High quality bamboo stems depend on several things, including:
- Bamboo species.
- The age of bamboo stems.
- Harvest time.
- Care and storage.
1. Bamboo Species
Some bamboo species are naturally stronger and more resistant to borers than other types of bamboo. In Indonesia, the types of bamboo commonly planted and utilized include: betung bamboo / petung, rope / apus bamboo, bamboo gombong, bamboo items, bamboo ampel, thorn bamboo, pocket bamboo, spotted bamboo, yellow bamboo, and many more again.
2. Age of Bamboo Rods
Bamboo should be harvested after 3 years old. For some types of bamboo, it must even be harvested at the age of 4, 5 or 6 years. The type of bamboo strap / apus is best harvested after 3 years, petung bamboo type after 4 or 5 years.
If the bamboo stems are still 1-2 years old, the content of sugar powder / starch powder is large so that the pest or powder lice (Dinoderus sp.) Likes it very much. After 3 years, the powder will decrease and silica will become dominant. Silica is a mineral that makes bamboo sticks harder and less attractive to pests. Bamboo that is harvested at less than 3 years old will be easily wrinkled and broken, and has more powdery bugs and weevils. Bamboo harvested at the age of 3 years or more will be stronger and resistant to pests.
3. Harvest Time
A good harvest time is during the dry season. Choose a time when new shoots in the clump are at their maximum height and begin to develop their leaves at the top. At times like this the bamboo culms mature in the strongest conditions.
There is a common custom in Asia, which is harvesting bamboo during the full moon. This aims to help prevent bamboo borers and also bamboo from reducing their moisture content when the full moon. This habit will produce good quality bamboo. Avoid harvesting during the shoot season because bamboo is 'breastfeeding' its children at this time. Currently the water and sugar content in bamboo is high. In addition, cutting bamboo will damage these shoots.
4. Care and Storage
Bamboo requires a drying time of 4-8 weeks before it is ready to use. If it is stored vertically, the drying time is around 4 weeks, while if it is stored horizontally, the drying time is around 8 weeks. Bamboo must be cared for and stored in a shady place, not touching the ground and not getting rained on.
Borer, fungus, and termites are big problems faced by bamboo. You must preserve bamboo to deal with these pests. It is important to know how the borers work. Borer is a small beetle that places its eggs on the part of bamboo whose skin is damaged. This can be cut ends, where the branch is removed, and where the bamboo skin has been scratched. The beetle's eggs will hatch at various times and then they will eat the sugar powder / starch powder found in bamboo. Therefore, borers can be prevented with good management and not damage bamboo stems.
The first step in preserving bamboo is to reduce sugar levels in bamboo. That is why you should harvest bamboo only in the dry season and only when bamboo is 3 years or older. The lowest amount of sugar content in bamboo in the dry season and in old stems.
The next step is to reduce the sugar content even further.
This can be done in various ways, including :
• Drying in clumps. We can cut the stems and leave them in the clump for 4-6 weeks until the leaves fall out. The stem must be placed on the rock so it does not stick or touch the ground. The leaves will use up a lot of sugar found in the stems and the stems will dry out slowly without giving a place where the borer can place the eggs.
• Preservation with Water. Stems can be immersed in running water for 2-3 weeks. Water will eliminate almost all sugar content. After soaking, bamboo stems should be dried gently in the shade. Don't hang it out in the sun because the bamboo stems can break or crack.
• Preservation with Seawater. This preservation is by soaking bamboo in sea water. Tie the bamboo firmly to the ballast so that it does not float or drift away. Do not allow the bamboo to be exposed and exposed to the sun when the water recedes to protect it from cracks.
Another way, maybe this is an easier method, namely by digging a ditch in a coastal area. This trench will naturally be filled with sea water if you dig it deep below sea level.
For both methods, leave the bamboo soaked for 2 weeks. After that, lift it and dry it in the shade.
• Chemical Treatment.
There is a type of plant commonly called 'tuba' which can be used to preserve bamboo. Tubes are poisonous to humans and animals so they must be used with care. To use the tuba, make a solution of 1 tuba bucket mixed with 200 liters of water. You can use a used drum to do this. Short pieces of bamboo can be preserved in the drum, as well as a bamboo stick that has just been cut can be put in the drum along with the leaves that are still attached to the stem. Tubal fluid in the drum will be absorbed through the stem to the leaves. Add more tubal fluid to the drum as needed, and leave it for a week. Then discard the leaves, remove the stem from the drum and dry it in the shade and not stick to the ground. Or you can also use tanks or tanks made specifically to preserve bamboo. This tub can be made on or in the ground but must have a lid to prevent rain water from entering and preventing children or animals from entering it. Cut the bamboo lengthwise and clean the books from the branches. Put it in a tub of tubal solution for 4-6 weeks. After that, lift the bamboo and dry it in the shade until it is ready to use. If you use the treatment by submerging it in water first, then the preservation treatment with the fallopian will only need time for 2 weeks.
• Oils and Varnishes.
Finished bamboo furniture or handicrafts can be oiled or varnished to prevent mold, extend the life of the product, and increase the value of the product.
• Pickling with Borak.
Bamboo can also be preserved by using borax, a type of chemical that can kill borer pests and their eggs. Borax is best used to preserve bamboo in large quantities quickly and is usually for export purposes. Almost all countries do not want to import bamboo that is not preserved with borax or other chemicals first. The only way to preserve it is to soak the bamboo stems in a water solution that has been given borax for 2 weeks, then dry it in the shade and not stick to the ground.