BG-Map Surveying Tip

Using a Bamboo Pole for Plant Surveying

Updated November 3, 2005

 This document suggests the use of an 8-foot bamboo pole in place of a measuring tape for surveying plant sizes and locations.

One of the most useful tools for plant surveying can be found growing in your garden or purchased inexpensively. A lightweight bamboo pole approximately 8-feet (2.5 meters) in length can assist in mapping with the Total Station Interface as well as measuring plant sizes with Garden Notepad. The pole should be marked off in foot, half and quarter-foot intervals (or in meters and tenths) using an indelible marker or colored tape.

Measuring Offsets With the Pole

The pole is ideal for measuring offsets for use with the total station (or a GPS). Most offsets will be less than 8 feet (2.5 meters), and the pole is much easier to use than a tape, which must be unrolled and re-rolled each time. Also, a pole is much easier to use than a tape for measuring to the inside of a shrub.

Measuring Plant Sizes With the Pole

Measuring the height and spread of small trees and shrubs is a snap. Use the pole to measure spreads up to 16 feet (5 meters) by measuring from the center to the drip line and doubling the number to get the diameter. Heights of greater than 8 feet can be determined by first measuring to the 6 foot (2 meter) point, and then using the pole to measure the height above that point. You can even use the pole to measure approximate DBHs, although its preferable to use a special diameter-measuring tape for that purpose.