Sorry, Brahs and Brah(ettes)? Sisbrah? What is the preferred nomenclature for the female version of “Brah”? Yes, I am out of my element here. I also think that Jeffrey Lebowski would really think that growing your own house would be pretty far out. Fortunately, I am blessed with my version own version of “The Dude”–as my younger brother prefers to spend most of his time in a bathrobe, hates the Eagles, and thinks that White Russians are a breakfast food.
As a recovering construction professional–I am pretty skeptical about actually growing your own sustainable forest of bamboo. When I think of bamboo I think of those silly circular chair things that you can not: 1. Get into 2. Get out of or 3. See anything when you’re in it that they sell at places like Pier 1 for about a million dollars. Doing some of my exhaustiveing research on the topic, I’m coming around. Part of what we write about here at Home Fixated is responsibility in home improvement, sustainable resources, not off-gassing your kids and pets, and just overall being cool to the Planet. This has led me to look into how viable growing your own bamboo could be for say…a small renovation project, or just having the ability to have “scrap” wood available.
Bamboo is considered a perennial evergreen–in the true grass family Poaceae. I understood about three words in that last sentence, and just wanted to use the phrase “true grass” within this article. What is commonly cited as one of the sustaining qualities–is that it is the fastest growing tree in the universe. It can grow up to 24 inches in a day in certain conditions. The geography of bamboo is pretty wide-spread as well. It pretty much can grow anywhere–with results being better depending on the species.
Because of the fast growing action of bamboo–mature trees can be accomplished in one growing season, and harvest can occur within 3-5 years. It can also be “trained” to grow in squares (think: posts), arches, and other decorative shapes/purposes.
Problems with bamboo come when it is time to harvest and preserve the wood. The sugar and starches that helps the plant achieve Performance Enhancing Levels of growth, also attract fungus and insects. A process involving “smoking” the bamboo by burning the harvested waste coats the bamboo in pyrolytic acids that can preserve it for approximately 50 years. I swear I’m not making this up.
Part of the problem I encountered when checking into bamboo is its growth rate. There are different types of bamboo that are used for things like–a privacy fence, and noise reduction in landscaping. Apparently the bamboo can go wild on you–and then you’re stuck with a lot of it. It would be awesome if you had a giant panda, but I am pretty sure authorities frown on such eco-tourism. bear-napping. The difference comes with “running” versus “clumping” bamboo. The running type does just that. The clumping will not spread as fast, allowing a more manageable spread.
In the end–I don’t think I will be building a new house out of bamboo. But, I certainly think that applied in certain situations that it can, and should be a resource that is used to house people. At the very least, you could make some really awesome tiki torches–which would be perfect for lighting up the bamboo forest in the yard while feeding your pandas in your bathrobe.