Bamboo Farming USA
 

Planning


Most people plant bamboo in rows. This is logical. You let the bamboos fill in within the rows. You mow the grass that is between the rows. Later when the bamboos are bigger and sending up robust shoots, you let them fill in between the rows. The problem is that bamboo naturally expands in a circle. By mowing between the rows the bamboo only can expand in two directions. Another problem is that the area around the bamboo plant is insufficiently mulched, the grass mingles with the bamboo,  and the tractor mows close to the plant reducing its sideways spread.

I now prefer to plant in blocks like the plan pictured to the left. Plant the starter plants in the center square and leave the outside squares for alternate crops. Kill all weeds and grass in the square before planting the bamboo. Plant the bamboos. Thoroughly mulch them so no weeds and no grass can come up.  Mulch can be hay, manure, leaves from trees or wood chips. Whatever you have in quantity. I was successful once putting down cardboard and placing mulch on top of the cardboard.

The bamboo in the inner square will quickly fill in because it runs fast under the mulch. Soon there is complete coverage of the ground. Shade will prevent sun loving weeds from getting a start. Meanwhile during the two years it takes to fill in the inner square, you can farm the outer squares. You can graze livestock or grow hay or crops. Each year add a 10 or 20 foot wide band around the original square. Kill weeds and add mulch over the dead weeds. In six years your bamboo will have spread to the outer edges of the acre.