Bamboo harvesting need a great timing since this is a vital phase. Having the knowledge of when and how to harvest bamboo has remained among the best traditional preservation method in regions with modest resources.
In bamboo harvesting, studies have indicated that when bamboo poles are not collected and treated appropriately, they lose quality and become susceptible to borers. Therefore appropriate bamboo harvesting practices will boost the resistance of the poles and preserve their strength.
To understand bamboo harvesting more, timing is important. You need to check at its composition which includes the possession of massive amounts of starch which are vital nutrients of borers, fungi, and parasites. Carbohydrates need to be reduced; this will help the bamboo culm to remain naturally resistant to these organisms.
The Paramount Season for Bamboo Harvesting:
Sugar content in a good number of plants varies with seasons and dormancy period takes place during the dry season. During this time of dormancy, bamboo plant is acquiring and conserving nutrients for growth in the approaching rainy season. Therefore starch content is at its peak at the end of dry season, here, harvesting bamboo increases the chances of attacking the fungi and borers!
Carbohydrate content is lower during the rainy season because all nutrients are consumed by new shoots although moisture content in the culms is high, this increases the likelihood of subsequent splitting and cracking of the poles after harvest. Bamboo harvesting at this period damages the new shoots. Therefore, the most recommended time to harvest bamboo poles is at the start of the dry season.
How to Identify a Mature Bamboo:
The age of the bamboo indeed determines its sugar content. It is lower in the beginning year and higher at 2-3. It is evident that no one would like to harvest an immature bamboo since its lignifications process is not complete which can lead to crumple on drying. A matured bamboo is considered to be of between 4 and 7 years. Harvesting mature bamboo stems is a crucial part of appropriate bamboo plantation management as it will manipulate the sustainable growth of the farm.
You can recognize the stage of a bamboo by the physical appearance; shoots, young stems, mature stems, and finally the old stems. It’s also possible to recognize by striking a machete, the sound it produces when hit is very noticeable to know if it’s matured or not.
When harvesting bamboo, the basis of photosynthesis is taken into consideration, during the morning hours, starch transportation begins from the roots to towards the leaves. At the height of the day, the process is at its peak. Thus, this is not the right time to harvest. Therefore the best time of harvest is before dawn, at this period the starch transportation has not begun. This will ease transportation after harvest,make them less prone to insects and helps to ease drying.
Felling and Managing Bamboo:
When harvesting bamboo, the pole is cut right over the first or second node above the earth surface using a saw or a machete. By doing this, there’s no way in which the rainwater will be collected. Rainwater in the culms weakens the bamboo plant and leads to rotting. Avoid as much as possible, the exposure or damage of the rhizome when harvesting because it will result in severe destruction and affect the future health of its clump.
Don’t pull bamboo culms on the ground because it causes harm to the outer layer which leads to blemishes and stains.
Bamboo culms should not be thrown hard on the ground; this kind of pressure induces cracks on the length of the culm.
Great products are made from upright culms. Therefore, selection of strong culms is crucial. Bamboo poles with cracks, splits and bends and diseases are not appropriate as building material, these can be used in other applications or industrial uses.