Bamboo Growing and Propagation Part 2

What are the Steps in Field Planting?

Bamboo can survive even in semi-arid and marginal areas. However, it grows best in riverbanks or in fields where there are enough moisture or water. The following are the steps in planting the bamboo in the field.

  1. Transplant the propagule at a spacing of 7 m x 7 m.
  2. Dig 50 cm x 50 cm x 30 cm holes. Place the top soil on one side and the subsoil on the other side.
  3. Carefully remove the propagule from the plastic bag before putting into the hole. Refill the hole with the topsoil first and then with the subsoil.
  4. Mulch the newly planted seedlings with rice straw or decomposing grasses to maintain skin moisture.
  5. Clean the surroundings of the newly planted seedlings. Do not spray chemical weedicides because it may kill the plants.
  6. Fertilize bamboo plants one month after transplanting or after they have recovered. Dibble the fertilizer around the planps, 30 cm away from the base. Per hectare, apply 20-30 kg phosphate (2-3 bags of ammonium sulfate), 10-50 kg phosphate (2-3 bags of superphosphate) and 20-30 kg silica. Repeat application after 4 months or depending upon the need of the plant.
  7. Fence the plantation to prevent the entry of stray animals.

How to Maintain Bamboo Stands?

  • Clean the bamboo clumps to facilitate growth and development of new shoots and the production of good quality poles. Two ways of cleaning bamboo clumps:
  • Horse-shoe pattern – clean the clumps in such as way that the uncut culms will form a horse-shoe pattern
  • Cross pattern – remove all the culms within the cross pattern
  • Remove the spiny branches.
  • If rats abound in the area, apply rodenticide at the base of the clumps. Distribute the bait around the plantation.
  • Remove dry leaves and branches or anything that easily burns around the plantation to prevent fire.

How to Harvest the Bamboo Poles?

  • Cut only the 2- to 3-year old culms during the dry season.
  • Cut culms near the ground about one-node above the ground to maximize the utilization of quality portions.

Two ways of harvesting:

  • Selective culm harvesting – cut only the overmature, defective, and few mature culms to allow a wider space for the development of shoots.
  • Clear cut harvesting – cut all culms in a clump.

Reminders:

  • When harvesting bamboo poles during the wet season, cut only the mature ones (2-3 years old). Do not remove the poles immediately from the clump.
  • Prevent the cut portion from getting in contact with the soil to avoid moisture absorption.
  • Leave the newly cut poles for 3-4 weeks until all the leaves had wilted and had been detached from the twigs and branches. This will allow the poles to consume all their starch contents, thus preventing the attack of powder post beetles. If this will not be done, the beetles would feed on the starch content of the bamboo poles.

What is the PoPeYe Technology and How is it Done?

Large areas of bamboo plantations have to be established to supply the increasing demand for poles. The most ideal sources of raw materials for the various uses are commercial bamboo plantations but there is not enough to supply the demand of various industries. The natural stands are ready source of materials if given proper management. They require only a short time and less investment than newly planted plantation before returning profits.

The following is a guide to the PoPeYe Technology – a proven technology for the rehabilitation, maintenance, rejuvenation, and harvesting technique to ensure sustainable production of quality poles and shoots in otherwise unmanaged plantations and natural stands.

You will find 20-30 poles/year in an unmanaged 12-year old clump. To increase this number to 75 poles/ year, the following should be done:

  1. Start cleaning along the periphery of the clump. Cut and remove the branches, brachlets, and thickets to have a clear view of the poles at the inner part of the clump.
  2. Count the number of poles present in each clump. Identify and mark foue 1-year old poles; four 2-year old poles; four 3-year old poles, and four 4-year old poles. Young poles are easily distinguished with the presence of leaf sheath still intact in the nodes of the pole. The outer culms of older poles are shiny and smooth.
  3. Remove all dead poles, broken, defective, and all poles older than 4 years old to homogenize the age and sizes of poles. Use small power chainsaw to be able to penetrate the middle portion of the clump.
  4. For 12-year old clumps, check that after removing unwanted poles, there should be 16 poles left, four each of the 1-year old, 2-year old, 3-year old, and four of 4-year old poles. The 4-year old poles should be ready for cutting at the appropriate month of harvesting.
  5. After cleaning and clearing each clump cover the base of the clumps with the leaf litter to protect the new shoots that may emerge and to serve as mulch and source of organic matter for the plant.
  6. Every year new shoots emerge from the clump. Four vigorous shoots should be marked and left to grow as poles. It is safest to mark those to be left at the start of the shoot season to assure that there are enough culms to grow. All other shoots that emerge after identifying those to grow as poles will be harvested for food.
  7. Maintain the clumps regularly. Cut the thickets and branchlets at the base of the clumps. Leave thickets and branchlets above two meters from the base to hold the clump during strong winds and prevent the poles from falling or lodging. Irrigate the clumps whenever possible to improve shoot production.
  8. Harvest matured poles (4 years old) at the right time. In the Philippines, the best time to harvest is after the rainy season or early summertime.
  9. Cut the poles just above the second or third node from the base whichever is convenient during harvesting.
  10. Harvested poles and stumps/butts should be brought immediately to processing centers for proper drying and preservation treatments.

For shoot production, the average productivity index for kawayan tinik is 0.49. This means that each pole present in the clump can produce 0.49 shoots per year. In the 4-4-4 technique, the 1-,2-, and 3-year old poles growing every year have 6 potential number of shoots. If 4 shoots will be marked and allowed to grow for the next harvest of poles, two will be left for shoot production. For a hectare, there will be 416 potential shoots.

source: PCARRD-DOST, ILARRDEC, MMSU

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