How much width needed for bamboo roots?

jjb2003February 9, 2013

I'm interested in planting bamboo along with a barrier along the fence pictured. There's 16" of clearance between the neighbor's fence and the cement walkway. Is that enough room (width-wise) to plant bamboo? Will it grow in along the fence to thicken out even if there's minimal room for its rhizomes to grow between the fence and walkway?

Thanks so much in advance for your help.

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It will have enough room to survive, but depending on the variety, it may need more sunlight and also, most bamboos will lean outward somewhat and/or the limbs will grow away from the culms. Cutting these limbs back will make the hedge less dense.

You will want a bamboo with short limbs and grows very upright.

How tall does it need to grow?


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 8:53PM
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Thanks so much for your response, Kentuck! As for height, we'd be happy with anything up to around 8 feet. Higher than that, and we may run into problems with the cable lines, which are right above.

Is there a particular variety you'd recommend?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:43AM
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What is your growing zone, or how cold does it get there on the coldest Winter nights?

Without knowing this, look into Pseudosasa japonica or one of the other Pseudosasas. It should stay smaller in that area and if not, it is easily topped and will remain at that height.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 2:38PM
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We're in zone 7 -- and the coldest I'd say is ~20F, with the average maybe in the 30s or 40s. In DC, the summers get hot and humid, so there are all extremes.

Would the Pseudsasas still be a good fit, that said?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:03PM
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It is cold hardy enough, and tolerates the high humidity here so it should do fine, even with shade.

Another one that I think might do fine is Arundinaria gigantea which only gets to an average of about 12 feet here. It grows very upright also and can be cut to the desired height, if it gets too tall.

Remember, bamboo will never reach it's full potential height in a confined area.

Look these up and see if they look like what you might want.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:11PM
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Thanks so much, Kt. This is extremely useful and I'm definitely going to follow your advice, looking into both varieties. And one last question -- just to figure out how many actual plants to buy, if I were to buy small plants (~3 gallons), how far apart would I need to space them to allow them to grow and give nice coverage? Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:04PM
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It depends on how fast you want the bamboo to fill in the area.

I would plant every four to six feet but closer if you can get plants at a good price.

Sometimes, 3 gallon pots have rootbound plants, if this is the case, then you can divide the 3 gallon pots into 2, maybe even three plants, so you get more plants, however, dividing the plants will set them back and take maybe an extra year to catch up.

Good Luck and keep us posted on your plantings and it's growth.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:00PM
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I live in zone 6 and it always does well here outdoors or in. I've had mine in ground for about 5 years and it's only lost it's leaves one year due to cold winter winds but they returned the following year and now are very hardy. here's a link that might be useful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gabelmans Gardens

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 2:20PM
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