Transplanting Bamboo

How to go about transplanting bamboo?

If your species of running bamboo has got out of control in your garden you may want to transplant it to a different area to stop it from spreading where it is unwanted.

Bright red bamboo culms, ornamental red bamboo plant

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Or... you may be changing your garden design and simply want to move it to another spot.

Or... you may be moving house and want to take pieces of your bamboos to your new home to re-establish in the garden there.

Whatever the reason, I have to warn you, the majority of these plants are very hard to dig up!

There are two types of bamboo, running bamboo and clumping bamboo. The rhizomes of running bamboo spread out very quickly and clumping bamboo stays in a tight clump.

Transplanting bamboo is very hard work but the amount of work involved will be dependent on whether you want to transplant the whole plant or just take a piece of it and leave the main clump where it is. Either way, you need to take a large portion of the root ball out of the ground.

Scroll down for the steps!

For further information on planting, season, location and spacing, and also for tips on care of the plant such as watering, fertilizer, and mulch see.


Do not think about transplanting bamboo when it is shooting. The best time to carry this out would be in the very early spring before it starts to shoot, or in the late autumn when all the years growth has ended.

The Plant

Look for part of the clump, the culms, that are not too old and have grown during the year or two. Try to ensure you include healthy culms, I would recommend at least four or five, in a minimum clump size of 2ft diameter.


The roots, rhizomes, are pretty tough but not tough enough to be allowed to dry out. They must be kept moist at all times during the lifting process and transportation to their new home. Have a sheet of plastic and a bucket of water prepared and handy before you start digging so that you can wet the rhizomes and leaves as soon as they become exposed.

Cut into the soil with the spade or saw all the way around the plant approximately 1ft away from the main clump. If you are planning on just taking part of the plant just carry out this process on the side you are taking, not all the way round.

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Note which direction the rhizomes are running and allow space either side of the culms to make sure you include the rhizomes that will be for the next year of growth.

You should be able to sway the clump back and forth to loosen the roots a bit, use of a spade will help to loosen it and lever it from the ground.

When you're transplanting bamboo don't forget to keep the root ball moist, the plant upright if possible, and the leaves in the shade to prevent loss of moisture. Once the plant is lifted it is absolutely critical that you do not let it dry out, particularly if it is a hot windy day. Wet the root ball and wrap in plastic immediately and, if you are transporting it a long way, check on it through the journey to ensure it isn't drying out.

Transplant into the ground as soon as you get it too its destination.


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  • Very sharp spade
  • Saw
  • Axe
  • Garden Shears
  • Secateurs
  • Sheet of plastic (to wrap the root ball)
  • Water (to keep the root ball moist)

Make sure you have a sharp pair of Secateurs

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