How much is too much fertilizer and mulch?

A customer in Orlando asks:
I’ve been reluctant to put down a lot of pine bark so as not to interfere with new canes coming up. Am I being too careful? Inasmuch as I planted the bamboo November 1, am I being too careful in waiting til May 1 to apply Dynamite again? I don’t want to over-fertilize.

My response:
About the Dynamite, there's no need to fertilize again until May since the beauty of a time-release formula is that it emits a slow but steady amount of fertilizer over a six month period. As for the mulch, you can place a light mulch around the plants at any time. The new shoots will push through the mulch with no trouble. As the plants mature, you can add a thicker coverage. Mulches help plants retain moisture while reducing competition from weeds and adding some nutrients to the soil.


  1. Hi Sherry,

    How about the amount fertilizer question? How much should I give my bamboo? How much is too much? How much is too little? What is the best way to apply it?

    I have two clumps of bamboo with about 5-6 culms each.

    Many thanks!

    1. i use 5 grammes of fertilizer per culm

  2. Hi Sherry,

    I bought and planted some - about 13 plants of about 4 or 5 or more shoots - yellow groove bamboo in August 08.

    I am in New Jersey and in the winter, the temps can get to 0 to -5 at the coldest - Zone 6. The plants all survived the winter.

    The plants were about 6 feet tall each at planting.

    The bamboo were planted inside a barrier with new top soil and manure and aggressively watered during the summer and into the fall.

    Mid fall, I mulched the bamboo with clippings from other plants around the garden - perennial grasses, perennial hydrangeas, leaves and some grass thatch.

    The bamboo survived the winter, but they are not yet thriving, greening or growing the way many of the other plants in the garden have started doing.

    Did I mulch correctly?
    What fertilizer should I use?
    How often would you recommend watering?
    Any other tips?


  3. it usually takes 3 years before running bamboos take off. the saying goes: first it sleeps, then it creeps,then it leaps. after just one growing season, your bamboo has not yet reached the "creep" stage. be patient. it will soon be filling out nicely.

  4. we'd recommend a time release high nitrogen fertilizer. the one we use and sell is call Dynamite. if you choose to use a non-time release formula, pick one with a high first number and you can apply it as often as once a month. you can always add more organic matter like mulch, grass clippings, top dressings of compost, manure, top soil, etc. you can never add too much of those types of soil amendments.

  5. Hi !

    We have planted bamboo 2 years ago... and last year due to bad containing methof from the person who sold us the bamboo we have had to have them unplanted and replanted again.

    This year few feet have died, and the rest made it through winter but not happy at all.

    I like the image of sleeps, creeps leaps...

    Also we bought a fertilizer with high nitrogen concentration. My husband applied it but when i went to check I feel like he has put a ton of it. is there a risk for the bamboo to die ?

    Should we get up tomorrow and remove most of it.

    We have like 60 feet of bamboo along a fence and he put the equivalent of 2 bags of grass fertilizer...

    Thx a lot.

    I don't think it is a slow release but I'll check again tomorrow.

  6. If the fertilizer is not time-release (slow-release) your plants can definitely be damaged - even killed - by over-fertilizing. Make sure to follow instructions carefully. Also, make sure your husband did not apply a Weed and Feed formula because it will have herbicides in it that can harm the bamboos.

    You didn't mention in your post where you live or what type of bamboo(running or clumping) you have. However, important requirements for all bamboos are to plant them in rich, loamy soil, to give new plants continuous water to get them started and to mulch them to help retain moisture.

  7. we got clumpi9n bamboo - fabulous - textilis gracilis (sp)

  8. I put too much nitrogen on my bamboo. The leaves are getting crunchy. Can it survive?

    1. What fertilizer did you use? Did it have herbicides in it? It would be tough to actually apply too much nitrogen to the bamboo, especially in the cooler months. I would check to make sure there is not something else going on, such as a lack of moisture or chemical damage. You may email pictures to Jennifer@beautifulbamboo.com

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