Transplanting bamboo

JoecdFebruary 22, 2013

I was going to dig up some bamboo this spring and transplant it. Can I dig up roots and cut stem off at about 2 feet high? Won't the bamboo just spread by root matter? I want to do this so I can transport it easier.

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Yes, that's one way to do it, but not very satisfactory to my mind. First, what you cut off will never grow back...pruning does not stimulate new growth in bamboo. Second, It may take several years for the plant to put up new growth so you will be looking at stubs during that time. Third, with no foliage, it will be hard to tell whether your plant has survived the transplant or died.

It would be best to take a rootball with full culms. Choose a division with shorter culms, or use twine to bend longer ones so they fit better in your transport. If you must cut the culms, leave them 6' high or so in order to have some leafy growth. That way they won't look so bad for so long.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:15AM
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mrguppy3(8)

hi i am going to have to move a clump as well its a phylostacchis that has grown rather too well and is now about 14 feet high and is now deciding to make a move towards my neighbours fenceline and one is aready next door so i have promised to move it if i can. is there a favoured time to do so?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:22PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

mrguppy-
Do the transplant in the spring while the bamboo is relatively dormant...by April.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:39PM
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mrguppy3(8)

Thanks kdzu9.
Will do it in april glad i asked as i was going to do it in the autumn.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 6:17PM
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jonjfarr

Phyllostachys is not a clumping bamboo.
Now, I have divided thousands of bamboo roots from clumps and running bamboo as well. I have removed whole clumps on many occasions, and have cut the poles completely off and have tried every method in between.
I removed a large mature clump of Bambusa Vulgaris Wamin Buddha Belly today in fact. So, here goes my professional opinion. If you are removing a root, leave about four nodes on. Cut brances off if there is any. You can cut the branches down leaving one or two nodes on each branch. I use a reciprocating saw with a twelve inch pruning blade. I only use the saw. No shoves or rakes. Cut into the ground around the cane as far around it as you can go without cutting too close to the other canes, unless you're leaving those in the ground, which means they'll recover fine if you fill in the hole with soil.
Once you can cut twelve inches deep all around the cane, wiggle it around and start pulling it out of the ground. If it wiggles easy, just pull it out of the ground. Cut off the top of the cane, leaving four nodes. It doesn't matter which species of clumping or running bamboo it is. Same rules apply.
It also doesn't matter if it's a species of bamboo that has no lower branching habits either. I have cut Wong Chuk and many others that don't branch down low, and they always send up new shoots quickly to produce leaves to feed the roots.
If it's a species that does branch down low, it will either branch out, or send up a shoot or both. There are three types of roots for each bamboo. There is the rhizome root-which is thick and attached directly to the bottom of the cane. Attached to the bottom of the rhizome are thinner roots that grow downward. Along the side of the rhizome are the fine hair roots that grow in all different directions and way way down deep. When you remove a root division you are cutting that root out of the network, and it goes in to shock. It can no longer support the entire cane as easily as it once did. So when you leave on the leaves, they start to transpire, sucking hard on the roots, making them weaker.
When it comes to transplanting bamboo, it's all about the roots. You don't need any cane whatsoever to be successful. In my opinion however, the roots have no problem supporting four nodes.
Now, for planting. When you put the roots in soil, water them in profusely making sure soil penetrates all the roots. Bamboo hates air pockets and will die every time the roots dry out. Keep in the shade for a few months, until it is bushy or has sent up a shoot(s). Bamboo does like full sun, but only as a group, not as an individual plant. It needs to shade itself a little to stay healthy.
Just keep the soil moist the entire time. Never let the roots dry. Here's a pic of some that I left a lot nodes on because of the species, but most should be cut...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 2:35AM
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jonjfarr

These are the ones I divided today. See, hardly any leaves. And they'll do great.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 2:42AM
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jonjfarr

I cut bamboo roots year round with the same success. Tropical bamboo shoots when it's warm, usually late spring to late fall down here, but it really makes no difference when you divide them. But a shoot hardly ever lives when divided unless it has begun to leaf out at least on the top.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 2:48AM
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