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Bamboo Plant Care & Tips

General Bamboo Care
Although most people have a place in mind as to where they want to plant their bamboo, one should keep in mind that most large bamboos grow quicker and do their best in full sun.
Controlling Bamboo
While we really are in favor of planting bamboos, rather than eliminating them, we do need to tell people how to get rid of a bamboo when somebody has planted the wrong variety, or the right variety in the wrong place.
Learn how to bamboo
When it comes to plants with impact, bamboos have no equal. They can grow 4 feet in one day, screen from view a neighbor's looming two-story house within a few years, or transform a traditional backyard into an exotic retreat.

Bamboo: the easy exotic - growing directions and descriptions of varieties
It was one street over and shone right into my eyes when I stepped out onto my patio. Since shooting out street lights is frowned upon in my neighborhood, I needed something to block that light. The solution was a planting of punting pole bamboo (Bambusa tuldoides) that, by the following year, was hiding the street light behind its barrier of evergreen foliage.

Selecting your Bamboo Plants
One of the plusses of growing bamboo is the wide variety of ornamental species available. However, unless you're very fortunate, you'll have to order your bamboo through the mail. Most nurseries don't stock bamboo, and many of them can't even order it. Of all my bamboos, I have only one specimen - golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) - that was stocked by a local nursery.

Care & Feeding Bamboos
Simply treat bamboo like a grass and it will thrive. Bamboos like the same sort of high-nitrogen fertilizer used on lawns. Likewise, bamboo can be damaged by the same weed killers that eliminate grass.

Thinning and Harvesting Bamboos
One thing about growing bamboo: you never have a shortage of plant stakes. If you want your stand of medium-to-large bamboo to thrive, you will have to do some thinning anyway. Bamboo culms reach their peak as timber after the second growing season, and the culms of most species lose vigor and start to die after three or four years. Thinning removes the worn-out culms and lets light into the center of the clump to encourage new culms.

Bamboo Pests and Diseases
Basically, bamboos are pest- and disease-free. Very few insect pests found in the continental United States are attracted to the popular ornamental bamboos. Making the rounds these days, however, is an imported pest called the bamboo mite.

Bamboo Mealybugs?
One way to kill noxious bamboo mealybugs on bamboo is to use a systemic insecticide. I've used Cygon (dimethoate) to control this mealybug on outdoor groves of Phyllostachys bambusoides castellon and P. nigra. It can be either sprayed onto the leaves, applied as a soil drench, or, my preference for larger bamboo (culms over 1/4" diameter), injected into the hollow space inside each culm.
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