The Q&A Archives: Dividing Bamboo

Question: How do I cut in half a large bamboo plant?

Answer: The answer depends upon whether your plant is a clumping bamboo or a running type of bamboo. Running bamboo spreads by stolons or rhizomes (similar to the way grass spreads). You can dig and divide by starting at one end of the stand of bamboo and digging down far enough to separate the roots that connect the plants. Clumping bamboo can be divided the same way. Either dig out the entire plant and cut the roots into sections (each with some green shoots), then replant the sections, or attack the plant from the outside edges and cut through the roots with your spade. All divisions can be transplanted and all should establish and grow well for you. Just think of bamboo as a large stand of grass and you'll understand the root system. Bamboo is very forgiving so don't worry about cutting it into sections and replanting. You can divide the plant now, or wait until early spring.

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