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Q: Bamboo trees growth ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Bamboo trees growth
Category: Science > Agriculture and Farming
Asked by: ankesh-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 27 Aug 2005 00:47 PDT
Expires: 26 Sep 2005 00:47 PDT
Question ID: 561055
What makes bamboo trees grow 90 feet in a year? They grow very little
for the first 4 years. But then, suddenly in the 5th year, they grow
80-90 feet tall!

Why don't they grow a little every year? Why do they remain short for
the first few years? And what makes them grow really quickly in the
5th year?
Subject: Re: Bamboo trees growth
Answered By: muhammad-ga on 27 Aug 2005 03:23 PDT
Hello Ankesh!

General Information about Bamboos :
?The largest of the grasses, there are over 1600 species of bamboo, 64
percent of which are native to Southeast Asia. Thirty-three percent
grows in Latin America, and the rest in Africa and Oceania. In North
America there are only three native species of bamboo as opposed to
the 440 species native to Latin America
Bamboo varies in height from dwarf, one foot (30 cm) plants to giant
timber bamboos that can grow to over 100 feet (40 m). It grows in a
lot of different climates, from jungles to high on mountainsides.
Bamboos are further classified by the types of roots they have. Some,
called runners, spread exuberantly, and others are classified as
clumpers, which slowly expands from the original planting. There are
also varieties of root systems that are a mixture of these types.
Generally, the tropical bamboos tend to be clumpers and the temperate
bamboos tend to be runners.
Bamboo is both decorative and useful. In many parts of the world it is
food, fodder, the primary construction material and is used for making
great variety of useful objects from kitchen tools, to paper to
dinnerware. They are growing so fast that they are considered to be
rapidly renewable resources, some species under ideal condition could
grow to full height in three to four years for harvesting?
For more please see

Q: Why do Bamboos Grow Fast?
A:  Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world (some
species grow faster than others). Bamboos grow fast than other trees
because of the rhizome system in them. The same plant will grow at a
different rate and size in different conditions. Poor conditions
result in smaller slower growth, but generally the bamboo still looks
good. Feeding such bamboos will accelerate growth and size, if

?There are three major types of hardy bamboos: Arundinaria,
Phyllostachys, and Sasa. Arundinaria species are very active in growth
and of medium height. The rhizome of this bamboo produces a large
number of culms near the base of the plant. Grown without restriction,
an Arundinaria plant will form a dense hedge.?

Q: ?Why don't they grow a little every year? Why do they remain short for
the first few years? And what makes them grow really quickly in the
5th year?
A: The growth of Bamboos varies from species to species. The Bamboo
tree devotes most of its energy to develop the rhizome system of roots
in the initial years.

?As a bamboo grove develops, the new culm (canes) become larger in
diameter and the height increases in each NEW cane until the grove
reaches maturity. The oldest culms are usually the smallest in size.
The new culms, produced during the Spring of each successive year,
will emerge larger than the previous year's growth, as a general rule.
This is due to the increase in the underground system of rhizome or
roots.? [Read about ?Growing Habits of Bamboo? more at]

?The larger the plant you begin with, the larger the rhizome system
and the faster it will begin to produce larger and numerous shoots
(new Spring growth). You CAN NOT short cut the amount of time it takes
a species to establish it's rhizome system. It is very important to
realize that the bamboo division you begin with is only going to grow
underground. The culms (cane) attached to the rhizomes or roots has
finished growing and will only support the rhizome system. So do not
expect the culm to take off and get larger or taller. Each Spring the
culm emerges the diameter it will be and grows to the height it is
going to be in a couple of months. You can begin with several bamboo
divisions and this will increase the amount of bamboo you have each
year. You can however establish a grove of bamboo with just one good
division.  It takes bamboo about three full years, in the ground,
before the mother plants really take off and start producing multiple
shoots. The mother plant ( no matter what size that you begin with) is
outward underground.  Bamboo is a (grass) colony plant and most of the
bamboo grove will be underground. Each Spring, the new culms will
begin to emerge larger in height and diameter than the previous
Spring's growth, until the mature size of that species is reached
after several years.?

See also for ?How bamboo grows?

?In general, temperate bamboos respond to warming temperatures and day
length, sending up a wave of new shoots once per growing season in
spring.  However there are many exceptions to this pattern; some
species shoot in fall, some have two shooting periods, and others seem
to send up shoots all growing season.  Once the shoots have reached
their full height, branches develop and leaves unfurl.  The leaves
photosynthesize the bulk of the food produced during the year over
summer.  Sugars are transported and used for food, or converted to
starches and stored, especially in the culms and rhizomes, for the
following year?s shoots.  It is commonly held that rhizome growth
largely occurs in late summer and fall, after the shooting process is
complete.  However, I have observed in my own plantings that rhizome
growth can occur concurrently with shooting and throughout the growing
season (until soil temperatures cool and days shorten in October). 
The buds along the length of the rhizome initiate new shoots for the
following year during this period as well.  After October and through
winter, temperate bamboos are mostly dormant.  In the mild winters of
my region, however, leaves continue to unfurl during warm spells all
winter long, and the culm buds initiated earlier in the growing season
continue to develop.  In spring, the cycle starts over once again with
the emergence of new shoots.?

Other Resources on Bamboo Growth
How Bamboos Grow []

Bamboo Growth Rate and Size []

Message Thread discussing Bamboo growth rates

?Our Growing Habits of Running Bamboo? []

Basic Bamboo Information and Care

I hope that you find the above information useful. Please feel free to
contact for any clarification or more information.

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