ground cover for bamboo garden

iain42April 7, 2010

I'm finally getting my bamboo in this spring. The rhizome barrier is installed. The entire area has been tilled very well. It is an L shape 11ft wide 30 long on both sides of the L. I was supposed to have this finished last year but it didn't work out. Bamboo is going to be planted next month. More than likely Henon and Black bamboo.

The main question is that I'd like to make it low maintenance if possible. What can I plant under the bamboo that will cover the area quickly and perhaps keep weeds minimal.

Any advice much appreciated.

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I suggest not planting anything, and instead mulching the area with an organic mulch (something that will decompose). There are a few problems with groundcover plants. The first is that although they'll probably be getting plenty of sun for the first couple of years, eventually they'll be shaded out, which makes it hard to choose a plant. The main issue is the bamboo though. Bamboo is a heavy feeder, and likes good, organic soils. The easiest way to keep them happy is to mulch with organic matter (wood chips, bark, compost, manure, even grass clippings). If you want something that looks good, I'd stay away from manure and grass clippings.
Also, the bamboo will eventually start dropping a ton of leaves, creating its own layer of mulch.

If you're set on planting though, use something that stays just a couple of inches tall. Otherwise your young bamboo will be somewhat overpowered. You want the culms to stand out, even when smaller. Consider the color too -- how will it contrast with the color of the culms?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 9:00AM
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Thank you very much for the advice. I will take it. I'll mulch the area instead of planting ground cover. That does make sense. I'm going to scatter a layer of super soil and then mulch.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 10:33AM
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I have a huge bamboo forest--several acres of it. Nothing really grows on the soil below. It's all dried bamboo leaves and natural mulch. Bamboo is the only plant I've seen that can meet bermuda grass head on and defeat it.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 3:51PM
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That is great news. The area to mulch is big. Hopefully I'll only have to do this for the first couple years. I've put four truck loads of mulch down. No to get some bamboo next month. I'm definately picking up Henon and Black but if anyone has suggestions of what I could mix together please let me know. I have enough room to mix a couple. I've been wanting to do this for four years. This is going to be very cool next spring : )

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:08PM
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