How to Grow a Bamboo Hedge

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How to Grow a Bamboo Hedge

bamboo hedge in planters
Bamboo hedge planted in concrete planters

So you want to grow a bamboo hedge?  Well it’s not as complicated you would think, and unlike growing a hedge from plants like American Arborvitae or Ligustrum, it will not take years to establish.

The first consideration is what type of bamboo hedge is desired as well as how big the hedge needs to be.  Do you want one that is nearly impenetrable or one that is semi open?  Are you intending on using a running or clumping bamboo for your hedge?  Do you want a more colorful bamboo hedge or are you satisfied with the classic bamboo green look?  What is the total length of hedge desired?  Will you be planting the bamboo in the ground to create your hedge or in planters?

Once you decided on the the type of bamboo and length of bamboo, it’s time to start planting.  If you have opted for a running type for your bamboo hedge, you will need to factor in bamboo rhizome barrier to keep your running bamboo where it’s desired.  This will also shape and form the bamboo hedge, making it easy to maintain after it’s established.  If you decided on a clumping bamboo, rhizome barrier is not necessary due to the natural growth habit of a clumper, and it is often easily controlled with a lawnmower or by kicking over new shoots that pop up where they are not wanted.

grow bamboo hedge
One single plant of B. textilis mutabilis with a footprint of about 6 ft by 8 feet. You can easily see how this makes a great hedge!

To establish your bamboo hedge rapidly, you will need to plant multiple bamboo plants.  For clumping type bamboos, I recommend planting multiple plants 6 to 8 feet apart using larger plants.  If you have a chance to get field divisions for your bamboo, these should easily produce eight to ten new culms the following year, and if planted 6 to 8 feet apart should be filled in within two to three years.  For running bamboos, these may establish slower, so I recommend planting these 4 to 5 feet apart if they are singly culm divisions.  If your running bamboo plants are potted with multiple culms then you should be able to plant them 6 to 8 feet apart as well.

Once established, maintaining your bamboo hedge is no different than most other hedges, though how much maintenance can be dependent on the type of bamboo used.  Some tropical clumping bamboos have branching at each node along the length of the entire culm, and this branching sometime can be upwards to eight feet long!  This will need to be trimmed back on a regular basis  to keep it from poking someone anytime they are near it.  Height maintenance is a rather simple process too.  As the new shoots grow upward, once they are at the height you desire simply cut the tip of the culm off and it will stop growing.  This will allow you to achieve an even hedge row.  Or, as I prefer, just allow the bamboo to reach mature height and enjoy a thirty to forty foot high wall of bamboo!

One final note should you decided to grow a bamboo hedge; if you planted it in pots or planters, you will need to dig some of the bamboo out on a regular basis to allow for continued growth of the rhizome mass, especially if you panted a running bamboo.  If not accomplished, the bamboo will eventually “swell” and bust the pots of planters!

If you have any questions, please feel free to post your comments below.

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