Products of Forest Floor
Forest Floor Bamboo pages
Bamboo for cane production in
species that have the most potential for commercial cane production are
Arundinaria hindsii, Bambusa multiplex, Bambusa “Wong Tsai”, Bambusa “gracilis”,
Phyllostachys aurea and Phyllostachys nigra.
bamboos suitable for cane production all tolerate poor soils, but establishment
(and subsequent production) can be greatly accelerated by soil
improvement. Deep ripping and soil loosening, along with
the addition of organic matter and balanced fertiliser prior to planting
is extremely beneficial. In heavy soils, plant on raised mounds. Placing the plant
into a mound of composted bark, or
even sawdust and chicken manure is
extremely effective as long as the plants are not allowed to dry out, and
ensuring that nitrogen is applied as a liquid to the mound if leaves are
recommended as the single most important requirement to speed the growth of
young bamboo, along with high nitrogen fertiliser
if leaves look in the least bit yellow. In early autumn apply high potassium
fertiliser if plants need hardening to frost. Silicon fertilisers applied at
this time of year help increase cane strength and durability. On a yearly basis,
dress with a balanced fertiliser in Spring, followed by high nitrogen fertiliser
accompanying irrigation or following plentiful summer rain. Alternatively side
dress clumping bamboos with large amounts of sawdust and chicken manure. Running
bamboos are best fertilised by general top dressing along with soil loosening
ahead of advancing rhizome.
all species the canes are most durable when 2 to 5 years old. For highest
quality stakes it is recommended that harvesting is done by yearly thinning of
2 to 3 year old material, leaving the younger canes to continue to
photosynthesize and harden. However younger canes are strong enough for use as
stakes, and it is possible to clear fell all canes at once, possibly to suit
machine harvest. In this case the plant will be weakened and will take some time
to recover, and long term yields will be less than with careful selective
harvesting as photosynthesis is halted for a period following harvest. If clear
felling is to be considered, it would be preferable to harvest only 50% of each
plant at one time to enable photosynthesis and rhizome development to continue.
Clear felling a stand will reduce the height and diameter of following
shoots, and these should not be harvested till the plant returns to its former
is probably desirable not to plant only one clonal type of bamboo for mass cane
production, for two reasons. Firstly bamboos live a long time then flower and
die, and all clonal types flower simultaneously.
species listed below are all relatively vigorous and thus suited to fast
establishment and heavy harvesting regimes. If managed to form a dense stand the
canes will be clear of branches for up to half their length. Their size can be
reduced by heavy rates of harvesting. The
plants shoot in spring - early summer, then
harden the soft growth and produce active rhizome. Harvesting canes in winter,
as late as possible but before shoot production, is preferable as it interferes
least with plant growth. When new shoots are emerging from the ground they are
easily damaged (this is when they are most edible for human consumption).
bamboos can be encouraged to spread by cultivation and fertilisation in late
Spring, ahead of the advancing rhizome, then by irrigation in summer. Treated
thus, they will establish in three years and yields will progressively increase.
Expected yields would be 100 shoots per plant per year after 5 years,
and over 1000 shoots per plant per year at 8 years.
Harvesting improves the yield in most species.
grazing or mowing will slow the spread of running bamboos. Their spread will be
halted completely by permanently
boggy ground or a water filled trench, a solid barrier extending 600mm below
ground (less if ground is very hard and dry). Do not use a translocated
herbicide such as Amitrol or Glyphosate as it will move through the entire plant
and can kill a whole stand. However
paraquat may be used to dessicate foliage without killing the rhizome system,
and has a similar effect to defoliation by stock.
grows to approximately 6- 8 metres high, 20 -30 mm diameter and is a very
vigorous running bamboo that is capable of colonising several acres per plant.
However it is relatively scarce in NZ at present.
grows to 12 metres high and 50 mm basal diameter on a good site, but is usually
smaller, 7m x 20mm . It is very vigorous and frost hardy to -12 degrees C.
The wood is durable and tough, and if grown in a dense stand, is
unbranched for up to 3.5 m. It is commonly used for fishing poles at full
length, or for stakes at shorter length. The upper part of the cane can be
debranched for smaller diameter stakes, or short branch stubs can be left for
climbing plants to attach to. Ideal for beans or tomatoes.
is very similar to P.aurea except that the canes are black in colour, giving the
established plant a very exotic
ornamental appearance. The black colour gradually fades once canes are harvested
tend to be more frost tender than the running bamboos, and shoot in summer -
autumn. They produce as many stems per hectare as running bamboos once
established, but require more plant material to plant up an area, as they remain
in tight clumps and do not spread.
division should be left to establish for one to two years with irrigation and
fertiliser, then harvested by regular thinning. The best harvest time is when they begin to shoot or just
before, taking care not to damage any shoots that are emerging.
main advantage of clumping bamboos is that they are able to be neatly contained
where planted, for example as a shelter belt or in a production orchard, at high
densities of production. They grow better if regularly thinned, and are set back
by clear felling, in other words producing lesser numbers of smaller shoots for
at least a couple of years. Yields
per plant are in the order of 100 stems per plant per year after 5 years.
(and B.multiplex var. Alphonse Karr; - as for multiplex with a green
stripe on the yellow stem when fresh, gradually fading when harvested). This
bamboo grows to 5 - 8m x 15- 25mm
at maturity, depending on the site.
Frost tolerant to -3 degrees. Thrives
on irrigation and fertiliser, makes an excellent hedge. This bamboo is a smaller
relation of the common horticultural shelter B. oldhamii and is eminently
suitable for stake production or medium height shelter in warmer areas.
grows to 5m x 15 mm, a little smaller than multiplex.
is smaller again at 3 - 4m x 12 mm. These
latter bamboos are suitable for producing smaller lighter stakes than B.