The Q&A Archives: Should I Prune Black Bamboo?

Question: Should I top off (prune) my young Black Bamboo so that it will grow thicker and fuller? If so, how close to the ground? Should I prune all the stalks or just some of them? Should I trim the small leafy branches?

Answer: Black Bamboo is a clumping type bamboo and as the clump expands, the plants will become thicker and fuller. If you top the culms, you'll end up with short plants; topping won't encourage a denser habit. The best way to encourage fuller, thicker growth is to fertilize your plants and to give them time to establish. Once the roots are established, you'll see lots of new sprouts at the base of the clump. You can cut down to the ground any culms that are old and/or bare, but otherwise just leave the plant alone. Feed in the spring and again 6 weeks later with a high nitrogen fertilizer such as a 20-10-20. Best wishes with your landscape!

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