Bamboo poles leaning on wall

Bamboo Care

The myth about bamboo: Stick it in the ground and it will take over! In truth, bamboo needs routine care and attention the first two to three years until the rhizome system becomes established. After this, the bamboo can fend for itself if need be. It will always respond to extra care, however, and the rewards can be stunning. Each cane emerges from the ground at its mature thickness. Bamboo will produce larger canes in height and diameter each year until it reaches its maximum potential. But the canes themselves never get thicker after emerging from the ground.

To encourage new growth, it is important to adequately feed and water your plants to ensure large, healthy, and robust growth the following spring.

Containing Your Bamboo

There are several successful strategies for containing bamboo. Groundcover types are the easiest, needing only a shallow barrier. Generally speaking, the taller the species the more complex your strategy must become. There are a few natural barriers for bamboo - extreme moisture, a pond, river or stream, extreme dryness. Here at Seven Arrows stands of Phyllostachys planted in areas bound by a gravel drive in one case and a gravel path in another have yet to escape these barriers after ten years in the same space. That's not to say it won't be more aggressive where you live, so plan accordingly. Some nursery owner friends of ours have a horror story involving brand new asphalt paving and running bamboo, so be advised: IT WILL SPREAD! That said, this shouldn't deter you from planting bamboo, provided you've thought it through and have a good strategy. Here's the recommended method - Consider the ultimate size of the area you want your bamboo grove to fill. Dig a 3' trench around the entire area. (Better yet if it's not too large, dig out the entire area to 3' deep. This is when you thank the gods for heavy equipment!) Use a thick UV resistant plastic sheeting, at least 40 mil in thickness. Specific liners are sold for this purpose (we sell them -call for pricing). Line the entire perimeter, making sure to overlap any seams by at least 12". Plant as explained below. Instead of the plastic, a concrete wall will work well. Don't make the mistake of thinking that by planting the bamboo in the pot you bought it in will either contain your plant (it will find its way out the drainage holes, if it already isn't poking its roots out) or allow the plant to thrive. These are plants born to roam.


"Have a compassionate heart towards all creatures" - Ko Hung There are very few pests and diseases which affect the temperate bamboo species. With proper care and management most pest problems can be avoided all-together. Listed below are the more common vectors and general remedies for controlling them:


Furry Four Leggeds:

Bamboos are most vulnerable to damage by animals when they are new plantings. There are exceptions to every rule. In the Pacific Northwest large bamboos are particularly affected by vole infestations. Voles have been known to topple large established canes by compromising the anchor roots found at the base of the cane. They eat all the established and newly emerging buds and rhizomes. This leaves a large running timber bamboo susceptible to toppling in winds and heavy rains. Here are a few suggestions for protecting your bamboos as they're getting established.

Special thanks to BooShoot Gardens for letting us share some of their fabulous information about bamboo!




Good fertilization practices are one of the most important aspects in maintaining a healthy bamboo grove. As the largest member of the grass family (Poaceae), bamboo is in constant need of a good nutrient supply. We recommend the following fertilization regimen for optimal growth of your bamboo groves.

Beginning of March

(or when weather warms)

Apply an organic liquid fertilizer, high in nitrogen, such as liquid seaweed to your bamboo groves. The first number in the series of three numbers found on any fertilizer package indicates the percentage of nitrogen in the product. You are looking for a ratio of approximately 3:1:2. Fertilizers formulated for lawns are usually quite compatible with bamboo. Be sure to follow the directions given by the manufacturer when applying the product. Apply the organic liquid feed every week until May.

Beginning of May

Apply an organic fertilizer to feed the groves throughout the remainder of the year. Again, most organic lawn fertilizers will have the perfect nutrient formulation for your bamboo. NEVER use commercial weed & feed formulations. This will kill your bamboo!

Thinning or Trimming

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© 2014 Seven Arrows Farm

Hours: Hours change according to the season. Call for current hours.

Phone: 508-399-7860


Address: 346 Oakhill Avenue, Seekonk, MA 02771