Repair a Rotted Built-In Bamboo Container Trellis

After over four years, the built-in bamboo trellis in a container that I built has shown signs of deterioration and damage. I wasn't surprised at which part of the bamboo trellis where the damage had occured. This is the part which gets wet and stays wet often - that part of the trellis that is staked in the pot's soil.

Apparently, the extra measures I did to protect the ends of the bamboo rods were not enough to withstand the waterlogged conditions for over four years. I suppose winds from annual typhoons further weakened the trellis at the base. In fact, it was a recent typhoon that broke and completely knocked down the trellis.

Here is the bamboo trellis that was knocked down by the typhoon. The entire structure (wires and bamboo) is still intact. Only the bamboo base of the rods were broken.


Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the bamboo rods have rotted, thereby severely weakened.




Here's the detailed view of one of the bamboo rods. Notice how the bamboo material has rotted right at the breaking point.


Fortunately, the planted vine, a Porana volubilis was resilient and sturdy enough to survive the ordeal. Shown below is the pot with the Porana volubilis vine without the built-in trellis.


The vine branches are quite long and so this may be the opportune time to hard prune the plant before reinstalling the bamboo trellis.





Techniques to Reuse the Damaged Bamboo Trellis

Here are some of the options I considered to reuse the damged built-in trellis.

  1. Remove the Rotted Part of the Trellis

    This is perhaps the quickest solution, although not necessarily the best. This would simply mean sawing off the rotted ends of the bamboo rods.

    Disadvantages:
    • Obviously, the container trellis will be shortened with this option. We're already accustomed to the original height and feel it is the optimum height for the bamboo container trellis in the pot.
    • Reinstalling bamboo trellis into the pot's slots will not be easy. Because of the bamboo rods' spacing configuration (wider at top and narrower at bottom), the new bottom ends of the bamboo rods will not fit snugly into the slots. Either they will be forced (jammed) into the slots (trellis leg holders), or the old steel wires will need to be adjusted to make the spacing narrower.

  2. Replace the Rotted Bamboo with Similar Material

    I have plenty of unsplit and uncut thick bamboo rods left. It wouldn't be too difficult to replace the rotted parts with new bamboo rods. This would entail cutting the rotted part and then fastening new bamboo pieces at the base.

    Disadvantages:
    • As before, the new bamboo would need to be painted if only to extend its life.
    • The same material will be no better than the previous bamboo material used.

  3. Replace the Rotted Bamboo with Steel Rods

    I have an old painted scrap metal rod that is 8mm thick that I could use to replace the rotted bamboo.

    Advantages:
    • For this purpose, steel is infinitely more durable than bamboo. It will withstand getting wet for a very long time.
    • The steel rod is thinner than the bamboo rod yet stronger. Because it's thinner, there are no problems inserting it into the slots in the pot.

(See Part 2 for the continuation of this article)



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