Bamboo is an evergreen plant that can grow as tall as 100 feet, and because of this many people assume it's a type of tree. In reality, bamboo is actually a type of fast-growing grass that can be harvested for both building material and food. Because it's an evergreen that grows tall at really fast rates--some varieties grow 1 to 4 feet a day--bamboo can also make an excellent privacy fence or hedge. There are two types of bamboo: clumping and running. Care and attention are needed when growing a running variety of bamboo because it can quickly become invasive as it spreads its rhizomes, underground roots, across a yard. This natural spread makes the running variety of bamboo a faster grower than the clumping variety, but either will work well for establishing a living fence.
Select the bamboo species you plan to use for your living fence. There are over 1,000 varieties to choose from, each having their own color, spreading habits, cold tolerance, maximum heights at maturity, and thickness of branches when they're fully grown. Phyllostachys vivax or Phyllostachys aureosulcata are popular varieties in the United States because they grow quickly and tolerate cold temperatures. Some gardeners in Massachusetts grow bamboo varieties that have survived -25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Select the location for your bamboo fence. Bamboo plants do well in almost any type of soil as long as it's not waterlogged. You'll get the largest, fastest growth if the bamboo grows in full sunlight, but they'll grow at slower rates and smaller sizes in shade as well.
Water your potted bamboo thoroughly the day before you plan to transplant.
Dig a hole the same depth as your potted bamboo plant, and slightly larger in diameter. As a type of grass, bamboo roots don't grow deeply but outward instead. Space your holes 6 to 10 feet apart because the bamboo will quickly fill in the empty space within three to five years.
Loosen the soil about a foot around the perimeter of the hole and add compost or a handful each of bonemeal and bloodmeal in and around the hole.
Gently remove the bamboo root ball from the container and place it in the hole. Fill in the hole with dirt, tamping down gently to remove air pockets.
Stake the plant to prevent it from being blown over by the wind in the first two to three months it will take for the roots to become established.
Water the new bamboo plants with 3 to 5 gallons of water per day while they're becoming established, and anytime you see the leaves starting to curl. Once established, the bamboo plants need 3 to 4 inches of water each month. If you live in a dry area, it's best to apply 2 to 4 inches of mulch around the base to prevent them from drying out too quickly.
Things You Will Need
- If you're concerned about your bamboo fence spreading out of the area where you've planted it, try planting bamboo in pots into the ground, then surrounding them with a rock bed instead of soil. This helps keep the roots contained in the pots and provides them with no nearby soil to expand to.
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