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Old May 15, 2017   #1
jtjmartin
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Default Bamboo Harvesting for plant supports?

There are some pretty large expanses of bamboo growing around Williamsburg. I pass one or another almost everyday in my travels.

Is it pretty simple to harvest it (with permission from the landowner)? Does it need to dry or be cured before using it as stakes?

I realize that there are different varieties of bamboo - does it make much difference for just making stakes?
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Old May 15, 2017   #2
Worth1
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More than likely it is the bamboo they make fishing poles from

And yes it has to be cured or dried.

There is a reed or some sort of tall grass here some people call bamboo it isn't bamboo.
But we do have stands of the good stuff too.
And yes not all bamboo it fit for structural purposes.
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Old May 15, 2017   #3
Frank D
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I have a ton of it. There's always some that has died and dried. You can use a hack saw to cut it close to a joint on both ends.

The problems are, a stalk that is big enough for a large plant will be so big around that is hard to drive in to the ground. And, they are only good for 1 year because they split from being in the ground.

I use ones that are 5/8" or so for peppers, but never tomatoes.
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Old May 15, 2017   #4
jtjmartin
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Thanks Worth & Frank.

Do the 5/8" size bamboo stalks only last about a year also?
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Old May 15, 2017   #5
oakley
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I've been using 7' x 3/4 bamboo for tomato trellising since close to 20 yrs. Mine lasts
5-6 years before i get some splits and breaks. Extremely strong and long lasting if thick.
Very easy to push down into my soil with just two hands. The added strength is in
proper cord lashing.
I can put up a 30 ft trellis in about an hour without any help. I get extremely high winds
so the strength it provides is important. No digging, no sweat.

I have a house near me that is about to be swallowed. I should leave a note in their
mailbox....
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Old May 15, 2017   #6
kurt
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Default For some reason

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtjmartin View Post
Thanks Worth & Frank.

Do the 5/8" size bamboo stalks only last about a year also?


I can't seem to get copy/paste today if you search bamboo here in the archive a lot of us put a lot of info.I use it a lot,it is hollow and those some nastys love to hide and harbor in it. I.E.RED RUSSET MITES ,AND ALL THE SPIDER COUSINS,SCALES,LOVE THOSE CHAMBERS.
"CAP"with spray pruning seal the cuts at the segments on top and bottoms,preventing below grade degregation(rot).Candle dip or spray pruning seal up from bottom about a foot to stop the poles losing their height per season cause they will snap off at ground level.Do coat them per season,they tend to turn black,with the natural demise off the cane.That black mold and the cane will itself harbor those nastys that will transfer to your beloved young seedlings after that rain.Use them for structurals,not really for plant support(lines strings )awash per season with your favorite cleaner should be done dependent on condition.I live in zone 10 b,tropical wet nasty miserable,for me I have no choice.Good luck.
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Last edited by kurt; May 15, 2017 at 07:30 PM.
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Old May 15, 2017   #7
Frank D
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Maybe we can get Oakley to elaborate a little more. I'm sure the reason my stakes split is because I left them in the ground. The reason for cutting at the joint on both ends is so they won't split.

I have made several fishing poles, and the are a couple years old and still in fine shape. I can definitely see how they could make a fine trellis.

Maybe I should regroup and try it again, because I literally have tons of bamboo, and there's plenty that's already dry. I didn't make the fishing poles out of dry stuff. I cut them green and hung them up on a tree limb with bricks tied to the bottom to keep them straight as they dried.

The biggest I have is about 1 1/4" in diameter.
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Old May 15, 2017   #8
kurt
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Default When green

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank D View Post
Maybe we can get Oakley to elaborate a little more. I'm sure the reason my stakes split is because I left them in the ground. The reason for cutting at the joint on both ends is so they won't split.

I have made several fishing poles, and the are a couple years old and still in fine shape. I can definitely see how they could make a fine trellis.

Maybe I should regroup and try it again, because I literally have tons of bamboo, and there's plenty that's already dry. I didn't make the fishing poles out of dry stuff. I cut them green and hung them up on a tree limb with bricks tied to the bottom to keep them straight as they dried.

The biggest I have is about 1 1/4" in diameter.

Cut to the segments that will align nicely for sizing.I.e. 1" pole segments are shorter than a 3" pole segments.Reverse stacking after the close and tight machete trim at those knuckles.Lash at least 4-5 spots tight.They will dry and cure for what ever after your curing/coating regimen and final destination if needs/wanted intent.My Phillipino green striped up to 40footers/3 " max will cure under cover on about 6 months.When processing I always drill a 38 hole through top and bottoms(one segment before ends)for some throughwire positive fastening when needed down stream.Have fun and good luck
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Old May 15, 2017   #9
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You should see the little planes and tools they use to make bamboo fly rods.
I have always wanted to make them.
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Old May 15, 2017   #10
Frank D
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This thread needs pics!
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Old May 15, 2017   #11
oakley
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I'll look for picks. Google 'bamboo trellis for tomatoes', google image, hundreds of pics
and some not so great pics. Youtube has good videos, very clear, for binding/thrashing
bamboo. My knots are good, and good enough, for a trellis. I don't need to reference
my Ashley book of knots. I'm only going up 6.5 ft. 6-8 inches in the ground.

The strength is in the teepee formation. Then horizontal overlapping bamboo to connect
it all together. I could do chin-ups on those.

Yes, the tips going into the ground tend to decompose first. Rarely in one year for me.
I don't leave mine up year round but some years i have tossed them down on top of the
covered beds all winter. Less lazy years i put them in the garden shed.

Or google 'bamboo scaffolding' and many pics of bamboo covering buildings.

I have no intention to convince anyone to use this method. When i started gardening
years ago, we had no internet, just periodicals, OrganicGardening mag, and it was
recommended for high wind open field gardens. Lightweight and extremely strong for
its size.

And yes, we have made bamboo fly-rods, skin-on-frame kayaks, a dozen guitar bodies
hanging down in my seed starting project room....

Finding a free resource since i see often an uneducated neighbors yard gone wild...
my parent neighbor put some in and it took all the neighbors years to eradicate. What
a mess. A co-worker bought a big piece of property with overgrown bamboo and has
a zoo come and collect for the Pandas. No money involved.
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Old May 15, 2017   #12
jtjmartin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oakley View Post
Finding a free resource since i see often an uneducated neighbors yard gone wild...
my parent neighbor put some in and it took all the neighbors years to eradicate. What
a mess.
Thanks for your help. I don't think the property owners will have any problem with me collecting some. Historic Yorktown was being over run with bamboo - they finally bulldozed it all.

Last Fall, the neighbors cut down a number of Bradford Pear trees that had a ton of very straight branches. I'm using them for stakes this year for my peppers. In Wisconsin I would cut straight willow branches by the creek.

The peppers don't care!
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Old May 15, 2017   #13
oakley
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One thing i don't know about is aging. I bet it needs to sit a while. Green fresh cut
stalks are tender, then firm up just like any green wood. I've read that people list on Craig'sList for free bamboo, 'come-and-get-it' style.

I pass my neighbor near every day and drool a bit. It is a 1/2 mile up the road and do
not know them at all. Maybe they like it, who knows. We are all in a forest setting so no
tended grassy green lawns.
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Old May 15, 2017   #14
Worth1
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The young sprouts that come up out of the ground you can eat.
They snap off just like asparagus.
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Old May 16, 2017   #15
LDiane
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My bamboo stakes last for a long time. I have just checked back in my gardening diary, and
I had the bamboo bulldozed out in 1987. I am still using a lot of the poles each summer, and
keep them under some evergreens each winter so they are sheltered a bit from the rain.

When I was still growing bamboo, I would cut the mature canes to use for stakes and fencing,
and just keep the new ones growing.

For stakes, I would cut part of the side branches but leave part of them sticking out to give more space
for my plants to climb on. For fencing, I would remove the side branches completely.

I cut them in different lengths, depending on what I am going to grow on them. The full
height ones are for pole beans - they are way up over my head, but flexible enough that
I can just pull the poles down to harvest beans at the top.

Last edited by LDiane; May 16, 2017 at 02:12 PM.
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