Completely New to Bamboo, help!?

ideal2545(9B)August 13, 2012


So I've always been a big fan of bamboo and its looks and lately I've been thinking of lining my fence with bamboo for a few reasons. 1) We have some nosy neighbors and 2) I'm trying to go for more islandish look in the backyard. The area in which I live in SoCal can get pretty hot in the summer. We may have 2 weeks were it can get to 110(heat wave) and pretty dry. But the usual summer will be between 85-95 (occasional 100) and dry. The winters don't dip below 45 usually.

Could someone recommend a variety that would grow fairly quickly and thickly together? The fence I'd like to top is 6 feet. I like the bamboo that is pretty thick (the size of a grown mans fist) and a nice yellow? If that makes any sense?

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p.s. also, I have no problem watering the bamboo, while it would be nice to have a heat tolerant bamboo, drought tolerant shouldn't be a big deal, I'll set them up on a drip system or at least have the sprinklers hitting the ground below them every morning for 5-10 minutes.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:12PM
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I found this variety that seems to be really nice and perfect for a hot area that will be receiving water. Any thoughts on growing this variety?

Phyllostachys decora

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 5:00PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Ph. mannii 'Decora' is a nice bamboo, but are you aware that it's a runner and that its absolute maximum culm diameter is less than 2"? I'm not opposed to runners...90% of the bamboo I grow are runners, but in your much warmer climate you could choose among sub-tropical and tropical clumpers that would have more of the size and color characteristics that you want.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 2:17AM
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I would suggest one of the Bambusas, probably Bambusa multiplex "Golden Goddess' since it tops out at about 10 to 14 feet and is a clumping bamboo. It tolerates heat very well but will need water during dry spells.

There are several other Bambusas but they grow shorter or taller.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 10:29PM
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botanicalbill(9b SWFlorida)

If you want small diameter bamboo look at the B. multiplex (1"d). If you want a bit thicker, look at B. textilis gracilis (1.5"d). If you want even thicker, the options open up, B. chungii (2"d), B. Malingensis (3"d), and others are 2" diameter and thicker. I would definitely go to the American bamboo society, and click on search bamboo. Select bambusa and then you can look at all the varieties that are available.

I grow all of the listed here except multiplex in SW Florida in 9b. Multiplex doesnt like very wet summers, by you will have no problem with that.

I run a drip line on my bamboo too. During the dry season, the winter and spring, I set to water about every other day, our soil is sand and can dry out in less than a day. It seems the bamboo that has been in for a few years, I can get away with watering once a week.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 6:25AM
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botanicalbill(9b SWFlorida)

Here is another one I have, it only gets 1"d and grows fast. Its yellow with green stripes.
Bambusa eutuldoides viridi-vittata

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 6:37AM
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Good call botanicalbill. I was going to suggest Malingensis as well. I work with bamboo professionally in Florida and Malingensis is our number one hedge seller. It grows so straight and tall and can take heavy winds and salt tolerant, supposedly, more than other boos. Only one difference in opinion with botanicalbill, in regards to multiplex. I'm in the same zone and climate and all multiplex grows fine here. Great list of species with Multiplex. Now, since your temperature rarely dips below 45, you are so lucky. Your choices are more varied with that zone. I think you might like Vulgaris Vittata. Grows thick, very bushy, prettier than Malingensis, and although Malingensis is more cold tolerant, 15 degrees versus 25 degrees, you'll be fine with that species. Another advantage, Vulgaris vittata is cheaper to buy and grows faster. And It makes great poles for timber. Vulgaris Vittata is yellow with green stripes, and if you're lucky, an inverse cane will grow. You can then propagate from that pole and have a green bamboo with yellow stripes. Can't do that with Malingensis.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Hi Jon J Farr,

Do you know if Vulgaris Vittata is pet friendly, as in, not toxic to dogs?

Thank you so much for the help! I really like the way Vulgaris Vittata looks in the pictures I'm seeing!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 7:50PM
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One more question, so for the clumping bamboo should I buy enough to fill out the entire fence or should I buy some and space them out a few feet each and have them fill in on their own?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 8:41PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

No bamboo species are toxic to animals. However, the shoots of various bamboo do contain minute amounts of cyanide compounds which can cause a slight bitterness, so bamboo shoots are typically cooked to break this down prior to eating. However, I have never heard of any instances where eating of raw bamboo shoots did anything to any animals...although I wish the shoots were toxic to the squirrels that have sometimes destroyed my new growth by treating it as a salad bar.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 8:59PM
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