How do I divide off a section of a clumping bamboo?

A customer writes:
Hi, Sherry. I've been missing your column in the "Slantinel". They've been making so many changes in the last few months. Did you ever get a book published?

I have a question. I've got to move some of my bamboo; I made the mistake of putting some of it too close to other plants, and now I've got to make some room. I can see from your FAQ that now seems to be an okay time to do it, but what do I do, just dig it up and replant it? I was thinking of moving only half a clump to a new spot. Can I just slice down the middle, dig out what I want to transplant, and replant, or do I have to cut it back?

Thanks for any info you and Ralph can give me. All the bamboo I got from you is doing absolutely fantastic, especially with all this rain, and the seabreeze my daughter, Emily, put in has almost completely obscured the house next door.


My response:
Hi Dave - My column only runs in the Lake County edition of the Orlando Sentinel now but you can read it online on my SIMPLY LIVING blog where I post new columns each Monday (you can sign up to be a FOLLOWER and receive automatic updates). I haven't gotten my book published yet but it is in the works.

You can certainly divide off a section of your existing clump but be forewarned: It ain't easy! Also, if you don't have to do it right now, it would be a little better if you waited until all the new shoots stopped growing and leafing out because any new shoots that haven't leafed out may not survive transplanting. Dividing during the late winter or early spring (before the new shoots emerge) is the ideal time to make divisions. Whenever you do it, it helps to use a sawsall to cut through the roots and to top the plants so only about a third of the top growth is left on the part you want to divide off. If you wet the ground down thoroughly before digging, it will make your job less difficult. After the section is divided off, make sure it is potted up and set in a shady place where it gets frequent watering to recuperate fully before setting back out into the ground.


  1. The information here is great. I will invite my friends here.


  2. Good info and they sell great bamboo. I bought 3 6' containers of gentil bamboo and they are over 20' and supplied the perfect coverage I needed now I hope to spread them out a little and really hope to get back out there and get some more and some 4" to finish my plans. If your in the area they folks are the best & very helpful!