Irrigation is essential

In March 2011 Tobaris Holmes planted 300 moso bamboo on his family farm in Unadilla GA. He then went overseas on military duty. Georgia usually gets an inch of rain a week. We counted on that rain to grow the 300 three gallon moso plants.

Drought hit. No rain for two months!  Should we dig a well, pump the nearby pond? The well was too expensive; the pond dried up. Plants were dying. Tobaris was in Kuwait.

Tobaris’ father, uncle and brother filled a tank with water and watered the bamboo. But it took three men! One drove the tractor, two managed the hose.

The solution had to involve one man, not three men. They enlarged the saucers around each plant to hold more water; they applied mulch to hold in moisture and cut down on weeds. They retrofitted the tank to deliver water from a hose held by the driver of the tractor. Tobaris’ uncle now watered the bamboo by himself. He watered many days a week. The remaining plants look GOOD.

The moral is that if you want to farm bamboo, first spend money on irrigation. Then buy and plant the plants. It is better to plant a few plants and water and care for them well, than to plant many and leave them on their own.

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