Friday, January 15, 2010

Bamboo for Land Fill Cover

Bamboo is not yet an important crop in the Americas, but will be some day.  Twenty years ago, I planted a shoot of lumber bamboo in my back yard in Vancouver.  Lumber bamboo when growing strongly puts up canes with a typical diameter off four to six inches if not even more sometimes.  They grow to twenty feet in height in a single season and then toughen up.

They are used to build scaffolding in China and are processed to produce the bamboo products we are all familiar with.

That shoot grew out to a small grove with well over thirty canes and sprouting fifteen new canes every spring.  Husbandry was very easy.  You control spreading by placing a four inch barrier in the soil so that the runners cannot escape.  They are a bitch to cut by the way so you do not want to neglect this control measure.  If you only want so many canes, then in the spring you merely snap off the emerging shoots.

We had the opposite problem.  The squirrels loved the shoots and ate them down.  We had to wrap the shoots with chicken mesh to allow the canes to grow.  They soon become immune to such attention as they grow quickly.  That is the likely extent of the pest problem.

Without question bamboo will grow a tough net like root mass over the capping soil of any landfill or berm.  This will certainly secure the soil and allow slow water percolation.  I am sure it would even be handy for earthen dams.  The key again is that a tough three inch mat is produced with no penetration to depth which is not wanted at all on an earthen dam.  (It creates unwelcome water channels when the root dies)

Bamboo shows promise for waste sites

by Staff Writers
Aiken, S.C. (UPI) Jan 13, 2009 

Fast-growing and shallow-rooted bamboo shows promise for use in remediation of waste sites, federal researchers in South Carolinasaid.

Two species of the nearly 1,000 species of bamboo are being tested in a nursery at the Savannah River National Laboratory near Aiken, S.C., the U.S. Department of Energy said in a release Tuesday.

Poaceae bissetii and Poaceae rubromarginata, two smaller species of bamboo with runners, were planted in 1991 in an acre plot about 10 feet apart. Since then, the bamboos, especially P. bissetii, have proven effective at being cold hardy, drought tolerant and able to thrive in full sun, said Eric Nelson, an analyst at the Savannah River lab.

The bamboos also spread roots quickly and prevented erosion without penetrating the caps used on waste sites, Nelson said. Caps prevent rain from seeping through waste and spreading contamination.

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