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Q: How do I keep bamboo from growing where I dont want?

A: The easiest way to prevent unwanted bamboo growth is to install a root barrier between the bamboo grove and the bamboo-free zone. Dig a trench approximately 24-36 inches deep there are many online nursery supply stores that carry root barrier. You can also control the grove manually by  simply mowing or kicking over the new shoots that come up in places you don’t want

Q: Can I plant in the winter?

A: I’ve planted bamboo at all times of the year, but as a general rule you shouldn’t plant within a month of the first hard freeze.

Q: How much do i water it?

A: Although many bamboo varieties are drought tolerant, watering for establishment is essential. Water bamboo one to two times weekly (depending on soil type) for the first 3 to 6 months until fully established.  You may need to do this daily in very hot dry conditions to help the new plants get established. In general, bamboo needs about 1 inch of water every 7-10 days, depending on conditions. The edges of the leaves will roll up when the bamboo needs watering.

Q: Can I prune the bamboo without hurting it?

A: There are no hard and fast rules about pruning. Some people prefer a dense-looking grove while others remove canes to have a more open appearance. Always remove dead canes. A general rule of thumb is to remove canes that are 5-7 years old. Use a good pair of shears to cleanly remove the cane at the soil line.

Q: Why isnt my bamboo growing?

A: The plant you receive is full grown. I had a hard time explaining this to my grandfather as he insisted it should be getting bigger due to his regular fertilizing. Bamboo shoots in the spring and quickly reaches the maximum size for that particular cane. The following year you will get more plants coming up  that will reach a larger size, and this will repeat each spring. As the root system grows stronger each year, the plants grow bigger.

Q: My bamboo doesn’t seem to be spreading very quickly

A: Each year you should get some new canes coming up near the original plant.. be careful not to mow them in the spring. I usually mulch 4 or 5 feet all the way around my bamboo and as the grove spreads my mulch goes with it. I have found that around year 4 you get a huge explosion of new canes. The vast majority of bamboo growth happens under the ground… as the root system expands its only a matter of time before the new canes come in bunches.

Q: Why does my bamboo have yellowing leaves?

A: Bamboo often has yellow leaves during certain times of the year. The yellow ones will normally drop off and be replaced by fresh green ones.

Q: What are the main differences between running bamboo and clumping bamboo?

 Clumping bamboo has a much different root structure and expands very slowly. I dont have very much direct experience with clumping bamboo, but have read a quite a bit on the subject. Clumping bamboo, while not very invasive, is generally not very popular in colder climates, as I have heard it gets very ragged looking and doesn't perform well in variety of climates. Running bamboo generally spreads quickly but is very hardy and tolerant of many different types of climates and soils.
Most of the folks I know that have grown clumping and running types are in complete agreement that running bamboo is the way to go for most applications

Q: What would be the best species for zone 7. I live near Chattanooga,TN. However, our soil is clay based and last year it was very hot and dry. Do all species require a lot of water?

Chattanooga isnt a ton different than the climate here, except for perhaps a little higher average temperatures. Most people believe that bamboo likes swampy or wet ground but it doesn't. Most temperate running bamboo species require well drained soil to thrive, in fact, swampy or wet ground will likely kill many bamboo varieties. You could probably grow almost any type of bamboo in your climate zone (with the exception of the tropical varieties). What species would be the best is based on what you want it for, or what effect you are looking to create. If you wanted giant bamboo 50+ feet tall there are lots to choose from. Some of the most common are moso, vivax, japanese timber or nigra henon. If you wanted bamboo to use as a privacy screen there are many types that work very well. For tall screens 20-25ft tall you would want Yellow groove, red margin, Decora, or david bissett as they all grow very dense. For slightly smaller screens you might go with arrow bamboo, humilis, or dwarf david bissett, as they range in the 15-18 ft tall range. There are literally hundreds of good choices for your planting zone. I have several groves planted on clay hillsides, they do fine, especially with a good layer of mulch and occasional fertilizing. Bamboo is in the grass family, so a good rule of thumb is that if grass will grow so will bamboo.

Q: live in Sedalia Mo,
I would like to get a bamboo type that would do well here and survive –10 or better on occasion.
I would eventually make a row aprox. 5 x 20 which would be for privacy and any where between 6 to 20 feet high.
Let me know what type of bamboo I should order and how many

All bamboo types are going to take some damage when the temps drop to -10 range. All the top growth may even be killed during a long period of such temperatures...but bamboo is versatile and will come back from the root system the following spring even if this does happen. A good 6-8inch layer of mulch will help protect your plants..Probably the best 3 choices for your region would be David Bissett, Phylostachys Nuda, or Yellow Groove. Of those 3 my personal favorite is yellow groove.. it is just an all around tough bamboo.. and holds up well during extreme cold. How many you want to plant is really up to you.. you cant overplant bamboo.. the more/bigger plants you start with the faster your grove will become established. My prices on the website include shipping for single plant purchases.. I do, however offer discounts for multiple plant purchases.

Q: On an unrelated note, can you say more about containment? We are considering a fully enclosed barrier versus a half enclosed barrier and a trench. Do you have a suggestion? We are in PA in zone 6.

We're also worried about winter flop into the neighbors' yard. Can they be easily maintained at 15 feet by trimming?

Yellow Groove isnt extremely agressive in zone 6. I planted a #5 plant about 6 years ago and it has spread to about a 20ft diameter grove. When the canes start coming up where I dont want I either dig them up for sale or mow them with the riding mower in the spring. Another thing you can do if you dont want to completely contain the grove with root barrier is to go around the edges of the grove with a shovel, severing the rhizomes that are running outward. Bamboo roots do not run deep.. usually just a few inches below the surface. You can prune the height of your grove to whatever you desire. The good thing is you only have to prune a cane one time and it will stay that size for good

Q: Hi, I see a price list, but how many plants do I get for the $45-65.00?  How far apart do I plant for a privacy screen that needs to be about 300 feet long?

Each bamboo division will come as one rootball in #2 #3 or #5 gallon nursery container. Many have multiple canes in one pot but they are all part of the same root system so shouldn't be divided. The #2 sizes are normally 2-3 feet tall the #3 sizes 3-6ft tall and the #5 sizes 6+ feet tall but the larger sizes must be pruned to fit in the box for shipping. Spacing is really a matter of budget and depends on how fast you want your screen. The more and larger size plants you start with the faster you will have the results you are looking for. Starting with a single plant would, in time, create a 300 ft long grove but this might take 20+ years. If you want a solid 300ft screen in 4-5 years you would need to space about 15 ft apart. Other factors that would influence the speed of your screen would be fertilizer, good soil, sunlight, and what variety you choose (because some varieties spread faster than others). For folks that wish to purchase larger numbers of plants they often come out better to drive to the nursery and pick-up or schedule a delivery for a flat rate, as i knock quite a bit off the price per plant since it is very expensive to ship these large divisions via ups.

Q: My husband and I recently bought a house in Charlotte, NC and we would like to have a bamboo grove in our back yard to block the neighboring houses.
I would love to get your input as to what type of bamboo is best for us and how many divisions we'd need to start out with to have a sufficient grove in a few years.

There are many varieties that will do great in the Charlotte area. What size of bamboo are you looking for? One that grows really tall 50+ feet with large diameter canes (4-5 inches) or a medium size bamboo that maxes out at around 2inches in diameter and 30 feet tall or so?. Or a smaller height bamboo in the 12-18 ft tall range? The species you pick will determine the maximum height of your grove (although it will take several years for the new canes to reach their maximum potential. If a thick, dense privacy screen is what you are after generally the medium/smaller size bamboos form a denser grove and they have limbs closer to the ground. The giant bamboo varieties normally spread out just a little more and form a more open grove with tall canes that may not have any limbs for the first 10 feet or so. It really just boils down to the type of effect you want to create. Starting with one large size plant generally yields about a 15 foot circular, diameter grove in about 4 years, although the species, the planting conditions, fertilizing, mulch, water, sunlight, etc. will play a part in how fast your grove gets established. You cant really overplant bamboo so basically the more plants you start with the quicker you will have a solid grove so it depends on how big of a grove you are looking to get and how fast you want it.

Feel free to email me with any other questions: gohooper4@frontier.com