Bamboo branch cutting promotes new leaf growth and a bushy appearance to bamboo screening and hedging.
If you cut bamboo branches you need to be aware that you may not see the benefit until the following season, depending on when you cut the branches, the species, bamboo health and age.
Some plants may sprout new branches in the same season but others may surprise you by waiting until the following year.
If you want to maintain the height of your bamboo but like a bushier hedge look to the side branches, trim the branches but leave around a third of the branch before making the cut just past a node.
It's a good idea to leave some leaves on the branch. If you take the branch right off to the culm the branch will die and you won't get the desired new growth and leaves.
Bamboo needs some leaves to get energy so don't remove the whole branch if the purpose is just to trim the plant!
Trimming the entire branches from the lower part of your bamboo plant culms to expose the beauty and colour of the culms can also be done.
When taking off a whole branch, make a clean cut with secateurs as close to the culm as you can without damaging the actual culm. You don't want to cause damage to the culm when bamboo branch cutting because it will be like a wound and may provide a point where pests could do damage to the plant.
Any small part of the branch you leave behind will die off and you can go round the plant then and tidy it up by knocking off those little dead bits to leave a tidy and clean looking culm.
You can detach these branches when the culm is young and has only just started sprouting branches.
At that point the branches will be soft and easy to get off without damaging the culm. Whereas, when the branches are older you will need cutting equipment such as secateurs to do the job properly.
Cutting culms stops them from growing any higher.
Clumping bamboo can be thinned out by cutting out old culms from the centre of the clump. The clump will get new shoots and culms every year during the growing season and taking out any old or weak culms will give you a much better looking bamboo and provide more energy for the young culms. Also see Trimming Bamboo.
It is important to do this during winter or early spring, not in the middle of summer, and to be aware of where you are treading as you work on bamboo branch cutting around the plant so as to avoid squashing shoots coming out of the ground or just below the surface.
Bamboos young shoots sprout from spring through to midsummer but in some instances you may get new culms towards early autumn.
Different species get stimulated by the season to send new shoots up.
A running bamboo may start putting up new shoots earlier in the spring than a clumping bamboo which tends to shoot later spring or mid-summer through to later on in the summer.
This is not a steadfast rule though and shooting may also depend on; weather conditions from year to year, general health and age of the plant, and whether it is getting enough nutrition from the soil or compost.