Bamboo Growing and Propagation Part 1

One of the pressing problems being faced by the country today is the scarcity of lumber. A good substitute for lumber is bamboo. Bamboo could generate tremendous income for bamboo stand owners and traders and could create jobs for the people.

There are about 65 known species of bamboo found in the country but the most commercially exploited species is Bambusa blumeana Shultz locally known as ‘kawayan-tinik.’

‘Kawayan’ is a general term for all species of bamboo in the Philippines. It regenerates fast, hence, it can be harvested in 3 years. One mother pole can reproduce more than one shoot. It can arrest soil erosion, stabilize riverbanks, and improve the environment. It can survive in semi-arid and marginal areas. It grows readily on cogonal areas, survives summer drought and grass fire, and develops a forestlike canopy rapidly. Likewise, it is the best substitute for wood because its strength properties are comparable with mahogany and other medium hardwood species.

Bamboo and its related industries have provided income, food, and housing to over 2.2 billion people worldwide.

In 2000, bamboo contributed $3.81 M to the Philippine economy. In Region 1, the income amounted to P40 M in 1999 from sales of bamboo poles and butts alone.

Bamboo has many uses. Many Filipinos, particularly the Ilocanos, relish bamboo shoots as salad or cooked vegetable mixed with ‘saluyot’ and meat. It is also a good material for house construction, banana props, fishing gear, decor, hats, baskets, fans, kitchen and table utensils, and toothpicks.

How to Prepare Planting Materials?

One of the major constraints in the large-scale production of bamboo is the lack of sources of planting materials.
Bamboo can be propagated by reproductive (seeds) or vegetative (rhizomes, cuttings) propagation.

Among these methods, vegetative propagation through the use of one-node cuttings is the most economical. These are easier to handle and more productive.

How to Prepare the Misting Bed?

  1. A misting bed is a ground bed where cuttings are being rooted. Make a misting bed under the trees and near a water source. It can either be square or rectangular depending on the quantity of cuttings to be propagated. If large quantity of planting materials is to be propagated, construct a 3 m x 5 m misting bed.
  2. Use hollow blocks as borders and then fill the chamber with sand until the brim.

What are the Steps in Preparing Planting Materials?

  1. Select planting materials only from healthy clumps. Select 1- to 2-year old culms. The nodes must have well developed buds from the base to the top.
  2. Cut the selected culms from the clump. Do not remove the buds in the nodes.
  3. Cut the culms into one-node sections. Cut at 2-3 in below the node and 4-5 in above the node.
  4. Set the cuttings in the misting bed in slanting position. Expose the branch stub above the bed. This position enhances the emergence of shoots.
  5. Keep the misting bed moist to enhance the emergence of shoots and roots. Water the cuttings by misting for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon.
  6. A sprinkler can be used in the absence of mist sprayer. Water the cuttings twice in the morning and in the afternoon.
  7. After 15-25 days, transplant the rooted cuttings into 7 in x 7 in x 11 in plastic bag.
  8. Mix ordinary garden soil and sand at 1:1 ratio. Fill half of the plastic bag with the mixture and then place the rooted cuttings. Fill the remaining half of the plastic bag with the soil mixture.
  9. Place the seedlings under the trees. In the absence of trees, provide a shade for the seedlings.
  10. After two months, transfer the seedlings into the open to harden the newly developed shoots. The seedlings can be transplanted into the filed after 6-12 months.
  11. Water the seedlings and spray fungicide to protect and control the spread of disease.
  12. Fertilize each seedling with 20 g of 14-14-14 NPK.
  13. Cut all roots protruding from the plastic bag to prevent them from growing into the ground.
  14. Remove weeds that compete with the development of seedlings.


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