Tip for digging up bamboo

mersiepoo(6)February 28, 2007

A family friend has a stand of some sort of hardy bamboo (I have no idea what it is). Two years ago I spent over a half hour sweating my socks off trying to dig up a single culm to transplant. I only had a spade and that was it.

The next year, I was digging up and dividing some other mystery bamboo I have (thougth it was p nigra, but it's not). I had a hand pruner with me. I saved tons of time by using it to cut the runner below ground after I unearthed some of it with the shovel. Geez, it was so easy! I felt pretty stupid for struggling with them the previous year, let me tell you! Just wanted to pass this along to anyone who's thinking of dividing and expanding their bamboo this year.

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

A long-handled pruner works even better, and a demolition bar for prying will save you from breaking your shovel.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 2:54AM
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mersiepoo(6)

LOL! Never thought of using that, we have a MF bar too, hee hee! I was lucky because I didn't have to dig the dirt up very much because it was a new runner and wasn't criss crossed with any other rhizomes yet (it was starting to creep up near where I didn't want it to go, so I divided it). I'm just so happy to grow something the deer don't eat to death! :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 12:10PM
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oppalm(6)

nice tip. I'll be digging up some boo in early April and I was kind of dreading it. Hopefully your ideas will make it easier.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 9:31PM
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mersiepoo(6)

They will, believe me! Keep in mind that I was digging up a single new plant, not a huge clump. I think that if you are trying to dig up a big clump the suggestion by kudzu9 would be good (to use a bar). I wouldn't try to dig up a huge clump, that's probably impossible without a backhoe, ha ha!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 1:58PM
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wildbillgt(Z8 WA ST)

Kudzu and I have dug up many a bamboo plant, we used wrecking bars, cordless sawzalls with aggresive blades and lots of batteries, hand held pruning saws with a heavy blade for penetrating the ground, and sliding blow units that have a blade on the bottom end for slicing through the rhizome, though it was pretty much toast by the time we got done, i think it would have made it through but we started using it for prying, My next one will be better!!! The trick is to cut the circumfrence of the ball you want to take out, the roots are shallow, you get it cut all the way around and it will pop right out. By the way....
WHATS UP KUDZU!!!!!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 10:40PM
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wildbillgt(Z8 WA ST)

I forgot i had another sliding blow hammer that I made from stainless, alot smaller than the first and more efficient, i had shaped the blade as an inverted cresent so it would not slide off the rhizome, its still a work in process as I dont like the handle (I used allthread and nuts, very uncomfortable, I am going to get a piece of roundstock stainless and put a trailer hitch ball on the end where my hand goes to cushion the impact a little better, I just went out to cut off a rootwad from a large P. Aurea I have out back, i accidentally cut through a three inch tree root!! still only took me about two mintues with that tool to pop a wad, I will finish it up and take a picture of it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 7:05PM
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ronaldo60(Ireland)

what is a sliding blow unit?

Tks,

Ronaldo,

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 5:12PM
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wildbillgt(Z8 WA ST)

It is a sharp spade like blade that is welded to a pipe (like a shovel handle) you have a solid metal rod that goes inside the pipe and strikes the top of the spade like a pile driver, the impact cuts through the rhizome pretty nicely, the sharp portion has an inverted cresent so that it will not move sideways during the impacts, causing it to slide off what you are cutting, the rod needs to have some weight to it and you need a good handle to absorb the impact, or some good gloves, but they work really nice I will post some pictures. I have a good design but I need to change out the handle/rod portion. I didnt have the materials I needed at the time and we had a dig to go too, we are bamboo recon, we adapt, we improvise....

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 9:11PM
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ronaldo60(Ireland)

you sound a bit like the Borg! yep i think i need a picture then i can get to work on making my own. I was inventing something similar but once again my invention has already been invented. I was going to call mine a "spaxe" ie a spade mated with an axe.

Tks,

R,

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 5:53PM
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billyjack31

I live in north-east Mississippi and I have found a very large stand of bamboo. I do not know what kind it is but I intend to transplant as much as the land owner will let me have. I want to build a screen to keep my nosey neighbors minding their own business. If I take a picture of the bamboo do you think anyone can help me identify the species? I already have a couple of small ones in pots.
I have found this page to be very informative.
Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 7:28PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

billyjack-
There are about 1200 species of bamboo, and many of the green ones look a lot alike. Nonetheless, it may be possible to hazard a guess. You'll need to post some shots that show the overall appearance, as well as closeups of the culms showing what the nodes (the rings where the branches are attached) look like, and the leaves. It would also help if you could give info on the height of the tallest culms and the culm diameter.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 8:10PM
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mersiepoo(6)

Probably, but you may want to start a new topic so it doesn't get buried. Make sure to get a large amount of the runner, and don't cut the top of the plant, because if you do, it will take a long time for it to establish. The plants that I had gotten a few years ago, I had taken the plants, cut off half the culm and had only taken maybe 6 inches of the rhizome, and they are taking FOREVER to do anything. This summer I plan to go to my friends and get more boo, but this time I will know what to do. :) I'll also wait until it's done shooting as well, and take older culms as well.

Good luck, we also have nosy neighbors..heck everyone around here is nosy!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 8:11PM
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billyjack31

Thanks Folks. I'll get my digital camera and get the pix.
I'll be in touch.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 9:14PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

billyjack-
If you need step-by-step instructions on digging up bamboo, send me an email and I'll reply with a little write-up I put together a while back.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 1:25AM
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billyjack31

I have posted my pix at thebigbambooat.webs.com

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 10:54PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

billyjack-
My first guess, based on size, appearance, and location is Phyllostachys edulis, otherwise known as Moso. Your description said the biggest diameter was about 10", but I assume you mean 10" in circumference, as there are no bamboo that grow in the U.S. that are more than 5"-6" in diameter. Take a look at the link below as it has a number of pictures of Moso, and tell me what you think.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bambooweb.info: Moso

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 11:11PM
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