A bamboo hedge is a perfect privacy screen because it grows quickly, is evergreen and, above all, durable. A bamboo does not need a lot of maintenance and is therefore a good alternative to other forms of hedges, even for gardeners with little time. But the bamboo hedge does not only offer advantages, there are also some disadvantages. If the bamboo is left to its own devices, so to speak, it will spread very quickly throughout the garden and towards the neighbors.
If a bamboo hedge is to be planted, then the advantages and disadvantages should be weighed in advance. Because once the bamboo has been planted, it can be difficult to completely remove it. In the following article, the advantages and disadvantages have therefore been listed and examined carefully.
In addition, a list of the types of bamboo suitable for a hedge was drawn up, because not all bamboo is created equal and the above advantages and disadvantages cannot always be applied to all types. At the end of the article you will find experiences from other bamboo hedge owners. This is how you can make your own opinion about bamboo as a hedge.
Bamboo is a very fast growing plant and can therefore quickly become a good privacy screen from the neighbor or the street. The bamboo has the following growth:
- Some varieties have two growth phases a year
- New bamboo stalks at their final height within a few weeks
- During a single growth phase
- Increase of up to a third of the previous hedge height
Note: The advantage of rapid growth unfortunately also entails the disadvantage of frequent cutting.
A bamboo hedge is absolutely opaque. If the hedge consists of Fargesia, the umbrella bamboo, then the plants have green and dense foliage near the ground. If a plant from the Phyllotachys variety was selected, the lower two meters remain visible as bamboo stalks and the side shoots with the leaves only develop from a height of two meters. But even this version can be completely opaque if the right cut is used.
Living protective wall
When we speak of a living protective wall, we don’t just mean the lively green of the leaves and the gentle swaying of the stems in the wind. According to the experiences that many hobby gardeners have had, a bamboo hedge can do a lot more:
- many native songbirds use a bamboo hedge
- they also breed in thick hedges
- are protected from cats or other enemies
- a big plus for bird-friendly and natural gardens
Tip: Bamboo hedges have the advantage that they not only provide privacy but also excellent sound insulation. Therefore, they are also ideally suited as a delimitation for a cozy seat in a garden corner, in which you want to end the evening undisturbed.
Bamboo plants are evergreen and can therefore offer optimal privacy and bird protection even in winter. Especially in a snowy landscape and a dreary winter garden, the green stands out strongly. Here, however, you should make sure that a bamboo variety that is adapted to the climatic zone is selected for the hedge.
The bamboo hedges are usually very easy to care for. Even garden owners without the so-called “green thumb” get along well with the care of the hedge. The maintenance here looks like this:
- Fertilize in spring and late summer
- select the months of March, May and August here
- Fold in the compost
- Use special fertilizers for bamboo plants from the trade
- pour enough
- Young plants in particular need a lot of water during long dry periods
Note: The point of casting as a disadvantage was discussed in more detail below. Experience has shown that bamboo does not tolerate drought and always needs a lot of water. You should definitely pay attention to this when you create a bamboo hedge.
Another advantage that speaks for bamboo hedges is the longevity of the plants. Because it is said that these can live between eighty and a hundred years. Of course, this only works if the care is right. The plants indicate the end of their life as follows:
- Bamboo only blooms once in a lifetime
- and that right before the end of his life
- Experience shows that the flowering phase can last over four years
- then the plant dies
Tip: However, it doesn’t matter if a single plant has reached its age and dies. All around in the hedge there are many younger plants that will quickly fill the gap again. Because the rhizome formation means that new plants are constantly growing.
Rapid expansion underground
What is an advantage fast growth on the one hand, namely the density of the hedge and the rapid regrowth of new plants, is on the other hand to be named among the disadvantages. Because the bamboo plants form subterranean root runners that can spread into the garden and even the neighboring garden and form new, undesirable plants there. Therefore, when planting a new bamboo hedge, attention should be paid to the following:
- Create a rhizome barrier
- Is available from specialist retailers
- prevents the roots from spreading unhindered
- Dig the planting hole deep enough for this
- Otherwise roots will grow under the barrier
Note: If you do not create a rhizome barrier in the area of the hedge, this can have a major impact. The bamboo plants will sprout from the ground, typically wherever they are not wanted. It will be difficult to take action against this later.
Maintenance and Cutting of a Bamboo Hedge
Since the bamboo usually grows very quickly, the hedge must also be cut and maintained frequently. The plants are well tolerated by pruning, so the pruning is not a problem in this regard. Only the work that occurs several times a year can be listed here under the disadvantages. Therefore, when cutting, the following should be observed:
- limits height growth
- supports the density
- Cut overhanging stalks regularly
- Topiary in spring after budding
- do not just cut like ornamental grasses
- Cut stems do not grow any further
- Do not cut stalks deeper than the desired hedge height
- Pay attention to the different varieties when cutting
Note: As with all other hedges in the garden, the nature conservation law also applies to the bamboo hedge, which states that you can only cut a hedge between 01.10. and 28.02. every year to avoid disturbing breeding birds.
Avoid drought with Bamboo hedges
Bamboo does not tolerate drought. This is important to know when creating a bamboo hedge. Because unlike other hedges in the garden, this must always be poured over. So when watering and avoiding drying out, the following should be observed:
- Avoid waterlogging
- Create drainage from stones in the area of the hedge
- Water daily in hot periods
- in the early morning or late evening hours
- water even on dry and cloudy days
- Watering can only be omitted on rainy days
- also make sure there is enough water in winter
- water on frost-free days
Tip: If you create the hedge and dig the planting ditch, then in addition to creating the rhizome barrier around this area, you should also fill the planting ditch with stones that meet the requirements of drainage. Due to the rhizome barrier, the water cannot run off to the side, so the additional installation of a drainage system is essential here.
Even if bamboo is quite robust, the plants still want a reasonably protected location. Especially icy winds in winter can cause problems for the actually hardy bamboo plant. Therefore, when choosing the location for the hedge, the following should be taken into account:
- not one on a north or east side
- the autumn and winter wind is often not tolerated here
- If necessary, set up a protective fence or wall first
- Place a hedge in front of it
What’s the Best Type of Bamboo for a Hedge?
Which type of bamboo is chosen for the hedge depends primarily on the space that is available and the location. Because some varieties prefer a bright and sunny location, others a more shady location. Some varieties grow very tall and in width, others do not require as much space:
- up to two meters high
- takes up a lot of space
- Branches hang heavily
Fargesia Robusta Campbell
- slender stature
- particularly suitable for narrow spaces
- for shady locations
- develops reddish stalks
- clumpy growing
- suitable for shady locations
- particularly hardy
- dense foliage
- very opaque
- gets up to five meters high
- extremely hardy
- stands out with its yellow stalks
Experience with bamboo hedges
Here I have collected some experience reports with bamboo hedges from various forums. I do not assume any guarantee for the absolute correctness;)
“My bamboo miscanthus hedge is 8 m long, 3-4 m high and one meter wide, sits completely in a rhizome barrier (ring) and is now in its third year […] There are different types of Phyllostachys, as far as I know, the Fargesia do not get so high. In the case of Phyllostachys, however, the barrier is absolutely necessary, he has even tried to break out over the top … you should let it protrude 5 cm from the earth. I think bamboo is a nice, tight demarcation to the neighbor – the advantage is: it is green even in winter and super easy to care for! “
“Well, I would advise against my brother-in-law always wanted a bamboo hedge, now has one and is absolutely not satisfied with how it grows: tall, transparent, many stems, few leaves and the worst: It grows brutally, bamboo is everywhere in the meadow, because he also set the bamboo free (and not in buckets as I recommended him) and the roots are spreading very strongly. “
“We also have a lot of bamboo ourselves, also as a hedge. Never plant Phyllostachys and Pseudosasa varieties without a rhizome barrier, otherwise the garden will soon be a bamboo forest. Beautiful hedge varieties are Phyllostachys bisettii, Ph. Humilis (4m, -20 degrees), Pseudosasa japonica (3-4m, -18 degrees), Hibanobambusa tranquilans shiroshima (3m, -18 degrees). But they already need 1.2m in width, otherwise it doesn’t look and is not opaque. Fargesia grow slowly, clump-like, I would only recommend Fargesia robusta, it is hardy and does not roll up the leaves like that. Bamboo is great, but needs a little care, especially water (even in winter) and winter protection on the feet. “
“[…] So bamboo is really easy to care for! On the contrary, I do light things up every now and then. The sticks can always be used in the garden and everything that has a diameter of less than one centimeter is then given to the horses and the rabbits, is actually just grass … ? As long as you are doing the work of laying a rhizome barrier (that was a very nice trench, the barrier is 70 cm deep), I don’t know any disadvantages and can really recommend bamboo! I would plant it again myself! “
“[…] I’ve had a bamboo hedge for 15 years and many gardeners have copied it because they were enthusiastic about the sight and everything around it.
I have fargesia on one front and foothills in another. Even in the cold winters it kept its leaves, beautiful green.
The fargesia are all beautifully knocked out again, none is broken.
I would only buy bamboo directly from a nursery I trust. I bought the foothills in a nursery on the side of the road as a fargesia, only showed after 2-3 years that it is not one, now it stands there, without a root barrier, together with hibiscus, ferns, and a monkey hat, wig bush and everyone gets along . […] “
“I have had a 10 m long bamboo hedge with ‘Phyllostachys bissetii’ for about 10 years.
absolutely insensitive bamboo;
Hedge absolutely opaque;
with me so far about 5 m high.
planted blue-eyed without a rhizome barrier;
two years later it was dug up to a depth of 120 cm on all sides and corrugated eternit plates were used as a root barrier with strong overlap;
Bamboo easily overcomes root barrier at the overlaps;
Bamboo forest in the neighbor’s garden (neighbor is happy so far, but will not stay that way);
many a sleepless night thinking of a bamboo hedge. “