How to Choose the Right Bamboo for your Privacy Screen
Bamboo is an excellent solution to privacy issues in high-density areas and a feature in more extensive gardens. Bamboo grows quickly and can reach up to 25 feet and thrive in a 3-foot planting strip.
Bamboo is a quick-growing evergreen plant that belongs to the true grass family, Poaceae. There are more than 1000 species of bamboo in 91 different genera. This means there is a lot of diversity among them.
When choosing the bamboo that is right for your needs, there are a number of things to consider.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zones
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zones indicate what the lowest average annual temperature is in a given area. Finding out which bamboo species are compatible with your climate is the first step to choosing the bamboo for your privacy screen.
Most bamboo thrives in tropical and warm temperatures, but some species can grow even in places with cold winters where temperatures go way below freezing. Surprisingly, certain cold hardy bamboo can grow as far north as Zone 4!
Running or Clumping Bamboo?
The clumping bamboo grows in a predictable manner and is non-invasive. For that reason, many homeowners prefer it for use in privacy screens. The clumps stay in place, and because they grow from the middle out, they are easy to maintain in shape.
Running bamboo as the name suggest can send their roots running across your garden quickly and in random directions. That way they can spread over a wide area relatively fast if left unchecked.
Running bamboo have many beautiful species among them that are perfect for privacy screens. So if you wish to grow the running type, you must take measures to contain it in place. One of the best methods for that is installing a Deep Root Barrier available on Amazon.
After you know what type of bamboo you want and have double-checked the plant hardiness zone of your area it`s time for the fun part – appearance.
Bamboo varies in color height texture and diameter, and it is up to your taste to choose your favorite. The stem colors include:
The leaves of the bamboo come in a great variety reaching from 0.24 inches(6.25mm) to 23 inches (60cm) and have many colors such as variations of green, white, cream, and even blue tints.
The stems or culms of bamboo width can reach from a few inches up to 12 inches in diameter.
Some giant bamboo species height can reach a dizzying 100 feet, and some dwarf bamboos reach only inches.
Other Factors to Consider Before you Plant your Bamboo
Some bamboo are more sensitive than others, and certain bamboos thrive in certain climates. So it’s best to find out if your bamboo will be able to succeed in your area. Factors that impact bamboo include:
Most bamboo species, mainly the giant kinds but some tropical species may need shade during the hottest part of the day. Strange as it sounds, this is even more important in winter, where frost and sunlight affect water depletion.
Bamboo are not too picky when it comes to the soil but most thrive in loamy soil. Loam provides nutrients as well as drainage, which are essential for health of plants.
Rocky, soggy, and hard clay soils are not suitable for bamboo. They may cause root rot or inhibit the growth of the plants. If your land has these characteristics, you should try to improve it by adding whatever is missing. I wrote an article about improving the soil for growing bamboo.
Bamboo can be prone to wind damage, especially in cold areas and harsh winter winds.
Spacing your bamboo correctly is particularly essential when using it as a privacy screen. Experts suggest that spacing your bamboo 3 to 5 feet from each other will create a display dense enough to provide effective cover while leaving enough room for bamboo rhizome and root system.
The Pros of a bamboo Privacy Screen
Bamboo is versatile, and in the thousands of options available, you may choose by the height, color, and growing habits. You can easily match a bamboo to your local climate from warm tropical areas to cold mountain regions.
Bamboo is naturally pest-resistant so you will not have a
Bamboo is easy to grow, and low maintenance provided your soil is reasonably fertile and has adequate drainage.
The Cons of a Bamboo Privacy Screen
Some bamboo is invasive and you need to carefully monitor it`s growth to prevent it from spreading uncontrollably.
Bamboo is hard to remove once it`s well established, so if you like to change your landscape often, bamboo is not the right choice.
Bamboo can be harmful to biodiversity. In some areas, quick-growing bamboo species can overrun indigenous plants.
Bamboo screens provide a rare intersection of privacy and living beauty and are an asset to a landscape of any size.