Dubbed as “green gold” by many enthusiasts, bamboo has tons of agricultural and industrial uses in the country. Once called the poor man’s lumber, bamboo serves as material for handicraft, furniture making, construction as well as in fish pens.
Aside from its commercial uses, bamboo can be used to rehabilitate the Philippines’ denuded land. It is an ideal crop to reforest barren areas in the country because of its ability to adapt to adverse soil and climatic conditions. Moreover, it is effective in controlling soil erosion because of its massive root system.
According to Business Diary, the estimated cost of developing a bamboo plantation is approximately P30,000 to P35,000 per hectare that includes nursery operation, establishment of plantation, maintenance and protection. It is estimated that an income of about P50,000 per hectare can be derived from the plantation after 5 years.
Choosing and Preparing Planting Stock
- Choose planting stocks from healthy bamboo clumps.
- Choose culms that are 1.5 to 2 years old as source of cuttings.
- Use a sharp bolo or saw to extract the chosen culm from the clump. This is done to avoid splitting.
- Prune the branches of the chosen culm, leaving 1 to 2 internodes of the branch intact. Keep in mind not to remove the buds.
- Cut the culms into 1 or 2 nodes cutting. While a 2-node cutting is more advantageous when frequent watering is not done, a 1-node cutting produces more planting stocks.
- Use polyethylene bags as potting materials and pulverized top soil with high organic matter as spotting media.
- Place the cutting vertically in the plastic bags. The first node must be embedded in the soil, while the second node must be exposed.
- Compact the soil in the bag moderately.
- Water the potted cuttings. Make sure that the upper internode should always be filled with water.
- Put the potted cuttings in shaded areas for about 2 to 3 months.
- Maintain adequate moisture by watering the potted cuttings.
- After 5 to 6 months of potting, you may now plant propagules.
Establishing a Plantation
- Select a site preferably areas with well-drained sandy loam soil at low to medium altitudes. Cogonal and marginal areas are places where bamboos best thrive.
- Prepare the site by clearing the area from weeds and unwanted vegetation.
- Prepare the planting hole, which should be wide and deep enough for the potted propagules, in advance.
- Space the bamboo into 7 by 7 meters. Bamboos should be spaced 5 by 5 meters and planted using quincunx method for riverbank stabilization.
- Loosen the soil in the prepared holes.
- Remove the plastic bags carefully without breaking the pottings and damaging the propagules.
- Place the propagules vertically into the planting holes. Cover this with pulverized soil.
- Compress the soil around the newly planted pants.
- Make sure to apply fertilizer when necessary.
- Regularly weed and strip bushing.
- Dead plants should be replaced immediately.
- If needed, construct firelines.