Bamboo stakes suck, and they’re probably poisoning you too!!
Besides being kind of straight (more on that later), rigid, and of a fixed length, bamboo stakes can be carrying something nasty from one grow to the next. Bamboo is an outdated solution that needs to find its way out of your garden! The fact of the matter is that bamboo stakes are moldy. Read on so I can tell you why and how to prevent it!
That’s right, the all-natural plant support that everyone has used in the garden is probably poisoning your soil, your plants, and maybe even you! The worst part is, you’ve probably never even thought about it before!
Let’s think about it for a second. Bamboo is wood, porous in nature and can absorb moisture. It’s not sounding good for bamboo already. Bamboo stakes are also hollow, so every time you shove one into your soil, wet dirt is going up inside of the stake and staying there. You’re also watering that pot many more times throughout the lifecycle of your plants causing your bamboo to absorb more moisture each and every time!
Fast forward to harvest time – you pull those stakes out and what do you do with them? Toss them in the corner of your room for a couple of days until your all done your harvest? Likely. Maybe stuff them in a bucket and forget about them? Probably. You might dunk them in a cleaning solution like bleach for a few seconds, then maybe some clean water and then you forget about them until you need them again. More like it from my experience.
Maybe you do all of that, but let me ask – Do you ever clean the inside, where all that dirt is stuck? Do you dip a pipe cleaner in bleach, run it up inside that stake and thread it all the way up through? Of course, right? Then you soak the whole stake in bleach for 24 hours to ensure the bleach penetrates throughout the porous material? 100% of the time, of course!
Let’s take it a step further. Maybe you are extremely diligent about cleaning your entire grow room top to bottom, even your bamboo stakes. Maybe you’ve gotten all the nasty stuff from inside, this time. If this is you, kudos my friend – you have time and dedication that I, and most reading this, don’t have! So what if you’re not that diligent and decide to reuse your dirty, old bamboo stakes repeating the same process, pushing more dirt further up inside and perpetuating the problem even deeper inside of the stake.
I think you can see what I’m getting at here. Dirt + moisture + wood usually equals mold, especially when in a confined space with no air flow (such as the inside of a bamboo stake). It’s honestly the perfect spot for mold to form, and fester, and destroy the stake from the inside out. How long have you been using the same bamboo stakes? A couple of grows? A couple of years? Gross!
Let’s think about this differently for a second. Have you ever used a bamboo stake for so long that it just breaks when you try to put it into the soil? It just so happens to break at roughly the same level as the top of your soil usually is? That’s not a coincidence people! This is exactly what tipped me off to my shortcomings in cleanliness a few years back. When this happened, I pulled the stake up and was appalled at what I saw. The end of the stake was slightly split and I was able to easily pull it apart and was disgusted by the black mold that I found on the inside of that bamboo stake. Black and green had transformed the inside of that stake much further past where the break occurred, progressing almost a foot beyond where the dirt had stopped.
I started to take a look at my other stakes, investigating them all for signs of mold. I soon found many that were black on the ends and several that had even black dots starting to appear on the outside, presumably from the mold working its way through from the center of the stake. The worst offenders were easy to break with my hands and definitely were riddled with mold.
Let’s face it – I think it’s quite clear that we’ve all probably transferred some mold from one grow to the next because how in the world can you ensure that you get all the junk out from the inside of every stake – EVER? Since we can all agree on the fact that if we reuse bamboo stakes that we are transferring mold from grow to grow, I’m really gonna gross you out now.
Is there a “bottom” of a bamboo stake? Do you ALWAYS put the end with the dirt in it back into the dirt? I would bet you don’t even pay attention to that…because who the hell does? Certainly not me!
Do you ALWAYS put the end with the dirt in it back into the dirt?
Let that marinate for a second. Mold in your bamboo stake gets into your soil, maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. There are all sorts of natural bacteria that are good for your plants and that naturally occur in the soil so maybe they’ll get along! However, I’m 1000% positive that I do not want that mold infested end of the stake holding up my heavy buds as the bloom, grow and swell. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy consuming clean, pesticide-free & mold-free medicine to help make me feel better.
Ok, ok, so you knew this already and that’s why you replace your bamboo stakes every grow. You are wise beyond your years. But then I need to ask, how many stakes are you using in each plant? Roughly a package of stakes, 24 of them? If you care about your yields I would bet it’s at least a package of stakes to hold up those heavy buds. Currently, a bundle of (25) 4-foot bamboo stakes are selling on Amazon for $10.85 so let’s call that $11 per plant. Since we’re replacing those stakes each harvest and we already know you are a serious grower, you must be getting about 5 harvests per year! That’s $55 for bamboo stakes every year, and we aren’t even adding in the soft wire ties that go hand in hand with bamboo stakes and need to be replaced regularly as well.
Now I started off this article with “Bamboo stakes suck! And they’re probably poisoning you too!” but we’ve only really talked about how they might be poisoning you. I’m sure even if you’ve never grown a single plant in your life, you can imagine why this antiquated solution can be limiting in the garden. They are straight (for the most part, more on that in a minute) rigid and inflexible, and of an absolute and fixed length. While these all could be considered benefits in some gardens, the avid indoor cannabis gardener needs flexibility and the ability to customize their solution by adding to it or taking away from it as they desire.
The downsides of bamboo stakes start with the frustration of trying to place the stakes in the soil at that exact right angle to support your heavy flower in that perfect spot. Just like your plants, bamboo was grown by mother nature and doesn’t always grow straight and true. These little bends in the stake at the knots can certainly be a pain when staking up your plants or an entire room. Couple that with their rigidity and lack of flexibility, it certainly makes them more difficult to work with than desired.
The fixed length of bamboo stakes is something that can be worked around if you’re willing to have lots of stakes around your garden. If you use them for training your young plants, you’ll need shorter stakes than you would use for supporting your plant. This is due to the fact that you should keep your lights close to the plant to prevent stretching and ensure a healthy plant. But when your plant stretches past those initial stakes you’ll have to add more to the soil at different angles, and then eventually more when they stretch during the first few weeks of flower and start to get heavy. You can see how this will quickly start to fill up the soil with all sorts of stakes, and as we’ve already learned, that’s more potential mold problems.
The fixed length is more of a nuisance if you happen to grow taller plants or end up with a few ladies that have stretched a bit too much during their transition from the vegetative stage into flower. You simply can’t add onto the existing stakes that you have – I guess you could use good ol’ duct tape to get the job done but that’s certainly not making things easier or saving you time. Maybe you’d have to go to the store and buy more stakes – 6-foot stakes are almost $25 for 24 of them! Maybe you’ll just let your heavy top flowers get floppy and sacrifice final yield. Maybe you love using plant yo-yos! Or you have a creative DIY solution on how to make bamboo stakes grow taller and shrink while they are in your plant pot – if so, I would love to hear it!
When it comes down to it, bamboo stakes are good to solve a very short list of problems and for a very short period of time –
before I would start to be concerned about the integrity and quality of the product. Also, from experience, they just are not easy to work with and are very limiting on how effective they can be to increase your yield and make an impact in your garden. When it boils down to it, bamboo stakes suck and they are probably poisoning you too!
If you’re looking for a long-lasting, sustainable solution and interested in learning about how to replace the mold-ridden, cheap rigid sticks that you’ve been using in your garden forever we’d be thrilled if you chose to checkout out our product Atlas Plant Trainer.
Our founder does a webinar on Tuesdays at 3 pm EST to explain all about how APT can be a difference maker in your garden. Sign up at https://atlasplanttrainer.com/webinars.