Posted by Brent Wilson on 8/1/2018 to FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Bamboo plants are some of the best and most attractive plants for use in creating a hedge or privacy screen that serves as a visual or wind and noise buffer. They are some of the fastest growing plants on the planet as well so are great for use to quickly form a hedge or screen. Since it is the mid to larger size running or clumping bamboo that are typically used for hedges and screening, the suggestions below will pertain to these.
Regarding spacing taller growing bamboo species, how far apart you space them in a row will depend primarily on two factors:
1) What size the bamboo plants are at the time of installation
2) How quickly you would like to have a solid hedge or screen
There are two types of bamboo: "running," and "clumping.' Both types spread by under ground roots called 'rhizomes." Whereas running bamboos have long rhizomes that spread more quickly horizontally, clumping bamboos have shorter rhizomes that stay closer to their point of origin and do not spread so rapidly. Clumping bamboos are similar to many ornamental grasses, such as Cortaderia (pampas grasses) and Miscanthus (maiden grasses), which form a clump that gradually increases in size over time. While there are a few cold hardy clumping bamboo, such as Fargesia species, most of the clumping bamboo species are sub tropical to tropical, meaning they are hardy only in southern USDA Zones 8 to 11. On the other hand, there are many very cold hardy running bamboo species.
Bamboo Plant Spacing
While many of the taller growing Bamboo species and varieties could be spaced 10 feet or more apart and will eventually fill in to form a solid screen or hedge, most of us don't have that kind of patience when we need a privacy screen or want to block the view of the neighbors "Sanford & Sons" garage and yard. So, in order to form a quicker screen I usually suggest an "on center" spacing of somewhere between 3 to 6 feet apart. "On center spacing" simply means from the center of one plant in the row to the center of the next plant in the row. With most of the taller and faster growing bamboos, spacing at these distances will usually form a solid screen within 2 to 4 years, or growing seasons.
Bamboo Spacing Suggestions Based On Plant Container Size
1 Gallon Pot: 2 to 3 feet apart
2 Gallon Pot: 3 to 4 feet apart
3 Gallon Pot: 4 to 6 feet apart
Note: How quickly bamboo will fill in to form a solid screen or hedge will depend on other factors such as climate (USDA Zone) and other environmental conditions (sun exposure, soil moisture/drainage, care practices, etc)
More Points to Ponder
Before purchasing a bamboo plant to create a privacy screen or hedge, do a little research on our bamboo plant pages to make sure you have selected a variety that will work best in your environment and for the intended purpose. There are many varieties of bamboo to choose from and even among similar species there can be differences between varieties regarding size, color, form, cold or heat hardiness and cultural preferences. For example, there are Phyllostachys bamboo varieties that grow to only 20 feet in height while others grow to 70 feet or more in height, depending on climate.
Factors to Consider
Sun Exposure - some bamboo varieties prefer full sun while others prefer some shade. You want to be sure that you select the variety that will be the happiest in your environment because that just means less work for you in the future.
Mature Height - every bamboo variety has a maximum mature height that it can grow to under optimal conditions. That said, depending on your location the its local climate, most bamboo species will not grow as tall in cooler climates as they will in warmer climates. Also, some bamboo varieties respond very well to pruning and can be maintained at a desired height as a natural or formal hedge or screen. So, determine the height you want your bamboo hedge or screen to be and then select a bamboo variety that matches those requirements.
Cold Hardiness - different bamboo species and varieties have different tolerance for cold and warm temperatures. While some of the cold hardy bamboo are hardy to -20 to -30°F, most tropical species are damaged at around 30°F. So be sure to choose a variety that is hardy in your USDA Zone and will tolerate the average low temperatures in your area.
For your convenience, click on a link below to find Bamboo varieties that are listed as hardy in your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. Find Your USDA Zone
Hope this info was helpful. Plant Long & Prosper!
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