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Mulching bamboo

I HAVE some suckering bamboo to cut back. Would I be able to chip it to use as mulch or would it be too splintery and dangerous to use as a ground cover?


SOME mulcher/chippers can chop up thin green bamboo shoots of up to around finger thickness and make good mulch from it. But don't try putting the thicker shoots of old, dry, woody canes in the mulcher, as they can be extremely brittle and likely to split into sharp slivers.

Unfortunately, cut bamboo can be hard to dispose of - the stems don't break down in a compost heap very well and if you burn them, air trapped between the nodes can explode like gunfire, sending sparks flying everywhere.

However, most council refuse stations have a spot where you can dispose of bamboo along with other difficult-to-deal-with plant material, like flax and cabbage tree leaves.

On the other hand, if the canes are thick enough, you could use them for plant supports around the garden or make your own Japanese-style fence.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 180, 2005, Page 32

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: October 25, 2005