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Pruning And Thinning Bamboo

Pruning and thinning of bamboo is not essential but has many benefits. It can greatly enhance the beauty and aesthetics of bamboo. The overall dimensions and density of the bamboo grove can be controlled. As well, the health of the bamboo can also benefit from it.

The pruning or thinning of bamboo should be done in late summer or fall, after the shooting season is finished. Avoid pruning bamboo during the shooting season. When foliage is removed during this time, this can diminish the energy reserves and reduces the bamboo's ability to effectively produce new shoots.

Pruning Bamboo

Pruning Bamboo
Pruning Bamboo

Pruning is the cutting and removal of culms, branches or leaves of the bamboo. This can be done with sharp pruners, loppers or even a saw depending on how thick the culm is. Note that once any part of the bamboo is cut, it will not grow back. This characterisitic allows the bamboo dimensions to be permanently controlled. 'Topping' is a form of pruning to maintain a desired height. As new shoots emerge annually, this will need to be done every year.

When pruning bamboo culms, make cuts just above the culm node. Similarly when pruning the branches, make cuts above the branch nodes. This way, there is no unsightly stub remaining behind which can rot and deteriorate. To compensate for the lost foliage, branches below the cut line will grow more leaves producing thicker foliage.

Many species of bamboo have very attractive culms and are worthy of showcasing. However, they are sometimes blocked by branches with dense foliage. Removing the lower branches will further expose the beauty of culms and draw attention to them.

Thinning Bamboo

Thinning is the removal of the entire culm by cutting it at ground level. Thinning will allow more air flow and sunlight to penetrate through the foliage canopy, promoting healthier growth. The beauty of the individual culms can further be isolated by thinning, as opposed to having all the culms blended into one dense mass.

Depending on the thickness of the culm, a lopper or saw can be used to make a clean horizontal cut.