Bamboo by Retaining wall?

madake(8-Washington)June 21, 2005

Hello,

I am thinking about planting phyllostachys bambusoides

and phyllostachys bambusoides 'Castillon' by my 4' high ecology block retaining wall (ecology blocks are 2'*2'*6' ... about 2000lbs each) and was curious to get opinions on if the bamboo could harm my wall... I want to use the wall as one side of my bamboo containment. Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Kevin

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PeteJ(UK Z7/8)

Just to scare you...........however, read the subsequent threads.

Here is a link that might be useful: The power of the rhizome

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 11:42AM
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madake(8-Washington)

That is enough to scare me... but isn't concrete too hard to crack? My main concern would be the roots getting between the concrete blocks and "pushing" them appart, or even putting too much pressure on the top blocks and pushing my wall over.
Kevin

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 12:52PM
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wlorenz(Day-town z6)

Kevin -

I just checked out your ecology blocks. I would not worry about your wall if the blocks are cast using re-bar than I cant imagine anything penetrating them. Even w/o re-bar the rhizomes may feed through the cracks but even then i have a hard time imagining that they would do much damage.

Just my $0.02

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 1:22PM
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madake(8-Washington)

Thanks!
Yes, they are cast in rebar and even have a 6" rebar/cement cap over the top (makes a good sidewalk). I know I don't want to plant an oak or Giant Sequoia (bought 10 of those this year, very nice) because they would probably end up pushing the blocks over in time.... but I didn't know if bamboo would do the same.

Kevin.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 1:59PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Madake-
Rhizomes are pretty amazing, but I agree that they're not going to do much to concrete. That picture of a rhizome coming up through asphalt looks like the asphalt was cracked beforehand. If you are concerned about rhizomes getting into the cracks, is it possible to put a layer of sand up against the back side of the blocks so that you can slide a shovel down about a foot and do rhizome pruning as a preventative method once a year?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 2:19PM
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madake(8-Washington)

I hadn't thought of the sand deal...although it may just slip between the big blocks.. I may be able to use gravel or even beauty bark... not a bad idea, thanks!
Kevin.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 3:10PM
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wildbillgt(Z8 WA ST)

IF the Rhizome does get between the blocks it will take the path of least resistance and even deform to slide between, but it is not going to move those blocks, I would be more worried about hydraulics from rain water than bamboo, not saying you need to worry about that you should have plenty of drainage.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 3:31PM
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tcstoehr

That picture of the rhizome thru the concrete is clearly a hoax or a joke. It's plain to see by looking at the rhizone and the fissure in the asphalt that the rhizome did not do it. Bamboo rhizomes are not very good at penetrating hard objects but can run into crevices. Even so, bamboo rhizomes, like the culms, do not grow thicker that their initial girth. I have seen root-bound rhizomes running around inside a plastic pot split the plastic. But I wouldn't worry about your cement blocks. The worst that might happens is that the rhizomes creep between the blocks and cause some separation... maybe.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 3:33PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Madake-
You may know this, but there's a product that you can get called landscape fabric, and it's just a synthetic material that is porous to allow water to pass through, but not particles like dirt or sand. It's pretty cheap (especially if you have a Costco or equivalent near you). It comes in rolls and you just cut it to size. I've used it to keep dirt from flushing through a dry-laid retaining wall I did a while back, and to wrap 4" drainage pipes in the ground at the base of the wall to keep them from clogging over time. You could just place it up against the baskside of your wall and then place your fill. It's a good idea to use it for any retaining wall application like this.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 4:02PM
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madake(8-Washington)

That's probably a good idea... and I have 6 or 8 hundred feet of landscape fabric laying around (big backyard project). You know this might be a decent way of creating bamboo above ground "boxes".. each block is only about $30 bucks and they are 6 feet long...if you can find a way to move them. I had to have a friend with a tractor move these for me.

Thanks all!
Kevin

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 11:15AM
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