Bamboozle me! I want to plant a bamboo screen.
June 24, 2016 10:15 PM   Subscribe

I live in zone 5b (Deerfield, MA), and I want to plant a bamboo screen along the road in front of my house. Spectabilis would work, but I'd much rather have something that tops out at 10-12 feet, not 25 or 30, for many reasons. Is there such a thing?

I need to cover about 150 feet, so I'll probably need 20 or 30 plants. Any recommendations for nurseries? I's like to keep this under $1k if possible.
posted by Camofrog to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You probably want this. Whatever you do, plant it in a sunken container or you will have a bamboo yard quicker than you think. It spreads like a weed and is hard to get rid of. Non-invasive is relative.
posted by ananci at 10:59 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Check with your county first- many places have restrictions on bamboo as some variants are considered invasive. DO NOT PLANT running bamboo!!! Clumping bamboo can be more easily contained. You can simply clip the tips when your bamboo gets to your preferred height.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 4:26 AM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Please do not plant bamboo. Even with a sunken container or the recommended thickness of plastic barrier recommended, it is extremely likely to escape and spread.

I'm from the area you're living in and so have direct experience with the region and the types of bamboo that are recommended as not spreading in that region. They all spread.

I understand your desire for a nice looking, relatively cheap, visual barrier, but even if it goes well while you're in the house, at some point in the future it will escape and colonize.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:44 AM on June 25, 2016 [5 favorites]

I have Bamboo in my yard - a gift from a now moved neighbor. I have been trying to get rid of it for the last 30 years. Every year we dig up the root "ball" and every year it returns. I know that when I die it will take over my entire yard if not the entire neighborhood.

Be careful!
posted by pamspanda at 4:52 AM on June 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

We've got bamboo planted in containers, and have had really high losses due to the weird winters in the past couple of years. I'd be wary.
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:12 AM on June 25, 2016

Yes, we also have bamboo that comes bounding into our yard every year from an adjacent neighbor's yard. It can really spread! Their bamboo is in the soil, not in containers. Also we live in Charlotte, NC, so it might thrive more here.
posted by Slothrop at 5:35 AM on June 25, 2016

Yikes, it's really that bad? I will be able to mow around the entire perimeter. Between that and a root barrier, would it still be unmanageable?
posted by Camofrog at 7:16 AM on June 25, 2016

Yes. Running bamboo shouldn't be sold to regular homeowners. It becomes invasive so so quickly.
posted by barnone at 7:45 AM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have dragon's head bamboo in my yard. It's a clumping bamboo that I purchased for screening. I've had it for 5 years and it has not run. My three clumps are around 10 feet tall and pretty dense.
posted by shrabster at 8:23 AM on June 25, 2016

Plant Delights is a reliable source for info and plants.
posted by gray17 at 11:30 AM on June 25, 2016

Clumping bamboo is not that bad, but the running bamboo is terrible. I have Hawaiian Gold clumping bamboo along my entire back property line and it's gorgeous. I love bamboo! Just make absolutely sure that you research and that you trust your vendor to sell you the correct cultivar.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 1:52 PM on June 25, 2016

Okay, the running bamboos are out. I've had plenty of experience with trying to beat things back, and I don't need to add to the list.

So if I planted Dragon's Head (the clumping variety suggested above), I would be okay? I feel pretty confident about controlling a clumping plant. But now everybody has me scared to death about any bamboo.
posted by Camofrog at 9:59 PM on June 25, 2016

Dragon's head bamboo is fine for me. I'm in the Seattle area, Zone 8a. It's actually on a list of plants recommended by the UW's botanical gardens. I think you should contact your local master gardener association to see how it performs in your area.
posted by shrabster at 9:04 AM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

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