Creating Curved Bamboo Stakes to Support Garden Netting

We have about 9 or 10 different varieties of bamboo growing on our property. My husband thinks bamboo is just about the greatest thing since sliced bread and carefully picked out each variety we have. Although I was skeptical at first (and worried that it would take over our entire yard and house!), I've come around to it and agree wholeheartedly to how great it is. There are just tons and tons of uses for bamboo in a garden!

Last week, we trimmed some of the smaller canes from one of the more robust (that's the nice way to put it!) bamboo varieties we have. It was growing into a garden path and needed to be reigned in a bit. So, we cut off (at ground level or slightly below ground level if at all possible) the smaller bamboo canes that were growing into the path.

Making Garden Stakes Out of Freshly Cut Bamboo

We decided they would make excellent stakes to support the netting on our strawberries, so I carted them off to the garden and here's how I made curved garden stakes out of them.

First, of course, you have to cut down the bamboo. Here's what the pile of bamboo cuttings looked like when I started:

Bamboo Cuttings

As you can see, the bamboo is pretty small in diameter (these are young shoots) and each bamboo cane was about 7 or 8 feet tall with lots of branches and leaves.

Using pruning shears, I cut off the branches from each and every one of the bamboo canes.

Cutting the branches off bamboo with pruning shears

Then, after a few blisters and a very sore hand, I ended up with a pile of bamboo poles.

Bamboo Poles

Since they were very fresh (I started making the stakes within half an hour or so of cutting the bamboo from the ground), the stakes were green and rather pliable.

Bamboo Stakes

If I had wanted to use them as straight stakes (not curved), I would have been done at this point and could have just set them aside to dry and harden. The bamboo will dry (or season) into very hard stakes, so you need to put them into the configuration you want to use them in as soon as possible.

Since I want them to be curved to support my garden netting over a planting bed, I needed them to be curved as they dry and harden. So, I first cut them all to the same length. Then, using a strawberry bed as a guide, I placed the bamboo stakes deep into the ground on one side of the bed.

Creating Curved Bamboo Stakes

Since I'll only be leaving these here until they dry (probably a week or 2), I placed them very close together. This was for convenience only and, once the bamboo has dried and hardened, they will be spread out and used elsewhere.

Then I slowly bent them over the bed and pushed them firmly into the ground on the other side of the strawberry bed. If you are careful about it, you'll be able to flex and bend the bamboo without breaking it. And it's important that you get them deep into the ground on both sides ... if they slip out, they will come flying full force back at you. Bamboo is very strong and you could get really hurt if it comes out and hits you.

Bamboo Stakes

Curved Bamboo Poles in the Garden

The bamboo stakes should dry and harden into a curved shape within a week or 2 and we'll be able to use them to support garden netting throughout the summer. And, if brought into a garage or shed and protected from the elements in the winter, they should last and be usable for many, many years. Bamboo really is great stuff!

Apr 30 2014
Posted in: Garden Tools

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