Hardy bamboo planted close together can make a good privacy screen or hedge on a property. The difference between a screen and a hedge is that a hedge is more manicured in appearance. Bamboo can be easy to trim if it's pruned when its new growth is still green.
Bamboo has been grown as a barrier plant in Asia for thousands of years. Although many bamboos are cultivated as food or as a construction material, many people still grow small, dense clumping bamboos as a hedge separator.
Some varieties of bamboo are cold hardy to zone 5 and able to withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees F. Some evergreen bamboos, however, may lose leaves when temperatures drop this low. Lost leaves generally won't re-grow until spring.
Some of the hardiest bamboos are 18 to 30 inches tall and grow very densely. These bamboos are ideal for low hedges. For taller hedges or taller privacy screens, use a taller bamboo in back of, or interspersed with, shorter, densely growing bamboos.
Two types of bamboo exist, and both grow very easily. Clumping bamboo sends out short runners that don't travel far from the originating plant. The non-clumping kind reproduces by runners that can travel a great distance from the original plant. This type of bamboo can easily become invasive and generally requires a plastic bamboo barrier 36 inches deep. Whatever type of bamboo you plant, simply loosen the top 12 to 18 inches of soil and lay the rhizomes 3 to 4 inches below the surface with the "eyes" up.
Non-clumping bamboo needs barriers to keep them from becoming invasive. If you are planting a small hedge, simply dig the soil out to a depth of 36 inches and line the sides of the hole with a 60 ml polyethylene sheet. Tape sheet with duct tape to keep the bamboo from escaping through the seam. Allow 3 to 4 inches of barrier to extend above the ground.
If planting a large area as a bamboo hedge using non-clumping bamboo, dig a 36-inch-deep trench around the area and place the barrier the same way as you would for a smaller planting.