Why Farm Bamboo?

Bamboo is a versatile, income producing crop. You can harvest and sell bamboo shoots in spring and early summer. You can cut and sell poles in summer or fall. When you cut the poles you can feed the tops to livestock. They will strip the poles of leaves. You can run poultry under the bamboo canopy. These birds will eat weeds and the small bamboo "grass" that comes up. Meanwhile their droppings fertilize the grove. Move them to a new section as they clear the ground. 


Bamboo is a useful plant in addition to its income producing capabilities. It is a perennial. You don't have to replant it each year. It is evergreen and therefore photosynthesizes year around. It removes carbon dioxide from the air even in winter. It screens the farm from roads. It catches runoff from fields. To prevent the rivers in Georgia from running orange, zoning codes may require a 25 foot setback from streams. Plant bamboo as an income producing buffer between crops and waterways. Bamboo reduces erosion. It protects fields from wind; catches dust from field operations. Plant bamboo along swales to prevent gully washes. It is 10 degrees cooler in a bamboo grove than out in the summer sun. Bamboo thrives on summer moisture and is greedy for nutrients so it is an excellent crop on which to empty a manure lagoon in summer. As you thin out leaning canes or broken canes, run them through a shredder. The resulting mulch is excellent. It can be an additional farm product to sell by the truck load or bag.     


Where Can You Grow Bamboo?

The easy answer is you can grow (temperate) bamboo as a farm crop in USDA Zones 7 and 8. Bamboo is a forest grass and as such likes humidity. It is not a prairie plant adapted to xeric conditions. Bamboo grows best with lots of rain in summer, less in winter. Think minimum of 30 inches per year. Bamboo (most bamboos) do not like saturated soils. They are not swamp plants. Grow bamboo where winters are mild and summers warm and moist. Bamboo is a grass. If your soil can grow corn, it can grow bamboo.