Although not mandatory, adding fertilizer to bamboo can promote vigorous growth and more vibrant leaves. Because bamboo is a member of the grass family, it consumes large amounts of Nitrogen. Fertilizers high in Nitrogen content (ie. 20N 5P 5K) are very well suited for bamboo. However, any fertilizer meant for grass can also be applied to bamboo.
The best and most preferred fertilizer for bamboo is organic compost or manure, as bamboo responds very well to it. Organic fertilizer can be applied by top dressing the surface of the growing area. Organic fertilizers need rain or watering to assist in distributing the nutrients into the soil below.
The best time to apply fertilizer to bamboo is during the shooting season. For most species of bamboo, this will be mid to late Spring. Organic ferilizers may need to be applied earlier as time is needed for the nutrients to soak into the soil below. Chemical liquid fertilizers are absorbed almost immediately.