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What do bamboo plants do when they meet?

Posted by vintagevixen Zone 10 FL (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 9, 09 at 11:25

Hi, I know that subject line sounds like the lead-in to a joke, but...

In all seriousness I need to know what two separate plants will do when their rhizomes reach out and touch each other. :)

I am in need of a plant that will create a very dense hedge (not a total screen necessarily, just something that cannot be walked/wiggled through).

I've been to our local bamboo farm and I prefer the look of the common bamboo (vulgaris). I'd like to plant them close together in a line about 30 feet long, and watch them expand diameters over the years. How close is okay without weakening the plants?

The bamboo farmer says they'll fight once their rhizomes meet. I guess that means we'll always have a plant, then some space, then the next plant down the line, etc. True or not? This will be a major factor in our choice.

BTW Their 7-year-old plantings on display at the farm are about 10 feet in diameter, beautiful but I don't know that I can wait a decade or more to fill in the line we want with plants spaced 10 feet apart. The planned line of bamboo is in lieu of a fence on one side of our property.

Also, we have no worries about neighbors or space issues. We'd welcome the bamboo to spread out as wide as it likes (we're on 1.5 acres bordered by street on all sides). The crucial thing is that we want the rhizomes to grow side by side, with no plant-gap-plant-gap-plant at all, over time.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What do bamboo plants do when they meet?

Just a thought, but you may want to plant them in a zig-zag formation. That way when the plants meet, each plant can grow away from it's two closest competitors, and thus giving you a more sold screen without the plants competing too much with each other.


RE: What do bamboo plants do when they meet?

Hey Kt,

Thanks for your email! I was thinking I'd go for the zig-zag technique too. That would give the bamboo "elbow room" while filling in gaps a bit. I just don't want them to stop growing at some juncture when the rhizomes get close and "fight".

RE: What do bamboo plants do when they meet?

Here in Phoenix, there are a number of Bambusa oldhamii hedges, and they are just planted in a straight line. Hedges up to 30 years old don't seem to suffer at all--although getting the old, dead culms out requires a contortionist! ;-*

RE: What do bamboo plants do when they meet?

If you get a running bamboo, you won't have to buy very many. I put in a running bamboo withn 5 plants, and in three years it was a solid hedge 100 feet long.

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