Post #G03: Bamboo harvest

Posted on April 23, 2020

For scale, the bench on the right is about 5′ long.

True story

I’ve lived in this house about 13 years now.  We get along fine with the next-door neighbors.  They seem like nice people.

But I have quietly held a grudge, because they have a stand of bamboo in their back yard.  Which, of course, means that unless I keep after it, I have stand of bamboo in my back yard.

Used to be, I’d send the kids out in the spring to go stomp down the bamboo shoots.  If you get them at just the right time, they are still soft enough that you can break them off, and you don’t have to worry about it until next year.

Then the “kids” went off to college, I let it go for a few years, and you can figure the rest.  So, last year I had to take a couple of days to harvest my bamboo.  I cut the leafy tops off the poles, and posted the poles on Vienna Virtual Yard Sale (maybe it was Freecycle).  They were snatched up in less than an hour.

Meanwhile, this year, I got to chatting with my neighbor.  And, just as nicely as I could, said, golly, your bamboo sure does want to spread. 

To which he replied, my bamboo?  I thought that was your bamboo.

Thirteen years, and it turns out, neither of us planted bamboo.  Neither of us wanted bamboo.  Presumably, some ancient and long-gone former owner of one of the properties liked bamboo.  And left us a gift that keeps on giving.

Coming soon:  Free bamboo poles and tops.

Now that we have that straightened out, with my neighbor’s blessing, I’ve starting harvesting his side of the bamboo forest, starting at my lot line.  What you see above is maybe the first third of that.  Maybe a little less.

It’s primo stuff.  Some of it was so thick I had to go after it with a chain saw.  Others are thin enough that heavy-duty branch loppers will take them down.  I’m guessing that the longest pieces are 35′ overall, and will dress out to about 20′ once I’ve cut off the leafy tops.  There are a handful of shorter pieces.  And it’s easy to cut while it’s still green.

This is by way of saying, give me another day to dress those out (separate the leafless pole from the leafy top), and at that point, I’ll announce that they are ready for pick-up.

I figure I might as well do that through this web site, as I am down to just a handful of people who bother to read what I write.  Think of it as kind of a website loyalty bonus.  If you want bamboo poles, or you know somebody who’s looking for bamboo poles, come by in a day or two.  I’ll announce when.

After I take what I need for my garden, I’m guessing I’ll only have about 60.  So please limit yourself to a dozen or so.

In keeping with the times, this will be contactless, curbside pickup.  My curbside.  Well, it would be curbside, if we had curbs.  Swale-side pickup?

Ah, just pull into the driveway, and you’ll see them.

I’ll announce it here as soon as I have them cut up.  I need to wait for it to stop raining so I can get back out there and trim them out.

If, for whatever reason, you want those leafy tops, with the thinner poles, they’ll be out there, too.  Take them.  It’s just too much work to trim all those leaf stems off the main pole.

One word of caution on the leafy tops.  I found out the hard way that you cannot use bamboo leaves as mulch.  I can’t find this documented anywhere, but there’s clearly something in them that’s poisonous to a lot of other plant life.  I managed to kill a perfectly fine bed of raspberry plants, and may have dealt the death blow to an ailing pear tree, when I got the bright idea to use bamboo leaf mulch after my last bamboo harvest.  So, if you take those thin tops, throw away the bamboo leaves.  I wouldn’t even put them into a mulch pile.