To Bamboo Or Not To Bamboo: Planting For Privacy
As house blocks become smaller and garden areas follow suit, many of the things that were taken for granted, such as shade and privacy, become harder to add.
You can build a privacy screen, but this won’t work in cases where a neighbouring two-storey house overlooks a yard or swimming pool.
The logical choice is to plant trees or shrubs to create the desired effect, but even with advanced plants, it can take years to get the screening needed.
You’ll also be faced with a lifetime of pruning to keep the screen dense and, in most cases, will have plants that take up too much garden space.
The solution is simple.
Plant clumping or ‘escape-proof’ bamboo.
Bamboo is a grass, albeit a very big grass, and like lawn grasses, there are two groups, clumping and running.
Clumping bamboos develop side shoots, or culms, close to the heart of the original plant. They have shallow roots and shoot back over themselves as they age, keeping the clump dense.
Propagation is hard and involves taking divisions from the central clump. It is these characteristics that give it the name ‘escape-proof’ bamboo.
Running varieties of bamboo send out underground stems, or runners, from which culms pop up.
These can run under fences, paths and driveways, and the culms can punch through asphalt, dislodge pavers and even damage thin concrete.
Running varieties regrow quickly from even a small root section.
It is the aggressive and invasive behaviour of this group of bamboos that has given all bamboos a bad name.