How to Prune a Clumping Bamboo

by philinshelton on October 25, 2009

in How To,Videos

In this video demonstration, I thin out a young planting of Fargesia scabrida.  This particular plant started from a full, #2 container, and has been in the ground for three growing seasons.  One thing I don't mention in the video is that I like to prune my clumping bamboos in fall, well after the current season's shoots have finished growing for the year.  Also, the clumping bamboos I grow and am familiar with are the temperate, frost hardy clumpers that do well here west of the Cascades in Washington, Oregon, part of B.C. and other regions with similar climates.  Timing and techniques for the sub-tropical and tropical bamboos (which include many of the  giant timber bamboos) may be very different from those I demonstrate here.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Gene October 30, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Hey Phil! nice work! reminds me I need to get out and start doing some of that…. I have an aurea that I keep tightly clumped and its looking a mess right now… its been about 4 years since ive dug into it. any time you want to come down to Southern Oregon, let me know. You looked like you had so much fun doing this one that maybe I will save the aurea for you!

now that I have used those Barnell loppers for a few months, I LOVE them. I could not find anything about the ones you were telling me about, but im glad I bit the bullet and got these. Check them out if one of the places up there carries them. they open really wide for thier size, and the blade design makes it easier to get into messes like that clumper and work. I used them on a nasty Japonica grove, and they worked like a charm!\
keep up the videos! love them!

Phil April 26, 2010 at 11:13 am

I purchased a home in San Antonio with what I believe are 3 varieties of clumping bamboo. This winter the temperature went to 16 F for 1 or 2 nights. All the leaves of the largest diameter group (2-3 in, 15-20 ft high) fell off and there are a number of brown stalks. The smaller variety also lost leaves and turned brown/black. Some leaf growth is now seen and sprouts are coming from the ground. Do you know if I need to cut down the non-leaf producing stalks or leave it alone. Thanks for any help or direction you can provide.


philinshelton April 27, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I usually wait to see that the stems are indeed completely dead. If they are, I cut them back down to the ground. If not, I leave them to leaf out again, because the leaves will produce food, which will help the plant to recover. Hope that helps, and I hope your bamboo bounces back!

Fran loges September 11, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Thank you for this great demo. I think I can do that!

Do you have info on how and when to split a clump?

Fran loges September 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm

OK. Thanks. I did watch. The ” divide …” – great. It did not mention when the best time of year for this would be but other info I read sAysnfall is best for planting. Does that hold for dividing also? My plants have been in the ground for two years .

Bambuologo September 15, 2010 at 6:12 pm

hey Phil, Fall best, winter too, never before 15 August, for tropicals too at least in this hemisphere..always shorter,thinner,duller looking culms. Leave no ‘standing dead ‘, Always leave fallen leaves to mulch,adding silica, not necesarily culm sheaths>they have other usesBoker< may even be Portuguese or Spanish w/a german label, telescoping handles, very light weight, orange color making them easy to find like a pair of RED Felcos

Bambuologo September 15, 2010 at 6:13 pm

the above message got truncated..sorry …more later

Knud June 29, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Greetings from Denmark


John August 23, 2014 at 11:40 am

Found your video on line by chance, we had a bamboo that had gone out of control, having watched you prune we followed your instructions down to the last detail and we now have a great looking plant. Best wishes John and Nicky Oxford England.

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