Planting Bamboo for Privacy Pros and Cons

Planting Bamboo for Privacy Pros and Cons

Bamboo makes an excellent privacy screen

Prevent nosy neighbors from watching your every move and create privacy for your yard. Knowing how to grow a bamboo screen will help preserve your privacy while contributing to the ecosystem.

toddsmariettatreeservices.com gathered the following pros, cons, and growing information about bamboo for privacy screens.

What is Bamboo?

Bamboo species are a part of the grass family and are typically fast-growing evergreen flowering perennials, with some species growing an astounding 12 to 35 inches per day. The woody ringed stems (culms) are often hollow between the rings (nodes) and tend to grow in branching clusters from a thick underground stem (rhizome). When bamboo is harvested and properly processed, it can be used to make things like flooring, paper, fabrics, chopsticks, and more.

Note: In traditional Chinese culture, bamboo symbolizes longevity and beauty because of its durability, strength, flexibility, and resilience. It survives in the harshest conditions of the most challenging environments, standing tall and staying green year-round. When storms come, bamboo gracefully bends with the wind.

Planting Bamboo Privacy Screens

Bamboo is a stunning plant species for visual privacy screens or evergreen hedges because it has a small initial footprint, it grows incredibly tall, it grows fast, produces oxygen, and sequesters carbon. Consider the following for planting:

Planting Bamboo with a Root Ball (Root Mass) – First, dig a hole twice the size of the root ball and mix composted manure into the base of the hole before putting the bamboo in place. The root mass should sit level with the ground. Finally, mix the topsoil with more compost and fill the hole.

Pros of Bamboo Privacy Screens

Some bamboo species are exceedingly tall

Besides serving as a stunning conversation topic, a live bamboo privacy screen offers the following benefits:

  • Bamboo is incredibly fast-growing and will quickly fill in any gaps between culms
  • Bamboo grows fast (really fast); one species holds the world record for the fastest-growing plant
  • While species-dependent, bamboo can reach 100 feet at maturity
  • Bamboo has a greater tensile strength (28,000 per square inch) than steel (23,000 per square inch) and withstands compression better than concrete
  • Bamboo is evergreen and will provide screening year-round

There are approximately 1,000 bamboo species. The more popular varieties for hedges or privacy screens include:

Arundinaria funghomii (Runner) – Thin, straight canes of running bamboo grow close together with lots of leaves
Bambusa multiplex (Clumper) – 10 to 20-foot upright poles
Bashania fargesii (Runner) – Long, sturdy culms have earned this species the name of “Wind break bamboo,” and its leaves are long and thick
Fargesia dracocephala (Clumper) – This bamboo has thick culms growing to about 10 feet, with a dense and “weeping” canopy that makes an excellent privacy hedge
Phyllostachys bissetii (Runner) – This variety can reach up to 40 feet tall with 2-inch culms
Phyllostachys bambusoides (Runner) – Smooth, beautiful culms can reach 50 to 70 feet tall, with up to a 5-inch culm diameter
Pseudosasa Japonica (Runner) – Ideal for shorter screens and hedges with culms growing 15 to 20-feet tall

Bamboo species are among the fastest-growing plants on the planet. Some varieties can reach full maturity in just 90 days, while most other varieties only take a couple of years. One bamboo species can grow an astounding 35 inches per day (that’s 1.5 inches per hour).

Cons of Bamboo Privacy Screens

Running and clumping bamboo are excellent privacy screens

While there are many positive aspects of using bamboo as a privacy hedge or screen, there are some significant disadvantages. Consider the following:

  • Pruning or cutting bamboo stems (culms) will stop their growth
  • Bamboo does not tolerate drought (regular watering can only be interrupted on rainy days)
  • Bamboo species prefer secluded or protected locations
  • Running bamboo species can aggressively cross property lines and invade yard space
  • Once bamboo is established, it can be extremely challenging to entirely remove

Running bamboo does precisely what the name portrays; it runs. Running bamboo species must be controlled with rhizome barriers to prevent them from spreading beyond their intended location.

Non-invasive, clumping bamboo has short roots, generally forming discreet clumps requiring only a 3’ to 10’ circle of space to expand. Clumping bamboo root structures are dense and can apply significant pressure on foundations, walls, and fences.

Planting Bamboo

In this article, you discovered species and growing information and some of the pros and cons of planting bamboo as a privacy hedge or privacy screen.

Planting bamboo as a privacy screen can give your yard a lush and fully developed screening in a fraction of the time typical landscape trees would take.

When planting bamboo, you risk a “running” species crossing your property line and growing out of control, requiring costly professional removal.

Sources:
extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B1357&title=Growing%20Bamboo%20in%20Georgia
extension.tennessee.edu/publications/documents/W220.pdf
heritagegarden.uic.edu/bamboo
depts.ttu.edu/plantresources/Pages/Landscape_Information_Sheets/Woody_Info/Bambusa_spp.php
guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/fastest-growing-plant

Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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