the soil in your landscape. Most varieties of bamboo require slightly acidic soils with a pH balance between 6.0 and 6.5. Follow the instructions on your test results to bring your soil within this ideal range. Incorporate a 3- to 6-inch layer of rich compost into the upper 12 inches of topsoil with a garden tiller. Remove any uprooted weeds or other plants, raking smooth to provide an even surface for your bamboo plants.
Dig a trench around the outer perimeter of your planting site to contain the spreading habit of these aggressive plants. Make the trench about 36 inches deep. Line the trench with rolls of fibreglass fabric, leaving at least a couple inches of the fabric above the surface of the soil.
Dig individual holes for your young bamboo rhizomes. Space the holes about 15 feet apart in a grid pattern. Make the holes at least twice the width of the rootballs. Place the bamboo plants' rootballs in your prepared holes. Fill in the surrounding spaces with your backfill. Pack the soil down firmly, removing all air pockets. Soak the soil with a slow, deep application of water.
Water your bamboo plants frequently and regularly to keep the soil evenly moist around their roots. Bamboo plants require damp, well-drained conditions and seldom survive long periods of drought. Depending on your climate and soil, you may need to soak the roots once or twice each week.
Apply fertiliser to your bamboo plants about three months after planting. A general fertiliser that contains nitrogen helps the plants grow tall and strong. Growing large bamboo plants for firewood purposes requires adequate amounts of soil nutrients during all stages of growth. Repeat applications of fertiliser three times each year, feeding during the months of February, June and September.
Harvest your bamboo for firewood after it reaches its mature height. Depending on the variety you plant, you may need to harvest every two to five years. Cut only the mature specimens for firewood, leaving the younger shoots to continue growing and maturing. Bamboo plants produce new shoots from the original rhizomes, producing the opportunity for numerous cuttings from each parent plant.
Tips and warnings
- Select large, hardy varieties of bamboo, such as Henon and Vivers, for growing as firewood.
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