Planting bamboo can be done either in spring or early autumn. Autumn is preferably the most ideal time. Bamboo rhizomes are active during summer to late autumn. Planting in early autumn allows the roots to somewhat spread into the surrounding soil before it becomes dormant during winter. By the time spring arrives, the root system has already been established and ready for a new season's growth.
Planting bamboo should be avoided during times of active growth. For the majority of bamboo, this would be from late spring to summer where new shoots are emerging and new leaves are growing. Disturbing the roots during this time can be detrimental to the bamboo.
However, container grown bamboo can be planted at anytime during the year. Because there is no root disturbance, the potted bamboo can be safely transplanted. When transplanting potted bamboo during active growing seasons, care should be taken to not disturb the root ball.
Planting Bamboo In The Ground
Before randomly planting bamboo anywhere in the ground, careful thought should be taken on placement. Depending on the species and containment method (see Controlling Bamboo Spread), it can affect where bamboo should be placed and how much space is needed.
Planting bamboo in the ground is a fairly simple task. When digging a hole for the bamboo, the hole should be twice as wide as the root ball. As an example, if the root ball is 12" (30cm) wide, dig a hole that is 24" (60cm) wide. The depth should be similar to the depth or height of the root ball.
Bamboo is a shallow rooted plant so typically there is no need to dig deeper than 20" (50cm) below the surface. If the area has poor drainage, tilling down to 24" (60cm) should remedy the situation.
Place the bamboo in the center of the hole and fill in with soil. The fill soil can be mixed with compost or drainage material depending on the soil type. See Soil For Bamboo. Make sure that the top of the root ball is fairly even with the top surface of the ground. Add mulch over the newly planted area and immediately water heavily. See Watering Bamboo.