Moving black bamboo

In early summer, I planted a black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra 'Punctata') from a 5-gallon pot into a half barrel at my in-laws in Mount Shasta, CA (USDA zone 7b). The goal was to provide a focal point in front of their house.

Black bamboo in half barrel

Within four months (!) the black bamboo had filled the half barrel, and the rhizomes were starting to poke out of the ground along the edges of the barrel. In bamboo-speak, these are called "whip shoots". They do turn into regular culms (canes) but are often thinner than regular culms would be.

Rhizomes hitting the edge of the barrel and surfacing

Even though I had hoped that we could keep the black bamboo in this barrel for a couple of years, it was clear that the plant would be much happier in the ground. Therefore, we decided to plant it in my in-laws' back yard near the Phyllostachys vivax 'Aureocaulis' I had planted earlier in the year from a 15-gallon pot. The decision was relatively easy due to the fact that my in-laws have a backhoe that makes digging and hauling super easy.

Digging a hole for the black bamboo
After my father-in-law dug a decent-sized hole, he drove the backhoe around the house into the front yard and we loaded up the pond liner with the black bamboo that had been inside the half barrel.

Hauling the black bamboo in the backhoe
Black bamboo arriving at its destination
After some careful pounding on the sides of the pond liner and judicious tugging on the culms, we got the bamboo out of the liner. I was amazed at the amount of growth that had taken place in just four short months.

New rhizomes that had grown inside the barrel
All that was left to do was slide the bamboo into the hole, cover it with dirt and give it a good watering.

Black bamboo in its new home
From start to finish, this project had only taken about 30 minutes. Without the backhoe, it would have taken me longer than that just to dig the hole!

Photos taken by my wonderful wife Heather.


  1. Gerhard,

    Man, I wish I had a backhoe like that! You father-in-law puts it to good use for sure. Great blog. I'll link it on mine and on FB. Cheers my friend!


  2. So I'm only jealous of 1) the equipment 2) your soil and 3) your climate. ;-)

    Nice work!

  3. Alan, that's my in-law's yard. Their soil is dreamy. *Our* soil is clay, dense and nasty.


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