If selling bamboo - what to sell and how?

littlebamboozdoFebruary 10, 2008

Greetings all!

We have just aquired a home that has 15 acres of which 3 of them are a HUGE bamboo forest (Bambusa oldhamii I believe).

Basicly it looks like an established 'cash crop' but we don't want to just jump in and start waisting time and $ without a little 'education'.

So...here are some questions:

1. Is this type edible? If so, what parts?

2. If we want to sell bamboo for the person to grow - what part do we sell?

When (in NC) and how do you harvest that for them?

3. Does the drying/treating time differ with the size/age of the 'trunk' ? We have some in there that are over 12inches in diameter!!!

4. What tools are best to cut the larger stalks for craft/building purposes? An electric jig saw maybe??

Wow...I am LOADED with questions and don't mean to be ignorant, but as we search we get some conflicting info on how to transplant and use this resource that is easily so availbe to us!

Blessings - and thank you in advance!

Joe and Donna

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

1. The only part that is edible are the shoots when they first come up in spring.

2. To sell a viable plant, you will need to dig up a good size root ball -- basketball size or larger -- with the culms attached, replant it in a suitable sized pot, let it stabilize for 3-6 months to see whether it survives, and then sell it. Digging is hard work as the rhizome (root) mass is very tough and you will need saws, pruners, shovels, and steel demolition bars to pry it out of the ground. You will also need to determine whether the plants are healthy in the first place. It is very common to have stands of bamboo such as yours infected with bamboo mites, which causes the leaves to lose pigmentation and have little white blotches on them. This pest does not kill the bamboo, but gives the leaves an unsightly appearance, and it is hard to eradicate without a longterm spraying program using very expensive specialty chemicals. Knowledgeable bamboo buyers will not purchase such plants.

3. Your bamboo will be hollow, but have a hard membrane separating each node. Mass producers of bamboo poles often drill out the nodes or smash them out with a piece of rebar to help hasten the drying time; this is also hard work. Most poles that are mass-produced come from Asia where they dry them in smoky, open furnaces. It would take a number of months for yours to dry naturally. [By the way, while you may have bamboo that is 12" in circumference, I am unaware of any bamboo grown in the U.S. that is 12" in diameter.]

4. Bamboo culms can be cut with hand or power saws; just be aware that, unless you tape the cut area first, you will get strands of the tough, outer surface tearing away.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 12:14PM
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You may have Moso(Phyllostachys edulis) and NOT Bambusa oldhamii. Are you sure they are 12 inches in diameter? A picture would help with an ID. Oldhamii is a clumper, and Moso is a runner. It may even be a different variety.

Most bamboo shoots(newly emerging shoots) are edible depending on the variety. Some are more desirable than others.

The best would be field dug divisions which would include a small culm or two with a good sized rootball including rhizomes and roots.

You want to harvest only the older culms(at least the three years old, but older would be better), as they are harder than newer culms. The drying time is longer for larger culms, depending on humidity and outside temps.

There are bamboo cutting saws out there that work really well. I use one of the folding pruning saws that you can get at Lowes or Home Depot. Larger culms may require a chainsaw.

Cutting rhizomes will require a good saw also. A reciprocating saw works nicely, some use chainsaws, and I use an ax since I have sandy soil here.

During transplanting, do NOT let the rootball dry out, keep it moist. Also, it may help to water(or wait for a rain) before you attempt transplanting as this will help keep the soil together and be easier to dig.

I have had success at all times of the year with taking divisions of bamboo, most with good results.

Now would be a good time to take divisions while the plant is still dormant. I made a couple of divisions this morning, and hopefully can make a few more this afternoon.

I would be interested to know exactly what variety you do have.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 12:22PM
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Donna and Joe-
I am also in NC and am wondering if you have been able to find anyone to sell the bamboo to? We also have recently purchsed property with about 3 acres of bamboo forest and would love to thin the forest and "cut it back" as it is beginning to invade our yard. . .would also hate to see it go to waste.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 5:38PM
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I would LOVE to purchase some bamboo as long as it's hardy enough to withstand the winters in zone 7. I live in Morganton, NC (between Asheville and Charlotte).

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 7:51AM
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Well, there are dozens and dozens of different bamboo species that are perfectly hardy in zone 7 NC! Be sure to give serious thought though about eventual containment, spreaders can be highly aggressive and invasive and are not good for smaller gardens or close to property lines (unless you use a rhizome barrier or are prepared to do annual root pruning). I love bamboo too and have many species (spreaders and clumpers)--just do some serious research before purchasing and planting.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 11:46PM
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hank11(8 Northern Ca.)

you have me drooling! Would love to see a pic. I have never heard of 12" bamboo in this country

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:08AM
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I am SO SORRY for not responding to all the wonderful help here! I *thought* this forum was set to give me email updates but I guess not!

Still trying to figure out how this forum works for replying.

I have created a photobucket album if any of you can help me identify what we have and how to propagate it for sale.
Yes - it is very invasive - but makes such a beautiful evergreen forest/wall/fence - personally we LOVE it!

The runners will send up shoots even through the asphalt (there's a pic of that).

Someone told me that they dig/cut the roots - then keep them moist and priority mail them to people who want to buy/start with instructions. That is what we want to do - but are not sure this is the type that can be handled/transplanted that way. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Photobucket URL is below....
Thank you in advance for your help!

Here is a link that might be useful: PHOTOBUCKET for BAMBOO

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 2:22PM
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Nice photos, but I can't tell from them as to what bamboo you have. Moso has small leaves, so it probably isn't Moso.

It looks like a runner, and it doesn't resemble Oldhamii at all, which is a clumper.

Photos of the newly emerging shoots can be very helpful. Does it have a groove on alternate sides of the internodes?


    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 3:06PM
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Do you mean on the interior (after cut, down the inside) or exterior (on the outside of the shoot)?

The answer to that is - it seems so to me - a slight indentation (both inside [when cut] and exterior) with what looks like a 'grain' change (as if this were a wood grain - seems smoother, going in a different direction or something).

Does any of that make sense?
Am I looking at the right place?

I'll try to get some pics as soon as the shoots come up (they literally come up EVERYWHERE in cones - until about 3 feet high, then the leaves start to sprout out)
If it's sunny, I'll travel into the deep dark center of the bamboo forest and try to get some pics of the HUGE ones!

Thanks for the help!
Joe and Donna in NC

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 6:01PM
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I may have confused you. On the mature culms, is there an indention on alternating sides of the culms all the way up to the top? The indention, or groove, will be above the area where the branches come out.

Are the culms rough to the touch when you slide your hand along the culm, or are they smoothe?


    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 6:16PM
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There does not appear to be any indention between the areas that the branches come out at all.

The texture of the mature stalk is VERY smooth, almost glass like.

They have no dent, mark, impression of any sort between the nodes (where branches come out) once they are mature - it's as smooth as can be all the way around with an almost plastic/pvc pipe glossy smoothness.

Thanks for being patient with me and clarifying!
Joe and Donna in NC

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 7:26PM
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Okay...I have a very large area of Bamboo that a customer of mine wants removed. The area is approximately 450 feet long by 30 yards wide. It stands anywhere between 6 to 30 feet high. I heard that I can sell this bamboo...is this true? And, where can I sell? The project for removal will be in approximately 3-4 weeks from now.

Anyone have any ideas??

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 11:21PM
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If you're in NJ - I'm just guessing because of your screen name - there's a bamboo farm called Little Acre Farm in Howell (Monmouth County). If you contact them perhaps they can give you some information. I have no connection with them; I was there a few years ago when I was thinking of using bamboo for some privacy in my yard.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 11:31PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

Are you wanting to start a business selling live bamboo? Cut bamboo poles?

Or is the only option is to sell the removal rights to someone? I think your best bet is to search for bamboo farmers in your area, close by, to see if they wanted to harvest it. A long shot but they're the only ones I can think of who would have the know how and way of selling the product. I have no idea what kind of bamboo you have but you might not get much money, or any money, the harvester might even charge you. The savings would come from reduced removal cost.

The value isn't so much in the standing bamboo, it's in a product. Creating that product is a serious investment.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 11:45PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Nurseries may buy some poles, but removing the branches and driving the polls around will not make much money. Most bamboo poles are imported from Asia where labor is cheap.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2015 at 9:17PM
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Brianna Williams

I have bamboo that's been growing over 30 years some are over 35 feet!! At least 100 feet length 20 feet wide.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 4:57AM
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In addition to eating the new shoots, the leaves can be used to make tea. It's probably not much of a cash crop, but people sell it on amazon (mostly imported from Asia).

    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 8:16AM
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You can always sell it on Craigslist, and if your community has a local free rag (like pennysaver etc) it's cheap or free to advertise there. I saw an ad selling bamboo, it said something like "you dig up, $25, I dig up $50", ha ha ha!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2015 at 5:05PM
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