Bamboo grove maintenance

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Tora
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Bamboo grove maintenance

Post by Tora »

Is there a season when I should/shouldn’t cut bamboo in our area of the local bamboo grove? I hope to harvest bamboo shoots for us and friends next year(?) but the area hasn’t been maintained for 5-10 years. It’s a disaster. It’s difficult to even walk through the forest. Plus, The neighbors have been throwing all of their unwanted bamboo into our area for those 5-10 years!

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Bamboo grove maintenance

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Is it Mossodake or madake ? Most of this advice is geared towards mossodake.

You can clear old dead bamboo at any time of the year although we generally do our maintenance during the winter to avoid mosquitoes and overheating. You can either turn the old dead poles into bamboo charcoal if you have a water supply nearby or burn it all. You can harvest bamboo poles for use at any time of the year you need them, in our area January or February is the ideal time to cut as apparently these poles last longest but I suspect that might just be the time when it's most comfortable to be working in the grove.

Ideal spacing over here is said to be if you can walk between the poles with both your arms stretched out. You want to end up with a mix of different aged poles, 1 year old poles have a ring of white powder around the intersectional joints which gradually disappears or turns black as the pole ages. After about 5 years there will be a black ring in place of the white powder ring. Personally I can't tell how much older a pole is once it's reached this stage but some of the Ojichan's and Obachan's in our village claim to be able to.

When harvesting takenoko you want to leave a few each year to replace older poles. Ideal shoots to leave come up straight, rather than at an angle and are either near an older pole you plan to cut down or are spaced far enough from existing poles that you can maintain an ideal distance.

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Re: Bamboo grove maintenance

Post by Tora »

Zasso,
Thank you. That’s kind of what I was hoping to hear. I really don’t want to be up there in this heat and humidity- he said after a day of processing firewood cuz the he couldn’t stand thought of all that wood on the ground growing mushrooms.

I think I’ll wait till it cools off a bit so I can enjoy an evening or three of watching the charcoal fires. I’d also like to avoid the mosquitoes and madani (ticks?) that seem to be far too prevalent for my taste. I grew up in tick country but really don’t understand the nature of the disease some of them seem to carrry and that bothers me.

And, i was asking about mossodake. We have madake too but seem to take it for granted. It is such a useful resource I need to learn to make better use of it.

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Re: Bamboo grove maintenance

Post by Zasso Nouka »

No worries. It's quite a pleasant activity for the winter, tending the fire while clearing and preparing more poles to add to it and not being bothered by hordes of insects.

Cut poles can be used for so many things, from keeping your firewood off the ground to plant supports, cups & plates and serving dishes and if you have the time and are into crafting there are so many other things to make. I keep meaning to get one of those small Dremel type drills and making some outdoor floor lamps to go by our genkan.

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Eric in Japan
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Re: Bamboo grove maintenance

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Zasso Nouka wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:10 am
I keep meaning to get one of those small Dremel type drills and making some outdoor floor lamps to go by our genkan.
Get some thin blades for your sabre saw (jigsaw). Works great and is about a million times faster than a dremel, unless I am thinking of a different tool. For a local festival a few years back we drew some Kanji onto some culms, used a 12mm drill to start, and cut out some amazing lamps. We then put some little battery LED candles inside and they looked awesome. When you use the drill at the start and end of the strokes, the kanji end up looking like the font they use on train platforms- very retro-cool.

I also made a solar lamp by drilling a bunch of holes, and cutting out a few stars, then dropping the top of a 100 yen shop solar light into the top and hot-glueing it in place. I keep it out of the rain but still getting a bit of sun and it is still going strong for 4 years now.
"... so, the cucumbers said to the cabbage, `Lettuce Go.`"

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gonbechan
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Re: Bamboo grove maintenance

Post by gonbechan »

I think what @Zasso Nouka wants to do is something more artsy fartsy like this

Image

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Re: Bamboo grove maintenance

Post by gonbechan »

Eric in Japan wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:01 pm
Zasso Nouka wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:10 am
I keep meaning to get one of those small Dremel type drills and making some outdoor floor lamps to go by our genkan.
Get some thin blades for your sabre saw (jigsaw). Works great and is about a million times faster than a dremel, unless I am thinking of a different tool. For a local festival a few years back we drew some Kanji onto some culms, used a 12mm drill to start, and cut out some amazing lamps. We then put some little battery LED candles inside and they looked awesome. When you use the drill at the start and end of the strokes, the kanji end up looking like the font they use on train platforms- very retro-cool.

I also made a solar lamp by drilling a bunch of holes, and cutting out a few stars, then dropping the top of a 100 yen shop solar light into the top and hot-glueing it in place. I keep it out of the rain but still getting a bit of sun and it is still going strong for 4 years now.
Actually yours sounds way more artsy fartsy... piccies pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Bamboo grove maintenance

Post by Zasso Nouka »

@Eric in Japan Thank you for the advice, that saves me buying yet another tool that won't get much use. I've got a jigsaw so will get some of the thin blades you suggest and give it a go. Using a solar light is a really good idea, did you have to disassemble it or drop it straight in ? Do you have any pictures of the ones you made ?

@gonbechan Those are the ones I'm thinking of making but hoping to make something a bit longer, maybe around a metre and a half or more higher. Our local onsen has them around the outdoor bath and they look really good so wanted to copy that effect.

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Re: Bamboo grove maintenance

Post by Eric in Japan »

gonbechan wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:08 pm
Actually yours sounds way more artsy fartsy... piccies pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease
Actually, those photos you shared are about a million times more artsy than mine. I was just experimenting and didn't take a lot of care, just poked some holes and cut some shapes to try it out. The retro font ones for the festival were burned at the end, and I don't have pictures of them.

The solar light I just took off the spike and clear plastic window. Quite simple. I once disassembled one more completely down to just the solar panel, board and battery, and LED. Still worked. So you can go even smaller.

Image

Image
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Re: Bamboo grove maintenance

Post by Tora »

Bamboo lanterns are super nice! Such a warm color. The pics Gonbechan posted were done with a drill. There are bamboo drill bits. I think there’s a reason for that.

I like the solar light hack Eric. I took one apart years ago with the intention of doing something with it but ran out of attention span I guess. I may take that back up as we’re looking for some lights to light the approach to our house from the road below for visitors. Hard to find something than matches our needs and my standards. The bane of being a craftsman?