Bamboos are remarkably greedy feeders. We found this advice for feeding groves of Phyllostachys bambusoidesin Ernest’s Satow’s The Cultivation of Bamboos in Japan, published in 1899: “The dead bodies of dogs, sheep, cats, rats and other animals, the skins, bones and hoofs of cattle and horses, are the best for this purpose. Decayed rice and wheat plants, rice and barley bran, and other vegetable matter, ashes, the contents of the dust-bin, rotten compost, stable litter, the dung and urine of men and horses, and lime where the soil is not sandy, may all be used.”
However, thank goodness, we have discovered that a simple mulch of well-rotted manure in the autumn and a top-dressing of general fertiliser in spring (just before the growing season starts) keeps our bamboos in good health. We also recommend leaving the fallen leaves on the ground under the clump: these rot down to provide important nutrients including silica, the substance that gives bamboo canes their exceptional resilience.