Hi its Scotty from Bamboo Growers Inc. and I have been installing bamboo in Florida landscapes for the past 12 years, and have learned a couple things that make installing a small bamboo plant a snap. Some of the following is common sense and the others are some good tips that I have learned from great growers over the years.
So take a minute to review the following points and please leave me a few of your own best tips in the comment section please. As always i am available by phone or email to help you with all your bamboo needs. Please check out our bamboo fertilizer and soil amendment section on where I share more tips and offer up everything you will need to grow exquisite quality bamboo.
Here are the 7 tips:
1. Break up that soil- The soil is a huge factor in any plants success. It is important for any plant's roots to be able to expand without being constricted in heavy, non aerated soil. It is easy for both clay and sand soils to get compacted to the point where no air gets to the roots or any of the life giving soil microbes. Compacted soil grows poor quality, undersized plants, so make sure your soil is loose. I just dig a much larger hole than i need to plant the small bamboo. For a 3 gallon bamboo plant I will dig a 15 gallon hole, if the soil is particularly compacted i will dig an even larger hole. The idea is to let the soil get some air and water to it so the living beneficial microbes that make soil work are able to thrive.
Happy soil equals a happy and healthy bamboo clump.If you live somewhere where the soil is naturally loose, like the sandy soils in my home State of Florida, then you don't have to did such a large hole. It is still a good idea to at minimum dig a hole 2 times the size of the plant root ball, this way you get a chance to put some goodies in teh soil that you have to throw back to fill the hole (backfill).
Scotts favorite Soil Amendments
- Earthworm Castings- These can be hard to find (i have to get mine at a fancy indoor gardening store for $1 per pound,but they are worth it! These are pure concentrated natural soil life and adding some to your backfill should really kick things off to a great start.
- Composted Manure- This is usually available at garden centers and sounds much worse than it is lol. It loaded with nutrition and it should have a healthy dose of soil microbes in it as well. Just make sure its fully composted as fresh manure will burn the plans big time.
- Compost- Compost is loaded with life giving soil microbes and adding a little to the backfill will do wonders. Compost is powerful so a little goes a long way. Adding 10-15% compost to the backfill should be all you need.
3. Do the rusty nail trick- The idea is that an old galvanized nail has some trace and secondary minerals that slowly break down in the soil. It might be superstition but i like to do it when i can. All you do is find an old rusty nail and throw it in the bottom of the hole when you plant. It certainly doesn't hurt and the old timers swear by it.
4. Dunk or drench the bamboo root ball with mycorrhizae fungi- Yes, we did start speaking Greek, This is a very long lasting beneficial root coating that protects and expands the root system. This is a big benefit for your bamboo plant and one of my best tips! Your welcome:) I use Realgrowers Recharge, and we sell it in our fertilizer section of the website. It is loaded with mycorrhizae and other organic goodies that improve soils long term. Getting it on the roots at transplant is the best way to apply mycorrhizae so grab a 5 gallon bucket and drench or dunk the root ball, or...
5. Flood the hole with a garden hose or plenty of water from a watering can as you are backfilling it. Small pores of air are great for soil and roots, but large air pockets are death to roots so keep plenty of water in the hole to settle the soil as you backfill the hole with the amended soil.
6. Use some good quality slow release fertilizer on top of the backfill. Once the hole is completely backfilled apply the recommended amount of slow release fertilizer. Always use a slow release or controlled release fertilizer. these only release a little food out each day, so if it rains for a week straight you dont have to worry about all your fertilizer being released into the ground water and away from your plant roots. Our favorite slow release is teh 13-3-13 Fully Coated Bamboo Special fertilizer we sell at our store. Because its a fully coated slow release product, it last 12 months, thats the longest lasting controlled release fertilizer i have found.
7. Cover with mulch- A layer of mulch around the bamboo will keep water and moisture in the root zone and as the mulch breaks down it will slowly release nutrition into the root zone. Refresh the area with more mulch as needed