Raised planter for bamboo

mojowtm6September 24, 2008

New to the boards, so I'll jump right in.

I've got a good size yard that would be perfect for a nice bamboo stand. I like the fast growing, vigorous qualities of the Phyllostachys and I understand that they flourish here in the Southeast US. The plan is to keep growth under control by planting in a raised (~8") bed and rhizome prune around the border. I'll have a trench around the border, 16 inches deep seems to be the consensus, filled with bark or mulch to make getting a spade to the rhizomes much easier. The raised planter will be approx. 5 ft wide and run the length of the yard along the sides and back.

On to the questions:

1. Is a 5-foot width enough for the bamboo to really grow and spread into a tall, thick screen? I'll probably try to keep 8-12 inches between culms along the length, and 4-6 inches along the width of the planter. I could probably stretch it to 6-feet in width, but then the dogs will have less yard for play.

2. With an 8" rise above the yard, would a 12" deep trench around the perimeter be sufficient? Is 8" too much of a rise?

3. Looking into various stone borders, although it sounds like the rhizomes will hav a good ol' time shoving them stones around. Am I better off just building up a big mound?

4. Any run-ins with the homeowners association that I should be wary of?

Would love to hear your thoughts.



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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Sounds like a basically good plan. A few comments:

1. 5' should be wide enough.
2. I often plant in a mound; it seems to keep rhizomes closer to the surface. 8" is plenty high for the mound and a 12" deep trench should also be fine. You could also consider filling the trench with sand as that's easy to get a spade through and it provides a firmer walking surface than bark/mulch. I grow dozens of different runners, and I've never had a rhizome go deeper than 12". If you have one that does go deeper, it will be rare, and you can simply remove it when it makes its presence known rather than go to all the work of trenching even deeper.
3. Stones make an attractive border. A rhizome is not likely to move a stone much, but it will likely cause a rhizome to deflect; in some cases, that might make it dive deeper than usual. I have a stone border around some of my beds and I occasionally have to pull a stone out to get at a rhizome. If you like the look of stone, there's no reason not to use it.
4. As for homeowners associations, they all seem to be different (although most are annoying). If you can get a look at the bylaws, do it. It's better than specifically asking about planting bamboo as that may arouse their interest, or strike fear into their shriveled, little hearts.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 7:37PM
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