Hedge / In Ground Bamboo planting guide
Many of our customers want to create a Hedges or Privacy Screens with bamboo and are trying to determine what is the best way to go about it. As well, many people are concerned about bamboo’s reputation as an invasive plant that can “take over” an area. Bamboo is the world’s fastest growing plant and certainly one of the most vigorous but this doesn’t mean that it will take over! One of the first things we do when customers tell us they want a privacy hedge is to tell them about the importance of using Plastic Barrier Material to limit the growth area of the bamboo. We use 26 inch barrier material to keep our bamboo plants where we want them and it has been working ever since we first planted. Provided you install the barrier correctly we know that it will work for you too!
Once you have decided where you want your hedge to be, begin by measuring for the length and width of the planting area so you get the right amount of barrier material. We recommend planting bamboo in a trench that is 2-3 feet wide and 20-24 inches deep. A basic rule for planting bamboo in the ground is if you make your trench wider, your bamboo plants will grow taller and spread faster. As well, the “culms” or canes of the plant will be thicker in diameter and they will have a more dense leafing. If your soil conditions are favorable you may not need to get rid of the soil from the trench and replace it with planting mix. You can simply dig out an area to place the barrier and make individual holes for each bamboo plant. Otherwise, you can remove the soil and prepare a trench like the one shown below. In most cases replacing the old soil will create the best possible conditions for your new plants to flourish in and give you more beautiful and fuller plants in a shorter time span. If you need to remove your soil like in the photos below we recommend replacing it with a 3 way planting mix which you can find at commercial landscaping wholesalers.
After you have dug your trench carefully place your barrier material inside it so the sides of your trench don’t crumble and refill it! If you wish to have a nice straight and erect barrier use the installation technique seen in the photos below. You can see that the small strips of wood hammered into the ground work well to support the plastic and keep it from moving out of place. Typically we have anywhere from 2-6 inches of the barrier showing above ground.
Once you have placed your barrier material inside the trench you need to secure the the two ends with 2 26inch pieces of pressure treated 2×4” lumber so that it won’t rot in the ground. Place one piece on the exterior and one on the interior with the ends of the plastic barrier in between. Once in place, secure the two pieces of wood with at least 4 galvanized screws. This is important because unsecured ends of root barrier can be breached by the vigorous roots of the bamboo roots.
Once you have secured your barrier you are ready to refill your trench. As mentioned previously, replacing the soil in your trench with quality soil will really make a difference in the growth and vitality of your bamboo.
When your trench is finished its time to plant your bamboo. Place the plants so that the base of the plant is just below the level of the soil. The distance between plants is really up to you. If you want immediate coverage you may want to place the bamboo plants two feet apart from each other. In general we recommend that people plant them about four feet apart and allow the plants grow into the empty space.
As you can see in the photos above we have placed fertilizer (alpaca manure) on the plants to make sure that they have all the nutrients needed to become a healthy hedge. Most any type of commercial plant fertilizers work fine. If you have grass clippings or leaves in your yard you can use them as well to create a nice mulch to put on the plants. In general we advise customers to fertilize about two times a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Make sure to water your plants regularly when you put them in the ground, transplanted plants need it. Every location is unique and figuring out how much water your plants need is something you will need to carefully determine in the first year. In general your plants will need much less water in the winter here in the northwest. In the summer you can expect bamboo plants to need water around 2 times a week. If you follow this planting guide for hedges your bamboo plants we are sure they will be healthy and beautiful. If you have any further questions please feel free to call us at 503-703-1345.