bamboo farming

Bamboo Farming-Step By step Guide

Bamboo Farming Step By Step Guide

Well come to this section.You will learn here details about bamboo farming in this step by step guide.Our goal is to give you the best information about Bamboo farming.

Contents

01. What is bamboo farming?

02. Benefits of bamboo farming

03. Climate and site selection

04. Soil condition

05. Propagation

06. Planting

07. Flowering

08. Manure and Fertilizer

09. Mulching

10. Weed and Pest control

11. Harvesting

12. Marketing

01. What is bamboo farming?

Bamboo is a commercially cultivated crop grown for ornamental and medicinal purposes. Today, India and china are the largest producers of bamboo. This type of farming has high demand that comes from landscapers, beer manufacturers and construction companies. Bamboo plant takes the shape of a tall tree structure with many rods and branches.

When it’s well managed and fully established, it can be harvested yearly. However, this will vary depending on site factors, species and end use. Similarly, you don’t have to re-plant after several years of harvesting. Once you establish a bamboo farm, it could exist for years while still giving considerable income.

If you want to grow the crop commercially, you need extensive planning and space. Depending on the species you choose, some grow up to 100 feet. Your initial cash outlay will depend on the state of the land you intend to cultivate. Today, bamboo farming can be done in almost any climate.

02. Benefits of bamboo farming

Almost all parts of a bamboo are used. The plant offers an Eco-friendly solution to our modern requirements thanks to the many benefits of the plant. It’s a versatile natural resource. Bamboo farming comes with an array of benefits which include;

· Using bamboo in sustainable building 

Bamboo is cut and laminated into planks or sheets. It’s three times harder than oak and is commonly used in flooring to give an attractive décor. Further, it can be used for interior and exterior design elements. If you are farming bamboo for construction purposes, you can harvest it every 3 to 6 years. One of the benefits of choosing bamboo instead of wood is it’s strength and durability. It’s water resistant, light in weight, flexible and does not easily warp. Secondly, it’s one of the most affordable construction materials available.

· Health benefits

First, bamboo leaves aid in treatment of different diseases. They contain natural anti-inflammatory properties which help in detoxification. It’s also effective in relieving respiratory related issues. Secondly, the plant helps in lowering the blood sugar and is good for weight loss. In fact, one cup of bamboo shoots contains half a kilogram of fat and 13 calories. Thirdly, it helps in relieving digestive related problems like excessive gas, bloating and constipation.

In addition, the leaves can be used to make caffeine-free tea. Bamboo leaf tea makes the body warm and fresh. It can also be mixed with lemon or fresh mint to add aroma. Other uses of bamboo leaves include; healing and closing of wounds, prevents hypertension and makes effective skin care products.

· Clothing

Bamboo produces a durable and resilient fibre. It’s soft compared to polyester and cotton which gives unparalleled comfort. Further, it has durability properties; it’s stronger and has unique moisture absorption capabilities. To produce a high-quality bamboo fabric, it can be blended with cotton and other assorted fabrics. Bamboo is biodegradable, hence 100% Eco-friendly leaving minimal environmental impact.

03. Climate and site selection

Most bamboo species grows well in warm temperature and tropical climates. The area should not have strong winds, since bamboo trees have shallow roots. Although most species tend to be drought resistant once they are fully established, it’s recommended do bamboo farming in a low-lying moist area. Further, one should consider the availability of water since some are drought-tolerant than others. However, it should not be swampy.

However, if you are planting in heavy soils, you should incorporate gravel to prevent water logging. Although bamboos are tough plants and will tolerate any space, it’s advisable that you identify a spacious piece of land with adequate sunlight.

04. Soil condition

Bamboo trees can grow in almost any type of soil. Bamboo farming requires well drained loam, sandy loam and clay soils that allow good drainage and water retention. Ensure you test the condition of the soil and maintain a pH of 6.5 to 8. Rocky soils should be avoided. The type of soil you choose should promote accelerated growth and encourage healthier root systems.

In addition, the soil should be light in structure, rich in organic nutrients and well aerated. If you choose an area that is over saturated with water, the roots are likely to rot. In case the soil is too sandy, you should incorporate compost material to improve soil drainage. Make sure the bamboo variety you choose is suitable for the soil in your area.

05. Propagation

Bamboos are propagated either by vegetative or seed method. The vegetative method involves the use of branches, culms and rhizomes. Although seed propagation is a rare method, seedlings can be raised in a nursery bed and allowed to grow for about a year before being transplanted on the main field. This is the best method of bamboo propagation, since most bamboos generally die immediately after flowering.

When one is using the vegetative method, a culm is cut on a slanting direction and sealed with mud. To prevent the rhizome portion from drying, it should be covered with banana leaves. There are three methods of cutting the node. The two-node cutting method leaves one open inter-node and one full inter-node. Secondly, the one-split-culm method contains 2 to 3 branch nodes which are about 30cm.They should be placed on the propagation bed as soon as they are cut. Thirdly, the whole-culm method involves selecting healthy parent clumps and trimming them before burying them on nursery bed.

06. Planting

Planting should be done during the rainy season. The process of planting is similar to most trees and garden plants. First, you should till the land 50cm below the surface. Dig a hole that is not too deep of too shallow and remove any impenetrable material like hard plastic.

This will ensure the rhizomes are able to gather the right nutrients. Mix the soil with compost material like hay. You may need to improve the drainage of the soil depending on the area you are planting. Secondly, place the plant in the hole and use the soil-compost mixture to fill the hole such that winds can’t knock them down.

Since the roots are delicate at this stage, you should ensure you don’t damage them. Thirdly, do the initial watering by adding one gallon of water to give the plant additional strength. If you are practicing bamboo farming, it’s recommended that you do frequent watering 2 to 5 times in a week. You should choose quality bamboo planting materials with the right structural strength.

07. Flowering

For most species of bamboos, flowering is unpredictable. Once a bamboo starts to flower, it is in danger of dying. However, it’s a rare and unique occurrence in the kingdom. In fact, depending on the species, most bamboos will flower once in every 50 to 130 years. There are three types of flowering depending on the species; sporadic flowering, gregarious flowering and annual/continuous flowering.

· Continuous flowering

It happens in herbaceous bamboos and sometimes on woody bamboos. This type of flowering has no effect to the parent plant.

· Sporadic flowering

This is usually induced by genetic and environmental factors. It happens on a small scale and the plant usually dies. This type of flowering is common in species like Phyllostachys Elegans. Sporadic flowering occurs when bamboo forests are heavily exploited.

· Gregarious flowering

This is where a particular species of bamboo flower at the same time, regardless of climate or geographical condition. This usually happens between 60 to 130 years. Depending on the species, flowering is programmed once the species reach it’s life expectancy.

For some species only it’s only the stem that dies and the rhizomes becomes activated again to start the natural regeneration. In this case, mature stems produce seeds that ripen before falling off. Gregarious flowering takes 3 to 7 years until the entire bamboo forest has died.

08. Manure and Fertilizer

Manures and fertilizers play a big role in bamboo farming. In addition, they promote vigorous growth and the plant becomes more vibrant. Since a bamboo tree is a member of the grass family, it consumes more nitrogen. Therefore, fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen content are highly recommended to compensate for nutrient deficiencies.

However, manure is most preferred, since organic fertilizers need water or rain to distribute nutrients. It can be applied through top dressing. Fertilizers and manure should be applied during the shooting season. The best fertilizers are those in liquid form. They get absorbed almost immediately and are easy to mix.

09. Mulching

The rhizomes and roots benefit from top dressing mulch. They thrive and are naturally attracted to mulch. Mulch acts as an insulator by preventing moisture and important nutrients from evaporating. Further, it helps in controlling weeds. For those areas that experience severe winter period, mulch ensures the rhizomes and roots are not exposed to freezing.

Different materials can be used for mulching. For instance, leaf, manure, compost material and sawdust recycle the nutrients back into the soil. Although bamboo leaves form natural mulch, it’s advisable that you consider other options to protect the plant. Generally, you should cover the plant with 5 to 15 cm of mulch depending on size. If you have grown bamboos in areas that are prone to winter season, it’s recommend that you cover the plant with 30cm of mulch.

10. Weed and Pest control

The most effective methods of controlling weed when farming bamboos are mulching and hoeing. If weed is not controlled; it will compete with bamboo trees for nutrients, water and light. Weed usually grows in an area with plenty of sunlight. Therefore, it’s advisable that you take advantage of closer spacing to close gaps. This is one of the most effective methods of shading weeds. On the other hand, different herbicides can be used to get rid of weed.

Selective herbicides can kill certain targets while leaving the tree relatively unharmed. Today, there are more than 800 species of pests that can attack your bamboo plantation. Although some species of bamboos are resistant pests, it’s recommended that you take precautionary measures. Some pests have limited on your bamboo farming while others can do a serious damage to your plantation. There are four methods of controlling pests from attacking your plantation. They include; physical methods, biological methods, cultural and chemical methods.

· Physical methods

This is controlling pests manually. For instance, you can erect a fence on your plantation to keep them away.

· Chemical method

This is the use of pesticide to control the different species of pests

· Cultural method

It includes timely harvesting and introduction of other crops in the plantation to control pests.

11. Harvesting

Timing plays an important role. Depending on the bamboo species and environment, harvesting usually takes 3-5 years. However, commercial farmers usually harvest on the 6th year onward. Harvesting takes place at different stages. You should select the calms with the greatest strength if you are harvesting for building purposes. To ensure the poles retain their strength, one must use good harvesting practices. Harvesting should be done during the dry period since this is the period the plant is conserving nutrients for the next rainy season. In addition, proper plantation management must be observed .Harvesting is done according to 3 cycles;

· Annual cycle

This is harvesting before the wet season starts. Sap levels are at the lowest level. The clump is less disturbed during this period.

· Life-cycle of the Culm

culms have a life cycle of about 5 to 7 years. For harvesting to be done, the plant is allowed to fully mature prior to harvesting. The life-cycle varies depending on the species; some take 2-3 years while others take 5-7 years.

· Daily cycle

Photosynthesis is usually at the peak during the day which makes it the ideal time to harvest. Scientific research has shown that between 6am and 6pm, the starch is still in the roots of the plant.

A bamboo harvested in any of the above methods is easy to transport and is less prone to attack by pests. Cutting should be done either on the 1st or the 2nd node above the ground level. Only healthy culms should be selected.

12. Marketing

Marketing is an important exercise in bamboo farming. It’s recommended that you research on your market before you start marketing your bamboo. First, you need to identify the markets that need the bamboo product throughout the year. Secondly, consider the geographical area and the competitiveness of the market. Thirdly, select the most effective marketing channel.

There are different methods you can use to market your bamboos. For instance, you can place adverts on construction oriented magazines. Since they are frequently produced, people will get to know about your business. You can also use infomercials to ensure people familiarize themselves with your bamboo farming. It’s recommended that you try to concentrate your product on the processing markets. If you market your bamboo farming well, you will get huge returns in the long-run.

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