Bamboo Preservation

Bamboo Preservation and Treatment

Unfortunately, most bamboo species have very low resistance to biological degrading organisms and need specialized bamboo preservation techniques. A wide range of treatment methods are known to prevent such degradation, and to improve bamboo durability.

1. Non-Chemical, Traditional Bamboo Treatment Methods:

These are ancient methods which have been practiced in areas where bamboo commonly grows. They are simple and cost-effective without the use of chemicals or supporting equipment. However, these methods are in general not appropriate for long-term protection of bamboo.

2. Chemical Bamboo Treatment Methods:

Chemical preservatives are used to protect bamboo products from degradation. These are well established methods providing good protection even in adverse conditions.

The selection of the appropriate treatment method depends on various factors:

  1. State of bamboo; green or dry.
  2. Form of the bamboo: round bamboo or splits.
  3. End applications; in ground contact, exposed to atmosphere, undercover, structural/non-structural.
  4. Scale; quantity to be treated and available time.
  5. Potential causes of decay; biotic (fungus/insects) and abiotic (cracks/weathering).

Detailed Articles about Bamboo Preservation


Michael wrote:

Fire Resistant Protection for Structural Bamboo

I have a question for my research, what would be the best preservation technique to use on structural bamboo? It needs to be fire resistive too. Will a boric acid-borax solution suffice? Or would an additional clear external intumescent coating help? What do you guys think? Thanks in advance. I appreciate the information you guys put here Guadua Bamboo.



Stephane from Guadua Bamboo replied:

Yes boron is fire retardant but for even more protection you could use the following formula: boric acid / copper sulphate / zinc chloride / sodium dichromate : ratio 3:1:5:6 Recommended concentration is 25% for indoor and outdoor use.

Melvin wrote:

Curing Bamboo Posts for Vineyards

I have read your article about poles and the durability of bamboo but do you think it would be feasible to treat bamboo for use as posts in vineyards? I live in the Margaret river wine growing region of western Australia where thousands of CCA treated pine posts are used.



Stephane from Guadua Bamboo replied:

If treated with a fixating chemical mix such as CCB, yes. In Costa Rica banana plantations have traditionally been growing bamboo as well, in order to use the bamboo poles as plants support sticks for the banana plants. These bamboo props aren't treated and are replaced every 2 years. Untreated bamboo support sticks are also used in various vegetable crops.

Is there a minimum life span required for vineyard posts? If not, untreated poles might be the cheapest solution, especially if you grow them yourself.

Armando wrote:

Treatment for Bamboo Poles Buried in Soil

I have a question regarding bamboo treatment. I want to use bamboo poles as structural elements in my ranch but we have water sprinklers to keep certain crops fresh all year. How can we treat the poles in order to keep it in use at least 6 years buried in soil inside the wet ground? Poles will be buried 3 ft in the ground.

Would the bamboo lose strength with time? How do I preserve and extend the lifespan of the bamboo? What would be the lifespan of the bamboo after the preservative treatment? I was thinking to use busan 1009, do you recommend it? Thanks for your comments.



Stephane from Guadua Bamboo replied:

Generally speaking it is not recommended to use bamboo buried in soil for structural purposes. You could use chemicals to extend the lifespan for bamboo buried in soil (see this page for more info), but just as most timber, bamboo will eventually deteriorate even if chemically treated.

I have no experience with busan 1009 but what we use to protect bamboo poles in ground contact is tar. Tar or creosote isn't exactly an eco-friendly product but it is cheap and does provide excellent protection. I recently dug out some bamboo fence posts treated with tar and they were still in tact after 10 years.

The best way though is to chemically preserve the bamboo poles and to design a structure where the bamboo poles don't touch the soil directly. A concrete foot or large rock for example would work great.


Armando replied:

Thanks Stephane. There is no way to make concrete foundations. We are talking about agro-industry. So, we have a lot of hectares where we want to use bamboo poles. TAR is in spanish = Chapopote?? A black oil??


Stephane from Guadua Bamboo replied:

Tar in spanish is "Alquitrán". To dissolve the solid tar you can mix it with gasoline.