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Growing Bamboo General discussion - Identification, selection, propagation, care

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Old 18th October 2006, 09:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA Arkansas
Posts: 5
Bamboo for a privacy fence in Arkansas

I am completely new to growing bamboo. Could someone please recomend what type of bamboo I would need for this cause.
I wish to grow some bamboo to provide a natural privacy fence. It would be a straight row aprox. 75 yard long. I would not want anything to grow over ten feet tall. I would like it to be a good wall. My neighbor likes to use binoculars to watch what goes on at my house as well as everyone elses. This would block his view from everyone.
Any advice on types of bamboo would be appreciated. As far as my nieghbor....oh well.

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Old 19th October 2006, 05:33 AM
Mark Meckes
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 2,374
Hi Lorelei,
A couple questions ...
What is the average minimum winter temperature in your area?
Is the area to be planted in full sun, part or full shade?

The first issue is ... clumping or running bamboo?
I don't know of any clumping bamboos adaptable to Arkansas that would be able to grow into a tall screen as you would like.

The advantage of a running bamboo is that it would take less time to fill in the 75 ft area and provide you with the screen.
The downside is that you would either need to install a rhizome barrier, root prune the edge of the planting annually to keep it in check, or give it more room to grow.
So, some question are ...
How wide do you want this hedgerow to grow?
Do you want it right next to the edge of your property?

As you have a long length of area to plant, the question is, how fast do you want to create this living screen?
Obviously the more plants you start with, and the larger the plants, the faster it would grow into a dense screen.
This brings up the issue of cost and availability.
Ideally, it's great to find a local source of 'field dug' larger plants versus smaller mail order plants, though if you're not able to find a local source, a wide selection is available from mail order bamboo nurseries.
Regarding cost, it definitely pays to check around and compare prices till you find what you want that is within your budget.

I will put together a list of possible species in my next reply after hearing back from you.

Mark Meckes -

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Old 19th October 2006, 09:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA Arkansas
Posts: 5

Thank you so much for your help. I believe the average temp is 40 degrees for the winter. It has been colder in previous years with snow and ice storms. The area I plan on planting is a mix of shade and sun. Some areas are all sun and one is all shade with a mix in between. I would like to get it thick enought to prevent him from seeing through to my house and would plant it along the edge of my property bordering his and get it thick as soon as posible.
Hope this helps. If I need to add any info just let me know.

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Old 19th October 2006, 11:19 PM
sasa fool
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: USA - Indiana, Nashville
Posts: 153
I'll toss out some names for you to consider, keep in mind that the 'listed' heights may not be realized in AR which should keep them in your target range:

Semiarundinaria okuboi - very fast to establish, quite erect, sun or shade, not likely to get much over 10 feet at maturity, should be hardy enough for AR

Hibanobambusa tranquillans - similar to above but a less upright habit and different leaf form

Brachystachyum densiflora - another qick to establish, pretty upright, not real tall but maybe more than 10 feet in AR

Semiarundinaria yashadake 'Kimmei' - my most vigorous runner, should stay under 10 feet for some time in AR, very, very attractive form with yellow culms

Pseudosasa japonica - probably another candidate

Those are my initial suggestions, I'll think more on it. Keep in mind that unless you plant on say 2-3 foot spacings which would require many plants, it will likely be 3 years before you have the solid screen density and the height will probably be below what you want until years 4-5 - just my guesses based on what I see.
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Old 20th October 2006, 07:56 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: USA - California, Los Angeles
Posts: 32

What about Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr' ? Too cold?


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Old 21st October 2006, 08:03 PM
Mark Meckes
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 2,374
Thanks for the species suggestions sasa.
Another possibility for a runner is Pleioblastus simonii, which though it can get taller, the new culms can be topped at the desired height, and this species can grow into a dense hedge.
Lorelei, I would suggest if you can, to have someone hold a tall stick, with ribbon or tape at specified heights, at locations where you would like the screen, so you know for sure the height that you would like the screen to be dense.

As bamboos taper and have less leaves at the top, you may need to add several extra feet to the desired height to ensure a thick screen.

Now, there's a saying that 'fences make good neighbors', however if
- one does not have a good relation with a neighbor ...
- the neighbor has a dislike for bamboo ...

... it is not a good idea to plant a running bamboo along a bordering property line unless a rhizome barrier is installed.
If the neighbor is maintaining/mowing the grass or has garden beds on their property right up to the border line, this may lead to more aggravation.

However if both sides like the idea of a running bamboo hedgerow between the 2 properties, bamboo is a great solution.

Regarding clumping bamboo ...

Originally Posted by ddhort View Post
What about Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr' ? Too cold?
Regards, David
Thanks David for bringing this up.
I has assumed that Arkansas winter low temperatures might cause too much damage to the tops. I don't know. Obviously the State of Arkansas has widely varying temps.

Lorelei, I would suggest asking your local garden centers if they carry any Bambusa multiplex, and how well they do in your area.
There are a number of varieties of varying heights.
The purported minimum temperature for Bambusa multiplex species is around 18 F / -8 C, but it can take a few degrees lower temperature for short periods, and though leaves will become dessicated and parched, the culms should releaf in the spring.

I found this snippet of info ...
"Arkansas has a temperate climate, warmer and more humid in the southern lowlands than in the mountainous regions. At Little Rock, the normal daily temperature ranges from 40°F (4°C) in January to 81°F (27°C) in July. A record low of –29°F (–34°C) was set on 13 February 1905 at the Pond weather station, and a record high of 120°F (49°C) was recorded on 10 August 1936 at the Ozark station."

Obviously these temperatures are extremes for the State in the last hundred years.
Our record low for Austin TX is -2 F set in 1949, but usually the low temperatures only dip into the mid/upper teens and our Bambusa multiplex species do very well.
I assumed Arkansas would get colder than here, but maybe this is not so (?)

Mark Meckes -

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