Tall Bamboo that doesnt spread fast.

whodaz(7)October 30, 2009

Hello there..

I am looking for a thick or tall bamboo over 35ft tall that doesn't spread fast, I would like to use it as a privacy fence so I need it to grow fast.. what do you guys recommend?

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What growing zone are you in?

What is your lowest average Winter temps?

Monroe, NC?


    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 9:47PM
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yes I live in Monroe NC 28112 average lowest temp is 30F

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 9:55PM
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There are a number of Bambusas that will do well.

The two main ones I would recommend would be Bambusa oldhamii and Bambusa textilis.

Both grow to over 40 feet here, but have potential to get much taller.

Oldhamii grows very erect with culms getting over 4 inches in diameter, and textilis has culms that get just over 2.5 inches thick but the overall plant has a more vase shape and takes up a bit more space.

Textilis is more cold hardy, and with temps getting down to 15F here on several occasions over the years, it only suffers some leaf damage.

Oldhamii froze to the ground the first couple of Winters, but grew larger each following Summer. Now it only suffers leaf burn on colder nights except on extended cold spells of temps below 20F, which is very rare here.

Both are green bamboos. There are some other choices if you want yellow culms with green stripes or green with yellow/white stripes, but they are less cold hardy and not as large or tall.

Oh, and the Bambusas are clumpers...meaning that they do not spread fast at all.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 10:08PM
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thanks.. well how exactly should I plant the oldhamii bamboo apart so that I can have a privacy fence.. and how long would it take for them to hit over 35ft tall.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 10:25PM
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One other question about the privacy screen,...how thick does the bamboo need to be? That is, does it need to be a complete visual blockage to the ground?

Both Oldhamii and Textilis, as with most large boos, will not have leaves on the lower parts of the culms when they reach large size.

Oldhamii grows in a manner you might be able to see through or between some of the culms. Textilis grows very tight and dense, making it impossible to see in between the lower culms.

I planted two oldhamii plants 20 feet apart ten years ago and they haven't come close to touching yet.

It greatly depends on how much space you have and how many plants you are willing to purchase and how fast you want it to 'fill' in. Putting that aside, 10 feet apart would be about the limit here, closer, up to 6 feet would fill in faster, but then the plants would begin to compete for space sooner, so they would need more water during dry spells etc.

Young plants will grow bushy, but as they get some size to them, they look great.

They can reach 35 feet in height in a matter of two or three years, but the thickness or denseness for a privacy screen that you desire, may take a couple of more years since the roots need to establish well before it will put up several shoots every year.

Start with the largest plants that you can for the fastest privacy screen.

Here are some pics:

Pic of B. textilis, four years old taken during our second year drought. Between 30 to 35 feet tall.

Oldhamii in my backyard with hammock stretched between the two plants. Notice the space between the lower culms, however, I did trim some of the inner lower branches out.

A pic of B. pervariabilis 'Viridistriatus'
(left) and B. textilis var 'Gracilis'(right) looking into my yard at one of my greenhouses. Taken when the plants look their worst.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 11:11PM
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wow thank you so much for taking the time to show us those beautiful bamboo trees.. there is a nursery around here that sells a lot of different kinds of bamboos and I think im going with the oldhammi - I will be planting them 5ft apart maybe in a slight zizag pattern. so I think would need about 8 tall bamboos for my 40ft privacy fence. what do you think?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 11:45PM
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Yes, I think that would work, and the zig-zag pattern is a great idea.

Keep us posted on how they do.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 12:15PM
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Keep in mind the coldest readings, not just the averages.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 7:25AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I hate to be the fly in the ointment here, but I suggest that you have a good discussion with that bamboo nursery about hardiness of what you select, and what their experience is with which species of clumping bamboo best survive winters there. I am in Zone 8 -- one zone warmer than you -- and I have never grown Oldhamii because I consider it not quite hardy enough for my climate. While our winters always average well above freezing, we do have a couple of days that can get down to 10F or 15F and that would whack an Oldhamii. I used to live in Durham, so I am somewhat familiar with climate in your area, and I am concerned with how much top kill you will get with Oldhamii, and whether it can survive a really cold spell.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 12:42PM
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I agree with Kudzu. Different parts of the country can affect identical plamts quite differently.

Here, my oldhamii has survived several nights down into the teens, the coldest being 12F, but many more down to 15F. At these temps, mostly some leaf burn is noticed, but on the younger culms, sometimes the tips are frozen.

The length of the cold spell also is something to consider.

I DO recommend watering well before a frost. As I mentioned, mine froze to the ground their first Winters in the ground from a 1-gallon pot, but grew back each following year much larger, until they became more cold tolerant.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 2:03PM
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botanicalbill(9b SWFlorida)

Your math is off. You will need nine of them to make your 40' fence. You need to count 0 or the first plant.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 10:53PM
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I am limited on the size of the planting area to 20" inches x 6' feet. How far apart should I plant. Also, will the narrow width of my planting area affect the plant height? I'm planing on using Oldhammi. I live in New Orleans and several of my neighbors have it to block two tall apartment buildings on the block. But as I said, I'm limited in planting area

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 1:49AM
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