Bamboo hedge along curving fenceline

Bamboo Hedges – A Guide To Plan, Prepare, Plant And Maintain

Bamboo hedges can be a valuable addition to a garden, offering both aesthetic appeal and practical benefits. Planning, preparing, planting, and maintaining a bamboo hedge require careful consideration of various factors.

The choice of bamboo variety is crucial, with clumping varieties being more manageable. Additionally, selecting an appropriate location that provides full sun conditions and adequate spacing is essential to avoid overcrowding.

Soil preparation involving the incorporation of organic matter and ensuring proper drainage is necessary for successful growth. When planting, it is advised to dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, backfill with soil, and thoroughly water the plant.

Regular maintenance tasks such as watering, fertilizing, and pruning are important to sustain a healthy hedge. Bamboo hedges offer advantages like privacy provision, noise reduction capabilities, and habitat creation possibilities.

Control issues can be addressed through the use of root barriers or by growing bamboo in containers. By following these guidelines diligently, individuals can enjoy the beauty of live bamboo fences while effectively managing their growth.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the appropriate bamboo variety for your hedge, considering factors such as growth rate, invasiveness, and climate suitability.
  • Select a location with full sun conditions and proper spacing to ensure optimal growth and prevent shading.
  • Prepare the soil by using well-draining soil, amending with organic matter, and adjusting pH if necessary.
  • When planting, dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly. Mulch around the base of the bamboo to retain moisture.

Choosing the Right Bamboo Variety

When choosing the appropriate bamboo variety for a hedge, it is important to consider factors such as growth rate, tolerance to different conditions, and desired aesthetic qualities.

Bambusa multiplex

Popular clumping bamboo varieties include Bambusa Multiplex (Golden Goddess) and Alphonse Karr. These varieties spread slowly and are easier to control.

For warmer regions, Bambusa Textilis Gracilis is compact and suitable. Bambusa Malingensis (Seabreeze) is non-invasive and can tolerate coastal conditions.

Fargesia Robusta grows to 12-20 feet and has a checkered pattern which adds an interesting aesthetic appeal.

It’s important to choose a variety that suits your specific region’s climate and gardening needs. By considering the growth characteristics of different bamboo varieties, you can ensure that your hedge will thrive in its intended location while also providing the desired aesthetic appeal. 

The following table lists some species suitable for use as a hedge.

Bamboo SpeciesApproximate Growth HeightVarietyDistinguishing CharacteristicsUSDA Hardiness Zones
Bambusa malingensis30-40 feetClumpingDense foliage, good for privacy screens9-11
Bambusa multiplex10-20 feetClumpingDense, good for windbreaks and privacy screens8-11
Fargesia nitida10-15 feetClumpingCold hardy, good for privacy screens5-9
Pseudosasa japonica10-18 feetRunningLarge leaves, good for windbreaks7-10
Fargesia murielae10-13 feetClumpingCold hardy, good for privacy screens5-9
Fargesia robusta ‘Campbell’10-15 feetClumpingSun tolerant, good for privacy screens7-9
Please note that the USDA Hardiness Zones are a guide and the actual suitability can vary based on local conditions. Also note that the growth height can vary based on the growing conditions and care provided.

Choosing the Location

Selecting an appropriate site is crucial for the successful growth and development of a bamboo privacy hedge. When choosing the location, there are several factors to consider.

First, bamboo plants require full sun conditions for optimal growth, so it is important to select an area that receives ample sunlight throughout the day. Additionally, taller varieties of bamboo need more light for foliage production, so keep this in mind when deciding on placement. It is also advisable to avoid planting near tall trees that may shade the bamboo hedge.

Proper spacing between plants is essential to prevent overcrowding and promote healthy growth. For running bamboo varieties, plant them about 5 feet apart, while clumping bamboo can be spaced around 3 feet apart. This will allow enough room for each plant to spread without competing for resources.

It is important to prepare the soil before planting by using well-draining soil to avoid water-clogging and rotting of roots. If the soil is porous and alkaline, adding organic content like compost and acidifying materials can help improve its fertility. On the other hand, if the soil is too acidic, lime can be added to increase pH levels.

To ensure successful establishment of a bamboo hedge, it’s necessary to remove any weeds or grass from the planting site as they can compete with young plants for nutrients and water. Consider using planter boxes as an alternative option if easier maintenance or containment is desired.

Preparing the Soil and Site

To create an optimal growing environment for a bamboo privacy hedge, it is essential to ensure that the soil is well-prepared and suitable for the plant’s needs. This can be achieved through proper soil preparation and site selection. Here are some key steps to consider:

Soil Preparation:

  • Test the soil pH and adjust if necessary. Bamboo prefers slightly acidic to neutral pH levels.
  • If the soil is porous and alkaline, add organic content like compost and acidifying materials.
  • If the soil is too acidic, add lime to increase pH levels.
  • Clay and heavy soils tend to retain water, leading to root rot. Improve drainage by adding organic material and sand.

Organic Amendments:

  • Incorporate organic matter into the soil for better nutrient retention.

Drainage Improvement:

  • Ensure good drainage by amending heavy or clayey soils with organic matter and sand.

Container Planting:

  • Consider using high-quality potting mixes with excellent drainage when planting bamboo in containers.


Proper spacing and careful transplantation techniques are crucial factors to consider for the successful establishment of a thriving bamboo privacy hedge. When planting bamboo, it is essential to provide adequate spacing between plants to allow for optimal growth and prevent overcrowding. For running bamboo varieties, a spacing of 5 feet apart is recommended, while clumping bamboo needs 3 feet of spacing.

Fargesia robusta

Transplanting should be done carefully to avoid damaging the root ball, ensuring that the bamboo is planted slightly deeper than it was in the pot. Another option to consider is growing bamboo in containers, which allows for better control over its growth and provides suitable conditions for planting.

When to Plant

Timing is an important consideration when establishing a bamboo privacy hedge, as choosing the right season for planting can greatly impact the success of the hedge. Here are three key points to consider:

  1. Bamboo hedge spacing: Proper spacing between bamboo plants is crucial for their healthy growth. Running bamboo should be planted approximately 5 feet apart, while clumping bamboo requires about 3 feet of spacing.

  2. Proper transplanting techniques: When transplanting bamboo, it’s important to handle the plants with care to avoid damaging the root ball. Plant them slightly deeper than they were in the pot, adding compost and watering deeply to ensure proper establishment.

  3. Container gardening with bamboo: Growing bamboo in containers can provide better control over its growth and prevent spreading. Choose large containers with good drainage and use high-quality potting mixes for optimal growth.

Maintaining the Hedge

Maintaining a bamboo hedge is crucial to ensure its optimal appearance and health. This involves implementing proper pruning techniques, managing pests and diseases, watering effectively, following a fertilizing schedule, and providing winter protection.

Pruning should be performed when new shoots aren’t protruding from the ground, typically in late winter or early spring. It is important to remove old, dead, and unattractive canes and branches while considering trimming the top and lateral branches for a desired rounded or squared look.

Pest and disease management should involve regular monitoring of the hedge for signs of infestation or infection and taking appropriate action such as using organic insecticides or fungicides.

Watering techniques require keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged by providing regular deep watering sessions rather than frequent shallow ones.

Fertilizing should be done with nitrogen-rich grass fertilizer during the growing season according to a specific schedule tailored to your bamboo variety’s needs.

Lastly, winter protection may include wrapping the bamboo with burlap or applying mulch around the base to insulate it from extreme cold temperatures.

General maintenance activities

  • Remove old, dead, and unattractive canes and branches.
  • Consider trimming the top and lateral branches for desired shape.
  • Regularly monitor for signs of infestation or infection.
  • Take appropriate action using organic insecticides or fungicides.
  • Maintain cleanliness around the hedge area.
  • Keep soil moist but not waterlogged.
  • Provide regular deep watering sessions rather than frequent shallow ones.
  • Apply nitrogen-rich grass fertilizer during growing season according to specific schedule tailored to bamboo variety’s needs.|

Winter Protection

  • Wrap bamboo with burlap to insulate it from extreme cold temperatures.
  • Apply mulch around the base to provide additional insulation. |

Benefits of a Live Fence

The installation of a live bamboo fence offers various advantages beyond its primary function as a privacy screen. It can significantly reduce noise levels, providing a peaceful and tranquil environment in your garden.

Additionally, the aesthetic appeal of a bamboo hedge enhances the overall beauty of your landscape, adding a touch of elegance and exoticism.

Furthermore, bamboo hedges serve as habitats for wildlife, attracting birds and insects that contribute to biodiversity in your garden.

Another benefit is that bamboo fences create a microclimate by providing shade and cooling effects. The dense foliage acts as a natural barrier against harsh sunlight, helping to maintain lower temperatures in the surrounding area.

Lastly, live bamboo fences help to absorb air pollution by filtering out harmful pollutants from the atmosphere.

Control Issues

Control issues can arise when growing bamboo hedges, requiring effective management strategies to prevent invasive spread and potential damage to surrounding plants.

To deal with the spread of running bamboo, installing a root barrier is recommended. A root barrier is usually made of polyethylene plastic and is designed to operate much like an underground fence to contain the root system. Regularly trimming the roots can also help control their spread, especially when the plant is young.

Additionally, growing bamboo in containers provides better control over its growth and prevents it from suffocating other plants.

Choosing clumping bamboo varieties instead of running ones can also make it easier to manage the hedge’s growth and prevent it from becoming invasive.

Care Guide Overview

A comprehensive care guide is essential for ensuring the health and vitality of your bamboo hedge. To promote optimal growth, it is important to understand the benefits of mulching.

Mulching helps retain moisture in the soil, provides warmth during colder months, and enriches the soil with nutrients as it breaks down over time.

Watering is another crucial aspect of bamboo hedge care. Young bamboo plants should be watered frequently to establish their root systems, while established plants generally require about an inch of water per week.

bamboo screen hedge

Pruning is necessary to maintain the desired height and shape of your bamboo hedge. It is best to prune when new shoots are not protruding from the ground, typically in late winter or early spring. Remove old, dead, and unattractive canes and branches for a cleaner appearance.

Common pests and diseases that may affect bamboo include aphids, spider mites, fungal infections like powdery mildew, and root rot. Regular monitoring and appropriate action are necessary to prevent damage.

If you want to propagate your bamboo hedge or expand its size, you can do so through division or by taking cuttings from established plants. Ensure proper planting techniques when propagating to ensure successful growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a bamboo hedge?

A: A bamboo hedge is a row of bamboo plants that are planted close together to form a dense barrier or screen.

Q: How tall can a bamboo hedge grow?

A: The height of a bamboo hedge depends on the specific species of bamboo you choose. Some species can grow up to 30 feet tall.

Q: How fast does a bamboo hedge grow?

A: Bamboo is known for its fast growth rate. Depending on the species, a bamboo hedge can reach its full height in as little as three years.

Q: What are some tips for maintaining a bamboo hedge?

A: Some tips for maintaining a bamboo hedge include regular pruning to control the height and shape, providing adequate water and nutrients, and monitoring for any signs of pests or diseases.

Q: Why is bamboo a popular choice for hedges?

A: Bamboo is one of the most popular choices for hedges because it is easy to maintain, fast-growing, and provides a tight hedge that offers privacy and beauty.

Q: Can bamboo be used for screening?

A: Yes, bamboo is a great option for screening as it can create a natural and attractive barrier between different areas of your garden or property.