Bamboo is one of the most versatile landscape plants for the home garden, impressive as a specimen and when trained as a privacy screen. In Tasmania, it also is grown for food and as a garden construction material, handy for making everything from trellises to ornamental fences. The two basic types of bamboo are clumpers and runners. Clumping varieties grow from a central core and spread very little. Runner-type bamboo spreads quickly by means of underground rhizomes sent out in all directions to propagate the plant. The Permaculture Association of Tasmania recommends a number of species of each type along with their respective varieties.
Choose a location that is suitable for the type of bamboo you have selected, as clumping varieties tend to prefer shade areas with filtered sunlight whereas runners are adapted to full sun. Check the site requirements for your species of bamboo and locate accordingly.
Make your planting holes twice as wide as the roots of the bamboo. Loosen the soil for another 1 foot around the planting to make it easier for the roots to penetrate and spread. Make each hole deep enough so that the base of the plant is 1 inch above ground level after planting.
Irrigate the bamboo with 5 gallons of water after planting. Repeat for the first three days. Provide 1 inch of water per week during the first year of growth thereafter. Adjust your watering to local conditions and check the plants for any curling of the leaves, which indicate a lack of water.
Install a root barrier, if your are planting runner type bamboo. Keep the plants under control, especially if you plant them next to an adjoining property. Make a solid root barrier of wood, metal or plastic, with the latter being the most common type and the easiest to install. There also are very thin films specially made to stop for bamboo rhizomes. Dig a trench around the bed or along a property line and install the barrier to a depth of 30 inches. Keep at least 2 inches of the barrier above grade after installation to prevent the rhizomes from growing over the top. Prune the rhizomes when they come to the surface after hitting the barrier.
Spread 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the bamboo to help retain water and provide organics to the soil.