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Bamboo Screening for Privacy

Growing running bamboo screening for privacy is a popular option due to the bamboo’s perfect height and evergreen foliage and hardiness. Before growing the amazing running bamboo plants, it is better to find out ‘how close to the neighbour’s side or the pavement you should plant them’.

The running bamboo varieties can destabilise the pavement and patio structures or creep into the neighbour’s side if left unchecked. In this article, you’ll find out about what makes a site, the right site for planting bamboo screens in the garden.

Growing bamboo screening for privacy

Several factors will affect the choice of site for planting running bamboo near the house or close to the patio and pavement.

Where you plant the bamboo will make a lot of difference, so select the site carefully. And importantly, allowing for easy access to the bamboo plants from the start will make it easier to control the plants from spreading as they grow.

Here are some expert tips for planting bamboo screening in the right place.

Planting running bamboo screen close to neighbour’s side

Neighbours can be the best of friends or the worst of enemies. You do not want to create the latter because it does the heart no good. So, how close to the neighbour’s side should you plant running bamboo?

As a rule of thumb, plant the running bamboo at least a metre away from the neighbour’s boundary if there is no raised structure or root barrier along the boundary. The extra space will help you to reach the new and unwanted bamboo shoots and rhizomes.

How Close to the House Should You Plant Bamboo?

The running bamboo plants are invasive, their running rhizomes and long clumps can invade other spaces. Many bamboo growers have concerns that growing bamboo screening near homes could destroy the building’s foundation.

In retrospect, most building foundations are compacted and solid. The running bamboo rhizomes will not grow into them. Instead, the rhizomes will run along with the foundations where the soil is not solid, giving you a chance to trim the wandering rhizomes.

So, how far away from the house should you plant the running bamboo? The short answer is, avoid growing bamboo too close to the house, or far away from the house. Some reports have mentioned that you should plant bamboo at least 2 – 5 metres away from the building’s foundation.

A helpful guide to growing bamboo near houses is to consider how far the running bamboo ‘spreads’ as it matures. (The guide to spread and height are often provided by the sellers). For example, a bamboo that has a spread of 2 – 3 metres, plant it 4 – 7 metres away from the house. Never within 4 metres from the house. That way, there is no chance the rhizomes will reach the foundation of the house.

However, this is only a guide, you can still grow bamboo close to the house. Check out the options for containing bamboo below.

How Close to Pavement to plant bamboo

Careful when growing bamboo screening near patios and pavements. Unlike the compacted building structures, some patios and pavements laid with sand do not stand a chance against the invasive rhizome’s tips.

The bamboo tips will invade the tiny gaps between the blocks, force their way through the pavement blocks and spread very quickly. The best protection is to create a barrier using root barriers. Alternatively, dig a small trench or build a raised base (bed).

running bamboo plants UK
Narrow trench (L) and raised-wall barrier (R)

Growing bamboo screening and control ideas

Many people want to grow bamboo but fear it might spread uncontrollably. It is not like a cat-and-mouse game where the running bamboo sneaks into the neighbour’s side without you noticing. There is a high chance you will see the rhizomes and shoots if you prepare the site well before planting the bamboo screens.

It is simply about taking into consideration the site where you are planting the bamboo screens and planning how to care for the bamboo screens in the future.

Here are some practical tips for planting bamboo garden screening. Follow the tips to stop the bamboo plants from invading the neighbour’s side and destroying the patio and pavement.

  • Create an ‘Access Way’: The running bamboo plants are controllable if you create an ‘access way’. The access will enable you to monitor the bamboo shoots and the rhizome before they grow out of the way. Do this once a year, in Spring, when the new shoots and rhizome tips are germinating.
  • How to control the new shoots: Trimmed the new running bamboo shoots close to the ground in Spring to stop them from invading other spaces. You’ll need the ‘Access Way’.
  • How to control new rhizome tips: The running bamboo rhizomes are actually horizontal stems (canes). They tend to grow no deeper than half a metre underground and spread less than a couple of metres from the parent plant before surfacing. To stop the rhizomes from wandering, dig the new rhizome tips and remove them. You’ll need the ‘Access Way’

Running Bamboo ‘Access Way’ Stops Invasive Bamboo

This article places importance on creating an ‘Access Way’ when planting running bamboo plants in the garden, near the neighbour’s side or near the patio and pavement.

Without access to the running bamboo plants, it is going to be hard to monitor and control the bamboo screens as the plants grow.

Here are three options for ensuring complete control over the running bamboo.

  • Create an ‘Access Way’: Plant the bamboo at least a metre away from the boundary. This will help you to monitor the growth of the bamboo shoots and rhizome tips. Prune the shoots and tips close to the ground to stop the running bamboo from spreading. The key point is that the ‘Access Way’ helps you to get in and stop running rhizomes and shoots from growing into the neighbour’s side.
  • Build Raised-base: The raised base will help you to spot the rhizome tips as they grow out and trim them before the tips creep into the pavement or the neighbour’s side. The raised base is an effective way to identify the bamboo rhizomes from creeping un-noticed
  • Dig narrow trench 0.3m to 0.5m deep: The running bamboo rhizomes tend to grow within the top layer of the soil. As the name implies, the rhizomes are running horizontally, not deep into the soil. A narrow trench will help you to monitor the rhizomes and trim them as they grow out. The narrow trench acts as an open root barrier.
Bamboo open narrow trench barrier
Bamboo narrow trench barrier

Quick Running Bamboo Facts about bamboo screening

There are two groups of bamboo, running bamboo and clumping bamboo. The running bamboo plants grow horizontal underground stems (canes) called rhizomes. The plants are invasive. In addition, the rhizomes do not grow deep into the soil like other deciduous plants with taproots.

If left unchecked, the running bamboo plants will invade other spaces, therefore, it is important to keep them in check.

The clumping bamboo plants, as the name suggests, tend to form a cluster of clumps at the base of the plant. The plants will expand to cover the site but are not invasive.

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