Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. ~ Bruce Lee ~
SU has lovingly cared for his little stand of bamboo and I love the sound of it swaying in the breeze . He’s groomed it and trimmed it into a perfect shape that looks like a cluster of little trees. Bamboo is a grass and it grows in many tropical and sub-tropical countries such as Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. There are about 1,000 different species of bamboo growing throughout the world.
I’ve been told bamboo isn’t an ecofriendly plant and I was curious to know why so I did a little research about bamboo. I already knew that it requires a bit of maintenance to keep it from looking raggy and that it should be planted in a contained area to keep it from taking over the yard. Have I mentioned it’s a grass? Because it is a grass, when it is cut, it doesn’t need replanting. I also know that it grows really quickly. Some days, given the right conditions we can actually see it growing. No kidding, some varieties can grow four feet in a day and reach full size in three or four months. Trees, on the other hand can take decades to reach maturity.
In my reading I’ve discovered that bamboo doesn’t need much water. It does do fine with minimal water but to keep it from looking brown and dried out we did water it a tad during Dry Season. Apparently a bamboo grove gives off 35% more oxygen and absorbs twice as much carbon dioxide than the same size group of trees. Bamboo is so fast-growing that it can yield 20 times more wood than trees on the same amount of land. Bamboo is a good plant to plant on a slope as it helps prevent soil erosion (remember those grass roots). It also lowers water pollution because it consumes high amounts of nitrogen and absorbs toxins like heavy metals.
Bamboo shoots have been eaten by humans (and by Pandas) for a long time; but bamboo has become more popular in the last few years. Today we can find clothing, flooring, building materials, kitchen ware, paper, furniture, and yes, even bicycles. Particularly popular now is bamboo flooring and clothing. Bamboo flooring is harder, more moisture resistant and more stable than even the hardest hardwoods. Bamboo fabric apparently has a feel like silk or cashmere and it draws moisture away from the skin. Bamboo fabric is not 100% friendly to the environment. Bamboo stalks are pulped with water, chemicals and strong acids and forced through a nozzle into a sulfuric acid bath to harden fabric. Some manufacturers reuse the chemicals but most don’t. On the other hand cotton, polyester and nylon aren’t exactly eco-friendly either.
As I don’t plan on manufacturing any tableware or fabric I think that our ecological footprint with our little stand of bamboo is probably doing more good than harm. It helps to act as privacy screen so we don’t have to look at the bare empty lot next door. And when the breeze blows gently, I enjoy listening to the soft rustle of the leaves on a blue sky day in the campo.
- Bamboo Forests (lilianausvat.wordpress.com)
- Bamboo Floors: Good Environmental Option (modafloorsandinteriorsblog.wordpress.com)
- Langley homeowner says neighbour’s invasive bamboo plant is costing him thousands (globalnews.ca)