Originally Posted by gardenmaturin
Should I be pruning my Bamboo. They're awfully brown now but I've never dealt with them before. I'm seeing conflicting info throughout the web. Help!
Q1 - Are you sure it is bamboo, and not a perennial grass or something that is only colloquially known as bamboo (in the way that a hot dog is not a real dog)?
Q2 - What has browned, leaves or canes, and if canes then some or all of them?
If you shorten bamboo canes, they don't grow back, so pruning them is an extreme step if the cane is stilll alive. You don't need to do this unless the cane is dead.
Some bamboos defoliate in the winter, and the leaves go brown, depending upon how cold the winter is. But the cane is often still alive and will leaf out again in the spring. Can be quite late in the spring. Just leave them.
If it is some of the canes that appear to be dead, then they are dead. The canes don't live for ever and do eventually die, and need cutting out. Cut out the dead ones near ground level, and trim them for use as garden canes. Replacements will grow next year, assuming the underground plant is still alive.
If all of them have gone brown, then you have suffered some serious damage, either from waterlogging or extreme cold, perhaps. Cut all the canes to ground level and hope the plant is still alive and will regenerate itself over the next few years.
Bamboos can also get overcrowded, and it is worth, for aesthetic reasons, thinning out the weedier canes to get a tidier more impressive clump. Also you can trim off lower leaves to show off the canes.