Bamboo Farming USA


“When you farm bamboo for shoots (food), you will also be farming for wood (poles). Depending on the variety and management of your groves you will remove one or two thousand poles each year from each acre. The challenge is to market them.”

          Loading Bamboo Poles  Man loading bamboo poles

Bamboo poles on truck

The photos were donated by Southern Bamboo, a bamboo company in Mississippi USA.


The American Bamboo Society runs a Big Bamboo contest.
Here are the results for the kinds of bamboos that I currently research.

Poles Yielded from Research Plots

Poles are harvested after new shoots have opened their leaves.


Both Houzeau and Robert Young are varieties of the species Phyllostachys  viridis. A 2" pole is between 2" and 2 1/2" in diameter. With careful management over time, all the groves will have more uniformly sized poles. At present I am cutting a lot of the smaller older poles out of the research plots.

Poles are cut to 6, 8 and 10 foot lengths.

The Houzeau had many 6 foot poles (as opposed to 8 and 10 foot poles) even though most of its poles were 2 inches in diameter and therefore quite long. The reason is that a Houzeau pole grows in a large lazy "S". To get a pole that is close to straight, I had to cut short lengths. Praecox is a straighter growing bamboo. In spite of its overall smaller diameter poles, it produced an equal number of 10 foot poles as Houzeau. The Fort Valley henon grove was sick and thin. Nevertheless, the henon with fewer total poles harvested produced more 8 foot poles and almost the most 10 foot poles. The henon poles had much less mold growing on them and could have gotten by without washing and scrubbing. Perhaps the grey coating discourages mildew.

Finished poles per acre


I multiplied the total cut poles (6', 8', 10') by 43.56 to get these figures. Each research plot is 1000 square feet and an acre is 43,560 square feet.

Poles Cut to Length

The green poles are some of the Houzeau. The grey poles are Henon and the yellow poles are Robert Young. Praecox and vivax were sold earlier. The poles will cure to light tan. The colors are temporary.







  When you farm bamboo for shoots and poles, you remove numbers of poles each year. The good ones you sell. When I thinned out my research plots, I made piles of the thinnings. This year I am training my dogs to pull the poles to the trash pile. You would use a tractor or better yet would chip the poles and sell the chips as mulch.