I know little of botany and earth science subjects. This might be a stupid question, here it goes.

What I have: A hillside with a running variety of bamboo in Oregon. The bamboo shoots reach about 25ft long and mostly lean over at 12ft high or so. They get to be about 3/4" - 1" in diameter. I have a trail going thru the forest, down a hill and towards the ocean. It has very high rails holding the bamboo back. But, eventually the trail becomes a tunnel that only kids can get thru if not maintained. Several times a year I create about 6 piles of cut bamboo 6x6x25 feet. Again, repeat this process for a section that I try to keep below 6ft tall once a year (for ocean views).

Question: Am I killing the soil by hauling all this green mass off to another location for either burning or tossing? Again, i'm not educated on the subject and this kind of thing never really bothered me like when I haul grass clippings to another location. But, with such large amounts of mass from such a small location, it feels like I am literally degrading that part of my property or damaging it somehow. Is this true? How important is it to put the cut bamboo back where it came from as mulch? Or, am I worrying about nothing?

  • 3
    You're worrying about nothing, if all you're doing is cutting it down, you're not even disrupting the soil profile, and the last thing you want is to provide extra nutrients to a plant that's taking over the locale anyway... the time to worry about soil emendment is when you finally get rid of it all from the root and want to plant something else.
    – Bamboo
    Oct 23, 2017 at 22:49
  • @Bamboo Cool! Thank you! I'll carry on then! :) Ah, the silly questions computer programmers ask about plants/soil! :)
    – maplemale
    Oct 23, 2017 at 23:22
  • Don't fret - you should hear the silly questions I ask about technology....but the answers are harder to understand, as far as I'm concerned! We've all got our specialist areas, after all.
    – Bamboo
    Oct 24, 2017 at 10:02
  • @Bamboo Wish you'd posted your comment as an answer.
    – CloneZero
    Oct 25, 2017 at 18:28
  • Never mind , it's not a big deal...
    – Bamboo
    Oct 25, 2017 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


Wow, a runaway bamboo forest, must be nice! No soil can be ruined except by being covered with asphalt or concrete or 'landscape fabric' and dumping biocides on it...nutrients or rather chemicals for photosynthesis are rarely found in soil. They are in the bio mass. That is why we humans need to learn how to judiciously add those critical chemicals to the soil for all of our artificial gardens. Everything we try to grow is artificial. Part of the definition. It would take decades for bamboo to decompose and add any of those chemicals back to the soil...except the odd leaf or two after some time decomposing. Obviously your bamboo forest is loving what it has found. Making tunnels for kids? What fun! Just make sure when you cut that bamboo that stake is not sharp and is covered by 6" of soil. I would limit the encroachment of your forest by using a rental trencher and digging a trench at least 2' deep then fitted with galvanized roofing material. Or...if this becomes a problem for the neighbors, the municipality will have legal jurisdiction to control for you...

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