Bamboo 101: Simply Green

Bamboo 101Very few people know the true power and versatility of bamboo. Once thought of as just another landscaping grass, bamboo is quickly becoming a great alternative to wood products. There are over 1,500 types of bamboo available, though just over two percent of those types are currently being used as a material.

The Asians have utilized bamboo for centuries, used in their food, their shelter, and their daily life. Ancient Asians used bamboo as a paper product, created homes and furniture with dried bamboo, and even used it in soups. Yet, bamboo can be used for some much more.

When dried and treated, bamboo is a very rigid wood, which can be used in flooring for homes. While at times expensive, bamboo is a great alternative because it can so quickly be replenished in nature. Bamboo can hold up in most any element, which is why it was so valuable to the ancient civilizations of Asia. It's durability and strength makes bamboo an excellent choice for building material. Bamboo is often seen in construction due to its rigidity and core strength. It is no wonder that previous generations in America used dried bamboo stalks as fishing poles. The bamboo stalks were durable enough to hold when a fish was hooked. Bamboo is still used in small towns across America, though western and European cultures comprehend its value beyond the every day fishing pole or wind chimes.

Since bamboo is a grass, it is a renewable resource. It needs very little room to grow, since certain varieties grow upwards to sixty feet. It generally takes weeks for the grass to grow back once harvested and continues to grow year round. It is these certain attributes that make bamboo quite beneficial to modern civilization.

However, if you are planning on adding bamboo to your current garden, it is advisable to do your homework first. Bamboo, while easy to maintain, can be tricky to remove from your land once it is planted, so make sure that you have the proper plant for your climate, garden and abilities. Once planted, all you will need to do is keep it watered regularly- after all, bamboo requires a great deal of water- and trim it to the appropriate length and width you desire. With over 1,500 varieties of bamboo available, it can get pretty tricky trying to find the perfect plant for your yard. This is why researching your grass is so important. There are varieties that have both clumpers and runners, then bamboo which have one or the other. Clumpers tend to grow outward, while runners grow upwards. Depending on your garden, you will need to decide which one is best suited for you.

The Chinese consider bamboo to be extremely lucky, so having this evergreen in your yard or home can bring much luck to your family. Though lucky bamboo is not traditionally bamboo, but more of a houseplant per se, it is still lucky. And anyone who has bamboo in their yard should consider himself or herself lucky, for they have planted one of nature's greatest grass and are giving back to the planet they love.

 

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