Plant Bamboo, the Non-Invasive Kind of Course.

You may have heard NOT to plant bamboo because it's invasive, but there are actually two main types of bamboo: Non-invasive clumping bamboos and the invasive running bamboos.  We love using the non-Invasive clumping kind of bamboo!

It's true running bamboos are one of the fastest growing plants on the planet, and they spread quickly via long underground roots, aka they run.  You could actually unwittingly impose bamboo growth in your neighbor's yard in a very short amount of time, as they are very difficult to contain.

Fernleaf Clumping Bamboo via CC License by "reader of the pack"

Fernleaf Clumping Bamboo via CC License by "reader of the pack"

But we always choose to plant the Non-invasive clumping bamboos!  They're great at creating evergreen privacy fences, not to mention they are a beautiful plant with a long list of versatile uses beyond the landscape, from construction to flutes and fishing poles.  Clumping bamboo generally form circular clumps, whose diameter won't expand more than few inches a year, ultimately expanding anywhere from 3 to 10 ft. in diameter.

Notes to Remember When Planting Clumping Bamboo:

  1. Can be used as dense screen/evergreen privacy fence, as a specimen plant, as an ornamental accent, or even in containers.
  2. Depending on the species, their mature height can range from 6 to 60 ft. tall and from 3 to 10 ft. in circular diameter, so choose the right species for the application. 
  3. If you have power lines to consider in your landscape, find varieties that will not exceed a certain height or plant away from the power lines.
  4. When planting, start with 8-10 foot spacing and stagger or triangulate the placement of the plants in order to plan for the intended mature growth in the coming years.
  5. Bamboo is actually a giant woody grass. It needs sun, well-drained soil and a little bit of fertilizer once a year.
  6. The dense root system of a clumping bamboo can exert strong pressure on structures in contact with it, and thus clumpers should be planted at some distance from fences, sidewalks, retaining walls, gas or water lines, etc.
  7. Clumpers are tropical and tend to not be cold-hardy.  However, even if the cold weather kills the above ground portions of the plant, it won't kill the roots.  The roots will remain viable and will send up new shoots again in the summer.
  8. Since bamboo is evergreen, it sheds year round just like evergreen magnolias, but it grows so much faster.
  9. Some species have large leaves, and some have tiny leaves.  When using next to a pool or water feature, consider planting varieties with smaller leaves and stalk/culm sheaths so that the "litter" produced will be more manageable.
  10. Bamboos produce their own mulch, so allow the dropped leaves to be the mulch around the bamboo.

Thinking of creating a natural fence with evergreens or with seasons of ornamental color?  Or maybe you're ready to give your outdoor living space a makeover?  Living Expression Landscapes has been exquisitely designing, installing, and maintaining landscapes for our clients for many years.  Check out our photo gallery, or give us a call for a consultation today... 

Bamboo Fence via CC License by  Marc Bédard Pelchat

Bamboo Fence via CC License by Marc Bédard Pelchat