How Fast Does Bamboo Grow & What is it Used For?

The bamboo species is a rather peculiar plant, almost in all ways. Bamboo plants belong to the grass family but can grow to heights that make you wonder if that truly is grass. Most people refer to fully grown bamboo as bamboo trees. However, the commonly asked question you will hear during tours is "how fast does bamboo grow?" from curious minds that this grass has blown. So let us dive in and answer all your questions concerning bamboo.

How Fast Does Bamboo Grow?

Bamboo grows at a rate ranging up to one meter every day under the right conditions that accelerate growth. This growth rate, by far, makes bamboo the fastest growing plant. Most bamboo species do well in moist and warm tropical climates. A bamboo plant can grow other bamboo shoots once fully grown. Bamboo plants grow in this manner because bamboo is a colonial plant. You will plant one, and you will have a bamboo grove to look after before you know it.

Bamboo species grow fast, no doubt about that. An example can be the Moso bamboo that grows for up to 47 inches in a single day. However, after about 60 days of continuous growth, the plant ceases either in height or diameter. It is probably better because you can imagine how high the grass would be if the growth never stops. Once the bamboo has stopped growing, it starts colonizing the area by spreading the roots. As we have established, bamboo is an invasive species of plants. If you want to plant bamboo, keep in mind that the invasion might happen.

The bamboo cane can live for ten years. This is enough time for the bamboo plant to spread its roots and bring up generations of other bamboo plants, which will most likely carry on the trend as long as the conditions are right. Running bamboo roots develop shoots in an underground stem called a rhizome.

The rhizome system ensures the bamboo growth does not stop when the optimal height and thickness are achieved. In addition, the root system growth habit makes bamboo predictable because you know that the plant will gradually expand outward. Therefore, you can easily keep clean hedges using the bamboo plant as your fence.

Types of Bamboo

Bamboo can be generalized into two main groups; clumping bamboo and running bamboo. Clumping bamboo grows in a clump, closely held together at the place they first started growing. If you want to go for bamboo that will not need maintenance due to spreading, go for this specific bamboo species.

On the other hand, running bamboo species will attempt to colonize as much area as they can. The running bamboo can spread up to 100 feet away before starting to grow new shoots. Soon enough, you will start seeing bamboo canes in your neighbor's backyard with bamboo culms growing as fast as you might predict by now.

Being the fastest growing plant, the environment plays a huge role in the plant's growth process. Temperate bamboo will not have the same characteristics as tropical bamboo. Many species spread across the globe, adapting to the climates and weather where the plants choose to grow. Bamboo in South America will be different from bamboo in China.

There are many bamboo species. There are close to 1 000 species of bamboo with about 91 genera of the plant. Bamboo forests come in all varieties, with different bamboo species growing in all shapes and sizes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bamboo

1) What is the Climate Favorable for Bamboo?

Bamboo does well under warm temperate climate or tropical climate. These climates are favorable for bamboo, which needs a lot of sunlight to facilitate growth. Under these conditions, bamboo can grow at a rate of up to one meter every day. For this growth to happen, the conditions need to be just right. Bamboo can grow in cold temperatures. Cold hardy bamboo can grow in temperatures as low as five degrees Celsius. Varieties like the Golden bamboo will do well in a cold environment as long as access to sunlight.

2) Will Bamboo Grow in a Pot?

Bamboo can grow in a pot if you know how to transfer the bamboo safely. Growing bamboo is a skill that you can learn. When buying bamboo to plant, avoid freshly dug plants because you might not be sure about the condition of the bamboo and whether it was handled well or not. Create favorable conditions for the initial planting of the bamboo if you will intend to transfer them later to the ground. Keep in mind that there are different species of bamboo, some of which can comfortably grow in a pot.

Bamboo grows aggressively. Therefore, look for a pot that can sustain the plant's growth without choking the life out of it.

3) How do I Stop Bamboo from Spreading?

Bamboo never stops growing. Once the stem stops growing upwards, the action turns to root growth which takes over at a high rate. Before you know it, you will see bamboo sprouting 100 feet away soon enough. The best time to anticipate this problem is when planting the bamboo plant. First, use concrete or plastic paper to line the sides of the hole you have dug for the bamboo. The method will restrict the roots from growing into unwanted spaces. Once you are done, you can be sure that no root will escape the barrier.

Another efficient way of preventing root growth is by choosing clumping bamboo as your option. These types of bamboo concentrate in one area and do not spread their roots far from where you planted the parent bamboo.

4) Why does Bamboo have a Hollow Stem?

Remember that bamboo is not a tree. Grasses have hollow stems, and bamboo is no exception. However, bamboo has evolved to have rock-hard stems to compensate for how long they grow. The hollow part of a grass stem is known as culm. Structurally, a hollow stem would be stronger than a solid stem of the same height and thickness. Therefore, the hollow stem allows for the speedy growth of the plant.

5) Is Bamboo a Tree?

You may have heard bamboo being referred to as a tree before. The only reason bamboo is referred to as a tree is that some species grow to enormous heights and widths. At some point, it might not create the correct imagery to refer to the plant as grass. However, bamboo has never been a tree. Bamboo belongs to the grass species and has over 1 000 species to support that fact. Bamboo comes in all shapes, colors and sizes, from grass sizes to probably the tallest plants on the planet.

6) Is Bamboo Edible?

As we all know, bamboo is eaten by pandas. However, that fact alone is not reason enough for humans to eat bamboo. This is not to mean that bamboo is inedible. Bamboo shoots are edible to humans. The shoots need to be boiled before being eaten. The fibrous parts of the shoots should be removed as well. Bamboo can be poisonous if eaten raw. The shoots have toxins that produce cyanide in the guts. Cyanide poisoning is not something you might want to deal with. Eat bamboo only if you have to. The only other time bamboo should be in your mouth is if you use it as a chopstick or a spoon. And no, the bamboo flute does not go inside the mouth.

Uses of Bamboo

a) Bamboo Charcoal

Bamboo grows at a high rate and is a useful source of material because of its sustainability. You can regenerate a whole bamboo forest within just five years. Other plants can not achieve the impressive record that growing bamboo sets. Bamboo charcoal is one of the products that can come from bamboo and has many uses because of the special properties of bamboo charcoal. The charcoal is mostly produced from the rapidly growing Moso bamboo. As we had established, Moso bamboo grows more than two feet each day and gets to a height of 60 feet in just two to three months.

Due to the growth characteristics, the bamboo has pores in the structure. The pores are what make bamboo charcoal unique and useful for different purposes. The characteristic makes the charcoal good for use as humidifiers and deodorizers. Bamboo plants create a structure that is ten times more likely to absorb odor compared to other plants. Bamboo grown under the right conditions will give you the best charcoal for home use.

Bamboo charcoal can work as a decoration for homes and other spaces while simultaneously working as air filters. In addition, bamboo is so efficient that it can be used as a commercial air filter.

b) Furniture

Bamboo can be harvested in its different stages to make different types of furniture. Bamboo can bend, making it possible to come up with intricate shapes that look attractive. Bamboo has strength and integrity that no other plant can achieve. The hollow stem makes lightweight furniture that is not a hassle to move around. The great thing about bamboo is that they are stylish and they look unique. Add a bit of creativity and develop the best furniture designs that can sell for good money.

c) Scaffold

Scaffolds form an important part of the construction industry. The scaffold has to be strong, and there are no two ways about it because the builders' lives depend on the scaffold being strong. Bamboo makes the best scaffold because of its unmatched strength. In addition, bamboo is lightweight, reducing the chances of the scaffold giving in to weight. The structural integrity of the bamboo makes working on tall buildings a possibility.

Bamboo scaffolding is readily available compared to metal, and bamboo is generally cheaper in some countries. So the best bet for a builder in Hong Kong would be bamboo. Bamboo being the fastest growing plant, the supply is continuous.

d) Bamboo Flutes

Bamboo has worked as an instrument for hundreds of years. The hollow stem of bamboo makes for a good flute when in the hands of a master craftsman. Certain bamboo species do not have a hollow stem, but most do. Therefore, the use of bamboo for making flutes has been around for a long time. Modern technology and more musical theory have led to better flutes and a better understanding of the indigenous modes of music as they were played in the past. Bamboo flutes remain the identifying instrument for countries like China and India.

e) Clothes and Apparel

Bamboo fiber has the most advanced cloth technology, with moisture-wicking ability and breathability. Clothes made from bamboo are thermoregulating and dry faster compared to other materials like cotton or nylon. Bamboo can work well on mats and rugs as well. The mats are lightweight and easy to bring along during summer or for a picnic. Bamboo is the only plant that is useful in almost any stage of its growth.

f) Houses

A whopping one billion people live in bamboo houses. That number is hard to imagine, but we can all agree that it is impressive. Bamboo is a sustainable construction material, and giant timber bamboos are the best for the structural integrity of rooves and walls. But, on the other hand, Woody bamboos are just older bamboos whose pores have filled up.

g) Hedges

A bamboo hedge is both aesthetic and efficient for privacy. Bamboo can work both as a live fence or a privacy fence roll. Bamboo hedges are easy to maintain as you only need to go for clumping bamboos that will form a bamboo grove and not spread all over the neighborhood. Bamboo growing outside your house is one of the best experiences as soon you will have birds and other animals coming around.

h) Medicine

The bamboo shoot helps treat kidney diseases, leaves, and other venereal diseases in different Asian traditional practices.

i) Kitchenware

Bamboos make the best kitchenware because they dry fast, are lightweight, and they have antibacterial properties. Bamboo looks good on the table and can work in professional settings such as restaurants. Chopsticks dominate the utensils category, with billions of pieces used every year. The market for bamboo utensils is always ready.

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