Why would I want to grow bamboo near a natural pond?
When I speak of “natural ponds”, I’m referring to a pond that has no liner and is designed to grow a pond ecosystem to support and maybe even attract native insects, amphibians, small animals, and, in many cases, ducks or fish.
In a natural system like this, plants can and should be grown both, in and on the pond, but also, in the area surrounding it. These plants that live and thrive on the banks of a pond are generally water-loving, high-feeding, fast-growing plants that stabilize the edge of a pond, or other body of water, to prevent erosion. This is important because it would be vastly unfortunate for the sides of the pond to collapse, but also because having soil constantly falling into the pond will eventually, fill the pond so that there is no more pond, and, way before that, overload the pond with too many nutrients and debris, which will likely kill any fish or other life in the pond.
With that said, many bamboo plants, being generally water-loving, and some more capable of thriving in boggy, pond-side soils than others, use their robust root systems to keep soil in place along the water’s edge. Bamboo’s tall-growing, upright nature also acts as a tall ground cover that breaks the impact of heavy rains, while allowing the water to more slowly penetrate the ground so as to further prevent erosion from robust rainfall.
Tall-growing bamboos also provide a protected environment for small animals to rest or sleep beside your pond that will help keep them safe from predators, since the bamboo’s canopy will hide them from hawks and eagles, while its culms are not easily navigated by ground predators who may be unable to move quickly and stealthily through thick patches of bamboo in order to surprise its would-be prey.
How To Plant Bamboo Bog-Style Near A Natural Pond
While digging near a pond to plant your bamboo plant is certainly possible, I do not recommend adding any holes around the edges of a pond as whatever existing roots that may be killed off in this process are nearly sure to cause a shift in the soil, which can lead to more erosion or a shift in the ground as it resettles which could cause your pond to develop a leak.
So, how does one add a new plant to the wetlands of a pond without disturbing the soil? By using the no-dig method of planting. This is done by spreading the roots of your bamboo plant against the ground and piling chopped leaves or compost on top of it and tamping it into place, thereby causing no abrupt changes in the ground supporting your pond while successfully installing your new bamboo plant(s).
Watering Your Pond-Side, Bog Bamboo
While this may seem to be overkill for a plant that is supposed to be growing in a wetland, it is possible that maybe your pond and the surrounding soil has not developed well enough yet that it has become a true wetland or that you have planted your new bamboo during a dry season. For you, this means that your bamboo plant will need to be kept moist long enough to grow new roots into the soil to settle in, especially if you have used the no-dig method to plant it.
Bamboo, like many plants, will send out roots to seek out water as it settles into its new home, after it has done this, it will no longer need to be watered as it should have roots growing directly into your natural pond to provide the plant with exactly the amount of water it needs.
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