On a local chat site, a neighbor asks : “I want to plant bamboo. It’s so beautiful. Where can I find some.” Every respondent adamantly offers the same answer. “Don’t do it, because spreading bamboo is uncontrollable!”
Here’s my take on bamboo in your garden. The many warnings about bamboo spreading are absolutely true. Watching new shoots emerge in the spring is simply amazing because each of them looks so virile and grows so fast.
There are ways to contain bamboo. A 3 feet deep planting ditch lined with concrete on all four sides probably works (no joke) except for the runners that will try to grow over the top of the barrier. These top runners can easily be cut off, but as one person asked, what happens after you’ve moved on? Or carefully line your ditch with a double layer of 80 mil High-Density Polyethylene plastic. And never give up your spring runner patrol.
So why consider planting bamboo? Imagine a dense evergreen barrier 40 feet high, 3 feet wide and 20 feet long providing complete privacy even though our neighbors driveway was just on the other side of the patch. In our last home, we enjoyed bamboos wind rustled presence for decades. The birds loved it too.