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is it possible? Question from a bamboo nerd.

Posted by klew Z7b/8, NE PDX, OR (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 13, 10 at 23:25

(I think) I want to have bamboo bed about 20' by 6', with 10-20' tall shafts. I want to hear the clacking of the shafts, I want the privacy and sound-deadening qualities of a hedge.

I live in Portland, Oregon, near the Columbia Gorge, which means wind, wind, wind; occasional freezing rain, snow, etc. Zone 7b, more or less, with rambunctious winds.

I'm willing to water, but I can't have runners invading every part of the property, as my neighbors would hate me and I would curse the day I was born.

Thanks for your thoughts.


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RE: is it possible? Question from a bamboo nerd.

  • Posted by kudzu9 Zone 8b, WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 14, 10 at 2:15

Definitely possible, and you have one of the largest and nicest bamboo nurseries in the Pacific NW available to you: Bamboo Garden of Portland. You sound like you are a little more nervous about bamboo running than you need to be. People who have trouble with bamboo are people who plant it, never do anything to control it, and, after 5-10 years of letting it go, decide that it's a terrible plant. I am in the Seattle area and grow about 80 varieties of bamboo in my yard. Most of the runners are controlled by rhizome (root) pruning, which involves chopping around the circumference of each grove about 1-2 times a year with a pickaxe and chopping off and removing any rhizomes that have advanced beyond the perimeter I want to maintain. You can also go to the work of installing bamboo barrier, which might be advisable if you intend to allow bamboo to grow within several feet of your property line. I have used barrier in my yard in a few key places where the bamboo is within a foot or two of my asphalt driveway and I can't always be sure that I'll intercept stray rhizomes in time that want to dive under my driveway. So I have barrier on one, long side and it wraps in at the ends, but is open on the fourth side, where I just rhizome prune. Rhizome pruning is relatively easy to do because the rhizomes are usually within a maximum of about 10" under the surface, and usually much less. However, if you worry about how beautiful your lawn is (I don't) you will have some visible damage for a while to the grass after you rip out chopped off rhizomes. You don't need to worry about getting all the fragments out of the ground, and many chopped off rhizomes just die anyway. But, if you want to be sure, it's best to pull out the part you've amputated.

One other thing to consider is that there are many clumping bamboo that will grow well and be evergreen for you in your location, and this would allow you to avoid worries about invasiveness and bamboo barrier installation.

The folks at Bamboo Garden have a nice web site, and it shows how you install barrier if you decide to go that route. They have reasonable prices and are also very knowledgeable, so you will get good, reliable advice on the best bamboo choices for your situation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bamboo Garden

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