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Would anyone know the trick to deliberately spreading an existing bamboo patch? Along my back fence a neighbors patch has spread into my yard and is providing a great natural privacy screen. So I'd like to encourage it to grow along the rest of the fence line faster.

I tried taking clippings and using the root setter powder stuff you can buy at any store, but couldn't get anything to grow. So I'd love to know how I could add another 20 sprouts or so down the fence? Any ideas?

I found lots of articles for how to remove bamboo patches, but not a lot about spreading an existing one on purpose.

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The rhizomes and plants above the ground all support one another. If you can dig out a section of 5-10 rhizomes as a clump, they'll have a better chance of surviving.

If you are very careful, you can also dog away the dirt around the leading edge of the bamboo. Leading edge means where the new growth is moving to. You can carefully remove the youngest shoots, as these will be ready to sprout quickly, and may establish themselves easier.

  • Do you happen to know if digging out / disconnecting a decent sized clump of rhizomes will harm the remaining root system at all? I'd hate to kill half in order to grow another. – Chris W. Jan 16 '16 at 17:27
  • It will only harm what you touch. – Escoce Jan 16 '16 at 17:28
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Timing is, IME, important. I got 3 bamboo (A Phyllostachys that I vary between thinking is one of 3 or 4 specific cultivars) that were rudely chopped off and dug up in the middle of the summer (the house it came from was being sold...) One survived, barely, and has since gone on to be a moderately decent stand given that it's not fully hardy here and all top growth is killed over the winter.

I have since potted up a section of it, and moved some about. The time to do this is (IME) just before the shoots take off in the spring. One of the bamboo nurseries makes or made much of their secret process for preparing bamboo to be potted in the fall - I'm pretty sure the secret was to pot it up in the spring, and wait.

When you see shoots (mine tend to be purplish, but that may vary) in the spring, don't wait - they are one of the fastest-growing things on the planet when they take off. Gently excavate and follow the rhizome (which looks very bamboo-lke with joints and all) back for a ways so the shoot has some supplies, cut and put it in its new home (being very careful of the tender new shoot.) The essence of doing it right then is that the plant will naturally scale itself back (as it's shooting up) to what it can support in its newly severed and transplanted condition.

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