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Bamboo

The magic of bamboo


Farmers used to look forward to the rainy season. Now they dread it. Instead of welcoming
the rains, farmers anxiously scan for early warning signs of the approaching danger. When
the heavens finally release their deadly load, it is like a well coordinated terrorist attack.

TUESDAY APRIL 2 2013

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Bamboo has multiple uses ranging from construction, fuel source to livestock feed. Internet Photo.
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By Andrew Ndawula Kalema
Farmers used to look forward to the rainy season. Now they dread it. Instead of welcoming the rains,
farmers anxiously scan for early warning signs of the approaching danger. When the heavens finally
release their deadly load, it is like a well coordinated terrorist attack.

Homes and plantations are razed to the ground while crop fields are swamped by flash floods. Rivers
burst their banks, lightning strikes pick their victims, and landslides destroy everything in their path.
Instead of preparing their fields, farmers prepare for disaster. There are reports of communities
devastated by storms each rain season. The frequency and intensity of these storms is worrying.

Trees on farm
Experts point to climatic change and warn that unless the reckless clearing of forests and wetlands is
checked, the situation will get worse. With no trees to act as windbreakers, or wetlands to absorb
excess water, the rains will become more destructive. It will take the collective effort of all citizens of
the earth, to change the situation.

Farmers can do a few things to slow down the rate of deforestation. One of them is to plant trees on
our farms. This is called agroforestry. It is amazing; the number and variety that can be planted on a
small piece of land. An acre can have several hundred Ficus (Mutuba or barkcloth) trees planted
along boundaries. Within three years, these trees will be giving the farmer poles for constructing
different farm structures, stakes for supporting bananas and other plants, forage for livestock,
fuelwood, shade for crops like coffee and protection from winds.

Fruit and nut trees, medicinal, spice, forage, and soil-enriching trees (nitrogen-fixing leguminous
trees such as Calliandra and Lucerne) can be planted on marginal land, such as steep slopes and
rocky ground where no other agricultural activity can take place.

A small woodlot can earn a farmer extra income through selling different tree products, and at the
same time save money that would have been spent on buying the same products for use on the farm.
As natural forests get depleted, farms will become the main source of timber and other tree products.

Besides moderating the effects of climatic change, trees can also serve as a form of insurance against
financial disaster. Farming is a highly risky business. Rains fail. Prices drop. Diseases strike. Instead
of mortgaging the farm to a bank or a money lender, a farmer can sell off a few high value trees to
raise money to settle their debts, send the children to school, or acquire a strategic farm asset such as
a water pump or a truck. If you do not want to plant trees, at least, plant bamboo.

Plant bamboo
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and can be a big asset on the farm. It
belongs to the grass family and grows faster than a tree. On the average, a tree takes 10-30 years to
mature while bamboo takes three to five years. As expected of a fast growing plant, it also consumes
more carbon dioxide and generates more oxygen than a tree.
But, most important, it is a good substitute for timber. You do not need to cut down precious trees
for timber. It can serve as wind breaker, a living fence, construction material, and fuel for cooking,
firing bricks, pottery, and charcoal making. Its web-like root system offers a cheap and effective
solution to soil erosion and landslides, its ever green canopy offers quality forage for livestock; the
bamboo plant is an all rounder.

Farmers who are into greenhouses can save a lot of money by using bamboo instead of eucalyptus as
construction material. Bamboo is lighter yet stronger and more water- and termite-resistant than
eucalyptus. In Malaysia and other Asian countries, it is commonly used in construction of
greenhouse construction.

In Ethiopia, bamboo is promoted as a substitute to timber. This has helped take pressure from the
forests, which were being depleted at an alarming rate. With almost a million hectares of bamboo,
about 60 per cent of Africa’s bamboo resource, Ethiopia is developing a multimillion dollar industry
using bamboo as raw material.

Ugandans are yet to realise that bamboo can help them cope with the challenges of climatic change.
And you cannot blame them. Many of them are still traumatised by their first encounter with a
bamboo cane back in school. But besides helping them to cope with the destructive rains, bamboo
can help Ugandan farmers diversify their incomes.

The author is a farming journalist and a consultant .


akndawula@gmail.com

By Andrew Ndawula Kalema


There is a surge in demand for bamboo planting material in Uganda. Farmers are keen to cash in on
bamboo, the “new kid on the block”, which has earned itself a reputation worldwide as a versatile
renewable resource.
The shortage of planting material is only rivalled by lack of basic information. There is a need to
separate myths from facts about bamboo growing.
As we prepare to mark World Bamboo Day on September 18, here is basic information that any
aspiring bamboo farmer should have at their fingertips.
Fast growing
Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world; with a new shoot attaining full height and
diameter in 60 -90 days (two to three months). Some species can grow up to 120 centimetres in a
day.
After reaching full height, it ceases to grow; not increase in size, but only stronger.
A bamboo plant or clump has an extensive root system that continually sends up new shoots. This
takes a lot of energy. Both runner and clumping bamboos store energy in their rhizome systems to
produce new shoots.
As new culms, or poles, or stems, they produce branches and leaves, which send energy back to the
rhizome system to produce more shoots, and continue to harden and mature for several years.
Individual culms may live as long as 20 years.
Their hollow segmented structure gives them a combination of strength, flexibility and lightness.

Bamboo a grass
Bamboo is grass with tree-like properties, which make it a perfect alternative. It is a rhizomatous
plant, just like ginger, which farmers in Uganda are more familiar with.
It grows principally from rhizomes: tough underground stems that produce roots, new shoots and
more rhizomes.

Bamboo types
Many Ugandan farmers fear to plant bamboo because it will “steal” or “grab” their land. They could
be right. They could be wrong. It depends on the type. There are about 1,200 species in the world,
broadly categorized into runner and clumping bamboo.

Clumping bamboo
Clumping bamboo’s short slow-spreading rhizomes is non-invasive. The rhizomes are short and new
shoots appear close to the mother culms in a predictable fashion.
The new shoots grow at the end of each rhizome and so the outer poles or stems mark the limit of the
hard underground parts of the plant.
For most species, the clump size is self limiting and will not continue to increase indefinitely. It is
possible to control the shape and size of clumps by cutting the shoots where they are not wanted.

Runner bamboo
Runner bamboo with long fast-spreading rhizomes can be invasive, especially in tropical conditions.
The rhizomes are long and adventurous like those of Couch or Kikuyu grass. This type should only be
planted where there is plenty of space and the farmer should have a strategy on how to manage it.
Planting runner bamboo without management strategy is what has given bamboo a bad reputation
among farmers in Uganda, especially those with small plots of land. Yet some of the best
species for timber production, including the popular Moso, are
of the runner type.
Soil conservation
Farmers in Uganda will do everything to protect their land, but then neglect their soils, which are
washed away during heavy rains.
Soil erosion, as a result of reckless clearing of vegetation cover, is a challenges facing farmers in
Uganda. Bamboo has long, fibrous, shallow growing roots that are able to stabilise soil and prevent
erosion. People living in mountainous areas like Rwenzori and Elgon should plant bamboo to protect
their soils.

Flowering
Bamboo flowers and dies. Some species never or rarely flower. Others flower sporadically. Length of
the flowering cycle varies considerably, some can take up to 120 years, while others flower almost
annually and not die back at all.
Adaptable
Bamboo is an adaptable plant. Not only has it managed to evolve into such varied forms to suit
diverse environments, its size and development can also vary within individuals of the same species
growing in different conditions. You can find technical descriptions with incredibly large height
ranges specified.

Propagation
Bamboo is propagated by taking pieces and keeping them under conditions that stimulate them to
grow.
Some species are easy to propagate, others less so. A number of research institutions and individual
nursery operators in Uganda are experimenting with different techniques to find the most suitable
for different species.
It is important to select mature plants that are pest- and disease-free for propagation.
Careful balance of moisture and drainage, and high humidity are essential for good results in all
species. Warmth and good light are also required.

Basic propagation techniques


Offsets: Bamboo plants growing in pots or in the ground can be divided to produce new plants. The
idea is to divide the underground system of rhizomes and roots into ‘offsets’ of one or more culms. A
sharp saw or panga can be used.
A single culm (stem) with healthy rhizome and buds is enough to generate a new clump (plant).
However removing too many offsets from the mother plant can damage it, because bamboo stores
much of its energy (food) in rhizomes and lower culms.

Cuttings: Some species can be propagated from cuttings. Single node cuttings can be placed straight
into pots, but this takes a lot of skill and care. Better results are achieved in a controlled environment
such as in a greenhouse.
Layering: Bamboo culms can be pulled down to the ground and covered with soil and mulch and new
plants will form at the nodes.

This is the easiest and most reliable way to propagate from layerings. By leaving the culm attached to
the parent plant, minimum care is required, but it takes a long time, one or two years for some
species, to form plants strong enough to be transplanted.

Alternatively, the culm (with or without the rhizome), can be removed from the plant and layered in
a nursery. This can produce new plants fast but requires more intense care.
Seed: It is possible to propagate bamboo from seed. However, seeds are rare since bamboo flowering
is also rare, and the seeds need to be planted as soon as possible, as they lose viability fast.
Plantlets propagated from seed tend to be delicate, and so need to be kept longer in the nursery,
sometimes up to a year.

alominda@ug.nationmedia.com
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Bamboo Overview
Bamboo is a grass belonging to the subfamily Bambusoideae. It is a special source of timber as it is a self-generating
natural resource with shoots growing annually. There are over 1200 species grown worldwide. The utility of bamboo
has increased tremendously in the last decade with both rural and modern industries growing as a result.
Research shows that bamboo has potential to significantly impact the economy of a society. Bamboo requires a
modest capital investment and can generate steady income for investors. One reason for this is it has a shorter
growth cycle- can be harvested in three years.
BAMBOO VERSUS OTHER TREES
Bamboo has stronger reproduction abilities than most tree species- it can therefore be grown without fertilizers
Its fast growing qualities allows harvest in three years; other fast growing species like eucalyptus and acacia take 6-
10 years and red pine 10 years
Bamboo is stronger than most hardwoods- it has high tensile strength than some alloys of steel and compressive
strength than many mixtures of concrete
Most trees used for timber take 30-50 years to regenerate to their full mass, a pole of bamboo on the other hand can
actually fully regenerate in 6 months
Fun fact – Bamboo cannot be digested by termites due to the high silica content in its fibres.
BAMBOO AROUND THE WORLD
Bamboo is an important source of wood mass in many parts of the world due to its fast rate of growth, the huge
variety of uses, its strength, and the diverse soil and climatic conditions where it grows optimally.
Many Asian and South American countries have had an engagement with bamboo running over thousands of years
but in Africa, bamboo is only just beginning to claim its place in commercial farming. Ethiopia has started processing
bamboo using existing natural forests for raw materials, while Ghana is slightly ahead of Kenya in the establishment
of commercial bamboo plantations.
Globally, there are concerted efforts to popularize commercial bamboo farming as a response to the growing demand
for wood products. In India, for example, the National Bamboo Mission has been set up to “address issues relating to
the development of bamboo in the country” following the realization of its “vast untapped potential”.
BAMBOO USES
Bamboo, whose harvesting begins just three to four years after planting, is processed for over 1500 uses, including:
Production of construction materials such as plywood, veneer, block board, scaffolding and high-end flooring tiles
Making of charcoal, briquettes, pellets and other green energy products
Manufacture of furniture, paper, clothes and a variety of household accessories
Production of fencing posts, props for use in horticultural farms and in some cases, manufacture of electricity poles
In many communities, bamboo shoots are a popular delicacy, loved for their taste and nutritional value
Bamboo is very good soil conservation. With its widespread root system, it can provide an effective erosion control. It
sustains riverbanks and serves as good windbreaks
Besides protecting the environment, bamboo cleanses the air we breathe. Its
stands release 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees. Some bamboo
can sequester up to 12 tons of carbon dioxide from the air per hectare. It can also
lower light intensity and protects man against ultraviolet rays
Bamboo is a highly renewable material. There is no need to replant once the clump is already established. It
produces new shoots on a regular basis that develop depending on species, into erect culms reaching 30 meters tall
A stunning statistic regarding bamboo is that you can harvest more wood mass
from an acre in five years than you can get from almost any other tree variety on
similar land space in 40 years. This defines its great economic potential
Bamboo is the main material for construction of houses, and an estimated 1 billion houses around the world,
particularly in Asia, are wholly made of bamboo

The Top Ten Reasons Why Bamboo can Save the Planet

By now, nearly everyone knows that we are depleting the natural resources of the only home that we have at a rate that is well past
sustainable. To some extent, we have become inured to alarming reports and ominous warnings about our wasteful ways. Media outlets
yammer away about Overpopulation, Global Warming and Deforestation and these reports either fatigue or motivate us to make necessary
changes in our lives.

Occasionally, a development comes along that provides some optimism about our prospects for making positive changes in our living habits.
One such development is the emergence of new uses for a species of grass that has been around far longer than we have. Bamboo has
been used for everything from food to bridge building for millennia but consumers and manufacturers are taking a fresh look at all that this
amazing plant has to offer. Here are the top ten ways that bamboo will save the planet.

1. Renewable resource. Depending on the species, bamboo can be harvested in one to five
years. Hardwoods like oak take at least forty years to mature before they can be harvested.
Almost 1 million acres of forests are lost each week worldwide to deforestation. Bamboo's
versatility as a substitute for hardwoods offers a chance to drastically reduce that figure and
protect the forests that we have left.

2. Absorbs greenhouse gases. Bamboo absorbs carbon dioxide and releases 35% more
oxygen into the atmosphere than an equivalent stand of hardwood trees.

3. Amazing growth rate. Some species of bamboo grow more than three feet each day! No
plant on the planet features a faster growth rate. When it is harvested, it will grow a new
shoot from its extensive root system with no need for additional planting or cultivation.

4. Very little waste. After harvesting, virtually every part of the plant is used to make a wide
variety of products. From soil-enriching mulch to beautiful furniture to chopsticks, every part
of the plant can be utilized.

5. Versatility. Bamboo can replace the use of wood for nearly every application.
Paper, flooring, furniture, charcoal, building materials, and much more can be made from
bamboo. What's more, bamboo fibers are far stronger than wood fibers and much less likely
to warp from changing atmospheric conditions.

6. No fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides needed.Unlike most cash crops, bamboo requires


no agricultural chemicals to thrive. Unlike cotton, which is one of the most intensely sprayed
crops in the world and rapidly depletes the nutrients in the soil, bamboo sequesters nitrogen
and cultivation does not add chemicals to the environment.
7. Soil protection. Once hardwood forests are clear-cut and the stumps are burned to provide
fertilizer and space for growing crops, erosion inevitably occurs as the topsoil and nutrients
are washed away by rainfall. The eroded soil then clogs rivers and streams and affects the
lives of people and animals living downstream. Bamboo roots remain in place after
harvesting where they prevent erosion and help retain nutrients for the next crop.

8. Economic development. In less developed countries where unemployment leads to civil


unrest, bamboo production and the manufacturing of bamboo products provides job
opportunities in areas that desperately need social and economic stability.

9. Bamboo grows in a variety of conditions. Bamboo can grow in arid regions where
droughts cause other crops to fail and since the roots are left in place after harvesting, it
helps to preserve vital moisture in the soil. From low wetlands to higher elevations in the
mountains, bamboo thrives in a wide range of climates.

10. Optimism and cultural cooperation. In a fractious world where wars are fought over
resources, the increasing popularity of bamboo products provides an opportunity for diverse
cultures to settle their difference through trade and cooperation that benefits everyone.

Can bamboo save the planet? The answer to that question remains to be seen. But this amazing plant and its surging popularity in a huge
variety of products offers mankind a chance to enjoy many of the comforts of modern life without causing irreparable damage to our
environment.

Copyright © 2008 - Bamboo Grove - The information contained in this web site, is provided for informational and educational purposes only.

Bamboo Products

It seems like hundreds of products can be made from bamboo. From household items to the entire house, bamboo products are nothing new
to society. Ancient civilizations were using bamboo for building long before they were using other materials and this trend has faded slightly
over the centuries, but is now making a comeback in parts of the world, becoming a popular resource.

Numerous Products

Bamboo has been made into numerous products over the years. From raw products like bamboo charcoal or edible bamboo shoots, to
finished pieces like furniture and instruments, there are many kinds of bamboo products out there. Whether they are made of raw or treated
bamboo, they all seem to be used with more frequency now that we are re-discovering the versatility of the products. Some bamboo products
include:

 Charcoal
 Alcohol
 Bed sheets
 Blinds
 Paint brushes
 Bicycles
 Cutting boards
 Clothing
 Fabrics
 Flooring
 Garden plants
 Matting
 Instruments
Unusual Products

There are also some very unusual products made from bamboo out in the world. Most people would never think these products could be
made with bamboo, but they hold up just as well as metallic counterparts. These products include:

 Record player needles


 Roofing
 Umbrellas
 Wedding favors
 Sugar (as in sugar cane)
 Deodorizers
 Beer
 Beehives

This is only a tiny representation of what kinds of products can be made with bamboo. There are hundreds of others, all waiting to be
accepted into mainstream society as great products to replace those out there made of less renewable resources.

Bamboo Products links


 Bamboo Products Home  PC Hardware
 Hot Products  Cutting Boards
 Weapons Construction  Paper Products
 Cooking Products  Bamboo Fabrics
 Lucky Bamboo  Turbine Blades
 Bicycles

Copyright © 2008 - Bamboo Grove - The information contained in this web site, is provided for informational and educational purposes only.

Ten Ways Bamboo Can Make You Healthier

From diet pills to air purifiers, people are always looking for a way to make themselves healthier. It's easier to make yourself healthier if you
begin using a product that has been around for millennia, the bamboo plant. This woody grass is not only good outside your body but eating
the shoots are good for inside your body as well and can help you stay healthy, or improve your overall health. Ten ways that bamboo can
make you healthier include:

1. No allergic reaction - Many people are allergic to natural fibers, such as wool. Bamboo has
had the smallest number of allergic reactions with people, barely having any.

2. Wicks away moisture - By wicking away moisture from skin, the wet skin doesn't have time
to build up any bacterial colonies and also keeps from developing the rashes that wet skin
can develop when irritated.

3. Anti-bacterial - Bamboo is aggressively anti-bacterial. It has a natural property called


bamboo kun that kills up to 70% of any bacteria attempting to incubate on the bamboo, be it
in its natural form or fabric.

4. Deodorizing - In today's world, people use more and more chemicals to ensure that they
will smell pleasant to others. A way to overcome this is to take advantage of the deodorizing
properties of bamboo in your clothing.
5. Breathable - Healthy skin can't be confined inside tight clothing all the time. This can lead to
rashes and other skin problems. Bamboo fabric is breathable; it doesn't cling to the skin
even when the wearer is sweating profusely.

6. Sustains temperature - Bamboo fabric is amazing in that it sustains a temperature fairly


well. It keeps people cool when it's warm, and warm when it's colder out, and a normal body
temperature is important for good health.

7. Circulation - According to Salts Organic Clothing, bamboo fabric can actually be good for
your circulation. Bamboo molecules absorb energy from the atmosphere, and then transfer
them into energy for your body, promoting cell activation and good circulation.

8. Blocks ultraviolet rays - The reason many beach cover ups are being made with bamboo
is because bamboo naturally blocks the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. This is
important for healthy skin, especially for children and women who are pregnant.

9. Low in fat - According to the Washington State Extension Service Brochure, bamboo
shoots have been found to be low in fat and calories, which people are always concerned
with when trying to eat healthy.

10. High in nutrients - Bamboo shoots are also good for you because they are an excellent
source of two nutrients that human bodies really need, fiber, and potassium. One serving of
bamboo shoots can provide 10% of the fiber a human needs a day.

All of these reasons are great examples of why bamboo makes a person healthier. But don't just take our word for it, go out and find some
bamboo sheets or a t-shirt, or have a healthy serving of bamboo shoots. You'll be feeling healthy in no time.

Copyright © 2008 - Bamboo Grove - The information contained in this web site, is provided for informational and educational purposes only.

Bamboo in Interior Decorating

As bamboo continues to grow in popularity as a versatile, renewable, and environmentally responsible alternative to hardwoods and
synthetic materials in all sorts of applications, it is also becoming a very hot trend in interior decorating. Homeowners and interior decorators
who are looking for distinctive and durable home furnishings from renewable sources are finding that bamboo is the perfect solution and
manufacturers are responding by introducing new and innovative bamboo products to the market every day.

People that prefer the warm tones of traditional hardwoods in their homes but would rather not add to the growing worldwide problem of
deforestation are finding that they can have it both ways by purchasing tree-saving:

 Bamboo Flooring
 Bamboo Furniture
 Bamboo Wall Coverings
 Bamboo Ceiling Materials
 Bamboo Cabinetry
 Bamboo Decorations
 And Much More
The strength of bamboo compares very favorably to many grades of steel and the hardest of hardwoods to provide environmentally
conscious homeowners a 'green' choice that not only looks great but is also very durable and resistant to wear. Homeowners are also finding
that these bamboo home decorating products will not warp or cup as some hardwoods do from fluctuating air humidity.

Perhaps the most encouraging trend of all is that we are only beginning to discover how versatile bamboo is as a replacement for hardwoods
in all sorts of home building and decorating applications. As we continue to search for ways to lessen our impact on the environment,
bamboo may offer us the best chance to save our remaining forests so that future generations can experience the simple joys of a walk in
the woods.

Interior Decorating
 Interior Decorating Home  Bamboo Floors
 Ceiling Construction  Bamboo Flooring Benefits
 Interior Decorations  Wall Construction
 Furniture

Copyright © 2008 - Bamboo Grove - The information contained in this web site, is provided for informational and educational purposes only.

Bamboo Architecture

Once thought of as the building material of the poor, bamboo is now being used more prominently in all types of architecture. From houses to
business buildings, there are more and more places that are being built with bamboo as a main material or at least an accenting material of
the architecture.

Ancient Bamboo Architecture

In the past, bamboo was not known as a premium building material. In most cultures that used it, from China to India, the poorest people
were the ones who used bamboo as building material for their homes. While it is true that bamboo is an easily renewed, inexpensive
resource, it is being cultivated to become more mainstream in places like Western Europe and all over America.

Renewable Resource

Unlike wood, which can take between twenty and sixty years to mature to the stage where it can be harvested, bamboo takes a very short
amount of time to regenerate in comparison. Most species of bamboo that are used in architecture can be harvested after three to six years
of growth. The quickest growing species of bamboo can grow up to one meter a day, and reach full growth within two months time. This
makes bamboo the most efficient renewable resource, especially in today's world where wood is becoming scarcer.

Structural Characteristics

Bamboo is a unique building material in that it is strong in both rigidity and density. While tensile strength remains the same throughout the
age of the bamboo plant, the plant fiber strength increases as it gets older. There is some controversy in determining proper testing protocols
though and is still under debate. To utilize bamboo to its utmost potential, several conditions are important to consider. One factor is that
bamboo grown on slopes is stronger than bamboo grown in valleys, and that bamboos that grow in poor dry soils are usually more solid than
those grown in rich soils. Bamboo also shrinks diametrically, and that should be taken into consideration.

There are certain limitations of the use of bamboo in construction due to the nature of the plant. The starchy interior is attractive to insects,
and if not treated can rot, and fill with insects. In addition, because bamboo has a slick waterproof coating, it cannot be painted very easily,
but it can be accomplished with the right types of paint. Bamboo architecture is growing in popularity. It has gone from the building material of
the poor to the choice of architects and artists with rapid ambition. While the world isn't yet ready for whole cities made out of bamboo, it is
certainly ready for homes made of it, and it seems to be coming in the near future.

Architectural Bamboo
 Architectural Bamboo Home  Bamboo Timber
 Building Materials  Famous Architects
 House Construction
Copyright © 2008 - Bamboo Grove - The information contained in this web site, is provided for informational and educational purposes only.

Bamboo Fabric

One of the most innovative parts of the bamboo industry has got to be the bamboo fabric that is being produced. Anti-bacterial, wicking, and
biodegradable, bamboo fibers are becoming more and more popular when it comes to making fabric. From bedding to clothing, industries are
making more products with bamboo fabric, extolling the virtues of using the alternative source to cotton.

Aesthetic Qualities

The most noticeable qualities of bamboo fabric are the aesthetic qualities that are gathered from the first touch or sight of bamboo. These
qualities include:

 Texture - Bamboo fabric feels softer than the most refined cotton.
 Color - Bamboo fabric tests as well as every other material for color fastness when washing and wear over time.
 Appearance - The fabrics made of bamboo appear to look like other materials which are more expensive, such as silk.

Anti-bacterial

One of the many reasons that bamboo fabric is becoming more popular is because of the anti-bacterial properties that it has. When growing,
bamboo requires very little to no pesticides, an attribute which scientists have discovered is from an anti-bacterial bio-agent called bamboo
kun. Bamboo kun is bound closely in the bamboo cells, thus why it lasts so long in bamboo fabric. It makes the fabric resistant to bacteria,
and scientists have done tests to show that a large portion of bacteria that naturally incubates on bamboo fabric doesn't survive because of
the bamboo kun property.

This makes products made from bamboo fabric, such as bed sheets and bath towels, good for people with allergies. With the fabric unable to
host the bacteria and allergens that cause people with allergies to react, these people are able to find a healthy alternative to other fabrics.

Breathable and Absorbent

Another attractive property of bamboo fabric is how breathable and absorbent it is. Many people who have worn clothing made of this fabric
have stated how they are kept cooler, because the breathable fabric doesn't cling to skin. The absorbent fabric also wicks away moisture,
keeping the skin cool and dry. These insulating characteristics also make bamboo fabric warm in colder months. It is also because bamboo
fabric is breathable that it is good at remaining odorless, even when attacked by odor-causing bacteria.

Economical and Ecological

Bamboo fabric is one of the most economical and ecological products in the world today. Because of how it grows, there is only a fraction of
the time and resources spent on producing bamboo for fabric as there is for cotton. Bamboo does not require the large amounts of water and
pesticides that cotton does to be produced, nor does it require the attentive care of cotton.

Bamboo fabric is also quite ecologically friendly. 100% biodegradable, the fibers used to make bamboo fabric don't need to be sprayed with
chemical additives of any sort. There is also less water wasted for irrigation for bamboo, and there is very little surface runoff from chemicals
that could be sprayed on the plants to keep them healthy, as these chemicals aren't needed. Economical, ecological, aesthetically pleasing,
comfortable, and long-lasting, bamboo fabric is obviously going to be the way of the future. With soft fabric that is easy to produce, and has
health benefits like being anti-bacterial as well as insulating, bamboo fabric will become the favorite textile of many in years to come.

Bamboo Fabric Products and Uses


 Bamboo Fabric Home  Bamboo Clothes
 Ecological Value  Athletic Socks
 Economic Value  Bamboo Bras

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5 Reasons Not to Plant Bamboo in Your Yard


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 By: Selections from Networx


 August 20, 2011
 About Networx
 Follow Networx at @yournetworx
By Steve Graham, Networx

Bamboo is a trendy star of the eco-friendly construction movement, with a wide variety of flooring,
furniture and other items being manufactured with the strong, fast-growing grass. However, bamboo
production should be left to commercial growers. Bamboo’s hardiness and rapid growth make it a
problematic plant for most yards. Here are the top five reasons not to plant bamboo in your
garden.
1. Bamboo can spread into neighboring yards.

Many homeowners plant bamboo to create a fast-growing privacy screen around their home. Ted Jordan
Meredith, author of Bamboo for Gardens, notes that some bamboo species can grow more than three
feet per day. Bamboo can spread as quickly as it grows, and it doesn’t respect fences or property lines.

Bamboo grows particularly vigorously when adjacent to irrigated lawns and gardens or in low-lying areas
that collect water. Instead of just blocking the view of nosy neighbors, you could be turning your property
line into a war zone by planting bamboo.
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Some bamboo species may even be categorized as noxious weeds, meaning a neighbor could legally
force you to remove your bamboo. You could also be liable for the cost of any damage to the neighbors’
property caused by your bamboo, and for the cost of removal from their property.

2. Bamboo can be an invasive threat to biodiversity.

Bamboo that spreads and escapes your yard can also cause ecological problems. Many spreading
bamboo species are categorized as invasive exotic plants that crowd outnative plants and threaten
biodiversity.

The best ways to contain spreading bamboo can be expensive and complicated, and may not be worth
pursuing for many homeowners. Moreover, they are not foolproof. Experts at the University of Georgia
Cooperative Extension office recommend burying thick 60-mil polypropylene or fiberglass about three feet
deep, and leaving another two inches of material above the soil to inhibit surface spreading. Morgan Judy
of Clemson University Cooperative Extension suggests creating a solid barrier made of concrete, metal or
pressure-treated wood at least 18 inches deep around the bamboo.

Any of these barriers should stop shallow bamboo rhizomes from spreading, but Judy still recommends
closely monitoring the area for escaping shoots, particularly during the early summer peak growing
season.

3. Getting rid of bamboo can take years.

Bamboo is a long-term relationship that should not be entered lightly. It may take years and vigorous
effort to remove unwanted bamboo. The first step in removing bamboo is to remove all the root mass and
rhizomes. This is easier said than done, and many homeowners with bamboo-loving neighbors complain
they can’t get rid of the spreading grass. No matter how much they dig, the shoots keep coming back.

Judy suggests frequent mowing can deplete and starve the bamboo, but it take at least two years of
regular mowing to see any results.

4. Getting rid of bamboo may require herbicides.

Moreover, Judy notes that chemical herbicides are often necessary for controlling bamboo. This can
be a problem for those trying to maintain organic gardens and avoid herbicide use.

She recommends Roundup Original, Quick Kill Grass and Weed Killer and other herbicides containing
glyphosate. This broad-spectrum herbicide has minimal residual soil activity and typically only kills the
plants that are directly sprayed. Mow or chop the bamboo and let it regrow until new leaves expand. Then
spray the herbicide on the leaves.

Again, this could take years. One application will not solve your bamboo problem. Also, Judy warns that
specialized glyphosate herbicides should be used near creeks, ponds and other surface water. Eraser
AQ, Pondmaster and other products are approved for use near water.

5. The right bamboo can be hard to find.

Bamboo’s defenders will argue that not all of the more than 1,000 bamboo species are equally invasive.
They recommend clumping bamboo species rather than spreading types. The problem is that even
clumping species spread, albeit not as vigorously. It also can be hard to differentiate between the types,
and some are mislabeled. Moreover, other similar invasive species may be confused with bamboo. For
example, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension officials warn against transplanting or encouraging
the giant reed (Arundo donax), a bamboo look-alike that has invaded parts of their state.

Bamboo may seem like an attractive garden option, but it poses serious problems. Stick to a lucky
bamboo in a small indoor pot, or avoid growing bamboo altogether. Moreover, do your homework before
buying bamboo flooring and other products. It may not be as eco-friendly or durable as you think.

Beautiful Bamboo Bounty

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 By: Melissa Breyer


 April 12, 2008
 About Melissa
What was used for the filament in Thomas Edison’s first light bulb? It is the same material used to build
homes for 1 billion people across the world and is also used for everything from fishing traps to fences,
papermaking to food. Here’s a hint: It is the supple darling of eco-friendly decor. If you guessed
bamboo—bingo! Read on for more about this engrossing grass and see some of our favorite bamboo
gifts including towels, sheets, kitchenware and even a bicycle.

The Wonders of Bamboo


Bamboo is a member of the grass family and is so extensively used across the world that future historians
might just designate this era as the Bamboo Age. It is used for beds, mats, flooring, fences, fishing traps,
baskets, eating utensils, food containers and food itself (shoots are eaten fresh, dried, pickled and
fermented). Bamboo is used for musical instruments, papermaking, furniture making, and as a
construction material. What a grass!

Because of bamboo’s incredible, stronger-than-steel tensile strength, it is even used to make simple
pontoon bridges and higher tech suspension bridges—bamboo is the material of choice for scaffolding
construction throughout Asia, even for scaffolding employed in the construction of skyscrapers in Hong
Kong and Tokyo.

A Really Green Grass


Bamboo is a high-yield renewable natural resource. It is the fastest growing woody plant on the planet—
some species grow as much as one meter per day. They say you can watch it grow (if one were so
inclined). Cutting bamboo does not result in the death of the plant; its extensive root system remains
intact, simply sending up new shoots to replace the old ones. And consider this, a 60-foot timber tree
takes 60 years to replenish, a 60-foot bamboo takes only 60 days.

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However…
Since bamboo doesn’t fall under the guidelines of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), there is no
guarantee that planting or working conditions are adequate nor is there any regulation of biocide use. The
good news is that there is growing interest in providing certification, and until then there are numerous
vendors who make a concerted effort to source bamboo from plantations that practice healthy planting
and harvest procedures—it is important to check with the supplier to see if their bamboo comes from well-
managed plantations.

Bamboo Towels
Bamboo towels are nothing short of a miracle against the skin—they are like thick, slinky velvet and a
delight to wrap yourself in post-bath…or anytime, really. And (although we could have told you this)
according to Consumer Reports tests, cotton-bamboo blend towels are about 25 percent softer after
laundering, on average, than their all-cotton counterparts. Cellulose from bamboo is converted into rayon
fibers, and it’s that resulting fiber that makes for these sexy towels. Shopping tips: Bamboo towels are
more expensive than their cotton cousins; thicker bamboo towels are generally more absorbent than the
thinner ones.

Land’s End Cotton/Bamboo Bath Towels

Mad Mod’s Bamboo Comfort 100 percent Bamboo Bath Set

CB2 65 percent bamboo/34 percent cotton Bamboo Towels


Bamboo Sheets
Read about bamboo sheets including links to where to buy them.
Bamboo Bowls
Wound bamboo is a very old craft in which thin, compressed bamboo strips are soaked in water and then
coiled outward from the center to create a spiral resulting in a plate or bowl.

Lovely lacquerware bowls are hand-coiled, shaped and finished with 18 layers of natural lacquer:
Durable and waterproof, food-safe finish. Suitable for both hot and cold foods.
You can’t do better than this set of four jungle green bamboo bowls from The Rain Forest Site
store, which will preserve 2290 square feet of land for each set of four Jungle Bamboo Bowls purchased.

Bamboo Bicycles
Wow. This company is trading in the high-tech carbon for bamboo with the frames of these award-
winning bamboo bikes. The price tag makes them out of reach for the casual biker, but they are so
greatly green and worth a little look-see!

By Melissa Breyer, Producer, Care2 Green Living

10 Materials That Could Replace Wood One Day

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 June 28, 2011
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By Steve Graham, Hometalk

Whether framing a new addition, building a deck or making a piece of furniture, wood is often the go-to
material. Lumber, plywood and other products made with sustainably harvested wood are widely
available and relatively inexpensive. However, there are environmental costs and structural drawbacks to
many traditional wood products. Plenty of creative alternatives to wood are available. Here is a
sampling of wood alternatives, most with some environmental advantages, for home construction
and remodelingprojects.
1. Hemp

Hemp is a fast-growing and sustainable crop that generates more construction-grade fiber per acre than
most trees and other crops. It can be used in place of lumber and a wide range of other materials. For
example, Washington State University researchers found hemp-based medium density fibreboard to be
twice as strong as wood.

2. Bamboo

Bamboo is often considered a wood, but this grass is really a wood alternative. It has been called the
world’s most useful plant (though hemp advocates might argue otherwise). Bamboo is fast-growing but at
least as strong as some slow-growth woods. It is a very trendy (and somewhat controversial) flooring
option. It is also used in furniture and a wide variety of other construction materials.

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3. Wood composites

As the name suggests, composite materials combine wood with recycled plastics or other components.
As compared to lumber, composites are a more sustainable way to use trees. For example, composite
deck boards can be made with scrap wood fiber leftover from cutting solid hardwood deck
boards. Composite decks and other products also have other advantages over hardwood. They
require virtually no finishing, staining or maintenance, and are very durable.

4. Plastic wood

Another growing segment of the deck market is basically the plastic — recycled or not — of composites
without any wood fibers. Like composite decking, plastic wood requires no maintenance. Of course, it’s
hard to make plastic look exactly like wood, so it’s not a perfect aesthetic substitute. However, in many
other ways, composites and plastic wood are good hardwood alternatives.

5. Soy

No, you can’t build walls out of tofu, but soy is another immensely useful plant that is used
for insulation, carpet backing, paint strippers and more. While soy fibers may not be a substitute for
wood, soy can make traditional wood products safer. Soy-based chemicals can replace the potentially
dangerous formaldehyde, glues and other solvents.

6. Cork

Cork is made with bark rather than the core of a tree. That means it re-grows faster and is more
sustainable in some ways than many traditional wood products. It is a popular flooring material, and is
growing into other areas of construction and remodeling.

7. Cardboard
Cardboard construction isn’t just for kids. A couple of plywood substitutes on the market are made
primarily with recycled cardboard.

8. Newspaper

Similarly, recycled newspaper is being used to create fiberboard products for roof decking and much
more. For example, Homasote is a New Jersey company that claims to recycle up to 250 tons of
newspaper each day into construction materials.

9. Nutshells

Maderon is a recyclable Spanish furniture-building material made primarily of crushedalmond, hazelnut


and walnut shells. The shells are ground into a paste, then mixed with resin and molded into chairs and
other furniture.

10. Straw

Look closely at plywood. The fibers look a lot like straw, so it’s no stretch to imagine particleboard from a
variety of straw varieties, including wheat, oat and flax straw. All these are available and useful
alternatives to traditional pressed wood products