Planting Instructions and After Care
To give your plants the best start, add compost such as Daltons garden mix or similar to each hole. Mix it with the soil. This gives the new roots access to soft soil and nutrition. Water well and mulch with leaf litter, grass clippings or a commercial mulch. This helps with moisture retention and weed control. Don’t use weedmat. This ‘kills’ the soil and worms.
In general clay soils are better than sandy soils. Bamboo loves moisture. If you have a sandy soil you will definately need irrigation and lots of mulch and plant in Autumn to give them time to grow before summer.
Bamboo is a heavy feeder that loves a lot of food and water. Once planted, compost, sheep pellets, blood and bone or fish fertilizer are all good. Slow release chemical fertiliser is okay but not necessary for in-ground plants. Note: Container plants have different feeding requirements. Refer to Container grown plants in information below.
Generally feed them three times a year, Spring, Summer and Autumn. The growing time. Give them a rest in winter.
Water over the dry summer months, particularly in the first season after planting. Every 4-5 days when it’s dry. After the first year they are very resilient and watering is not as essential. (You can tell if the leaves curl the plants are very thirsty. They need water) Best not to let them get to that stage. Sandy soils and planters (closed and bottomless) will require an irrigation system.
Feeding Container Grown Plants
Food and moisture are more critical for plants growing in pots and troughs. The plants have less access to both. An irrigation system is advisable. We can organise this if required otherwise water every 2- 3 days in summer. (You can tell if the leaves curl the plants are very thirsty. They need water) Best not to let them get to that stage.
Feed them three times a year – at the beginning of Spring, Summer and Autumn. Give them a break in Winter. You don’t want soft growth in winter when it’s cold.
The recommended food for container-grown plants is a slow release fertiliser such as Osmocote which is readily available from any garden centre.
Clumping bamboo is not invasive and therefore does not require the control methods that runners need, such as root barriers.
The clump however does get bigger over time as the plant produces new shoots every year.
You can easily reduce the size of the clump by removing the stems. When planting, allow at least half a metre away from the fence to give it room to grow.
Clumping bamboo grows in a circle so if you make a bottomless planter, the width of the planter determines the width of the plant. The planter wall stops the new shoots from growing which are soft like asparagus. This photo demonstrates how a bottomless planter controls the width of the plant.
The ideal width for a bottomless planter is 500mm -1m wide and as high sided as you want. The narrower the planter the closer together you need to plant them.
Clumping bamboo has shallow roots and where possible it is far better for the plant to have access to the ground (hence bottomless planter) where it can have access to the soil moisture.
Hedging and Pleaching
Bamboo looks great just leaving it to grow naturally however it is easy and creative to get different effects.
If you want a clipped hedge its best to start when the plants are relatively young. 18 mths-2 years after planting. Use a hedge trimmer for best results.
Pleached bamboo gives a great modern look. You simply remove the lower leaves to expose the culms (stems) and trim or hedge the bushy top part.
When the shoots have reached their full-length leaves will start to appear at the tip. At this point, the shoots harden off and become very flexible. Simply pull the shoot down and cut it to the desired height at the nearest node. Let go and the shoot will flick back in place.
The best variety for pleaching is Textilis gracilis – Slender Weavers Bamboo. This variety grows a lot taller than the pleached photos show. (6m) It has a very upright habit with naturally clean stems. As the plant gets bigger the new shoots rapidly overtake the size of your pleached plants. You need to let these shoots reach their height before clipping. It doesn’t take long as the shoot growth is rapid.
Green Goddess can also be pleached but the stems are thinner. This is a good choice if you don’t require a larger bamboo but still like the stem look.
Someone called pleaching a Poodle cut. It is an apt description.
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