By Anne Baley
Did you know that most bamboo plants only flower once every 50 years? You probably don’t have the time to wait around for your bamboo to produce seeds, so you’re going to have to divide your existing clumps and transplant them when you want to propagate your plants. Bamboo will grow and spread quickly, but there is no real way to direct it into far corners of the garden. Take a portion of an established clump, however, and you can create a new stand of bamboo in one season. Let’s learn more about transplanting bamboo.
When to Relocate Bamboos
Bamboo plants can be a bit finicky when it comes to transplanting, yet if you treat them right, they’ll spread all over the new area in very little time. Never transplant your bamboo when new shoots are forming; early in the spring or late in the fall are the best times.
The roots are very sensitive to lack of moisture and to sunlight, so choose a cloudy, misty day for the absolute best results.
How to Transplant Bamboo
The roots of the bamboo plant are amazingly tough. You’ll need a sharp shovel or axe to cut the root bunches for bamboo plant moving. The easiest way is to use a chainsaw. Wear protective clothing and eye covering to prevent thrown rocks or splinters. Cut down through the earth about a foot away from the clump of stems. Make a complete circle through the dirt, slicing down about 12 inches. Slide a shovel underneath the clump and rock it up out of the ground.
Plunge the root clump into a bucket of water immediately. Lean the stand of bamboo against a shed or fence, as this plant doesn’t do well if you lay it down on the ground. Have the moist hole already dug for the bamboo’s new home. Carry the bucket to the hole and transfer the clump of bamboo from the water to the soil. Cover the roots and water the plant very well.
Cover the base of the plant with organic mulch, such as dried leaves or grass clippings. Bamboo loves water, especially when it’s stressed, and mulch will shade the soil and help keep in as much moisture as possible.
Set up some shade for the new bamboo plants by stretching cheesecloth or other light fabric over poles to create a sort of light tent. This will give the new bamboo clump some added protection while it establishes itself. Once you see fresh new shoots coming up, you can remove the shade fabric, but keep the soil moist throughout the year.