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Running bamboo


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I had some red cedars die off due to the extreme weather lately that were screening the neighbors and, well, this has created some space that needs filling - fast. Its an area that is about 30ft x 10ft in size. I was planning to mix 2 or 3 types of running bamboo. I will use some bamboo shield to prevent this from getting out of control. Any tips on affordable barriers are welcome!

Although I am using several clumpers, I have no experience with running bamboo! Are there any that you would recommend? I am basically 8b on average with temperatures often dipping in the single digits. We can have lengthy droughts with temperatures in the triple digits for months. Any pictures for inspiration would be welcome. I am thinking at least one with very dark and/or thick culms!

~ S 

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This is always a great place to start.  I have visited them in person, its a huge operation.  At the very least they have lot of valuable info on their website.

https://www.bamboogarden.com/bamboo-types

Might want to look here:

https://www.bamboogarden.com/browse-midsize-running

 

 

 

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As someone who works with bamboo in a public garden setting I'd generally never recommend bamboo (just find it to be a lot of upkeep to look nice and it is a huge host for a very bad invasive ant present in FL and TX) but since you are using actual proper barriers then go for it if you want as long as there are reviews of it in TX. i do notice a lot of species even here can get burnt up without irrigation and too much sun.

Main thing I recc is get something with thinner canes you can easily cut out with loppers rather than having to saw out, makes a huge difference in upkeep and disposal

i have potted black running bamboo (i like the look of the black, would never plant in ground lol). i also have Arundinaria gigantea which is the native running bamboo species. despite name it is not that big compared to the Asian species, i think it tops out at 15-20 feet. it is native to wetter habitats though and is good for a raingarden or drainage bed, i think it gets stunted in other conditions. it once formed vast ecosystems known as canebreaks which are one of the most lost ecosystem types in the southern us and is only host to southern pearly eye (pretty butterfly).

not sure if it occurs where you live, hard to tell from maps

 

Arundinaria gigantea.png

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Collector of native, ornithophilous, Stachytarpheta, iridescent, and blue or teal-flowering plants

 

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you usually regret planting running bamboo --- I planted them here in Jax--- kept em in check for 10 years but a hurricne and some health problems  allowed them to spread === and I got em en

croaching on my cycads 

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Agree w/ other thoughts on avoiding runners...  Yes, some are less of a potential invader as others but, down there, i'd be more weary of them escaping than here where a few are grown, and haven't been all that aggressive -for obvious reasons.

Agree too that ..if not irrigated enough, pretty much any bamboo will look pretty ragged after a long hot and dry summer..

As far as barriers...  I myself wouldn't totally trust that they'd completely contain 'em.  Some runners can crack cement slabs / push up through Asphalt to get where ever they want..

Yes, it's one of the more aggressive of the runners but my grandparents thought they could contain a clump of Black Bamboo they were growing in a 3ft tall 6'W x 14'L  concrete planter ( Walls approx 6" thick )  Darn Bamboo menace managed to escape and popped up half way across the yard next door, and about 30ft away from where it was " contained " in the planter,  in another yard behind my grandparents.. 

Pretty, ..but all of it was yanked immediately.


 

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I’d say DONT plant the running types, just use multiple clumping ”clumps” to fill in the space where you desire the bamboo. The clumps will eventually expand, but not aggressively like the runners. 

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On 2/26/2024 at 9:31 PM, Swolte said:

I had some red cedars die off due to the extreme weather lately that were screening the neighbors and, well, this has created some space that needs filling - fast. Its an area that is about 30ft x 10ft in size. I was planning to mix 2 or 3 types of running bamboo. I will use some bamboo shield to prevent this from getting out of control. Any tips on affordable barriers are welcome!

Although I am using several clumpers, I have no experience with running bamboo! Are there any that you would recommend? I am basically 8b on average with temperatures often dipping in the single digits. We can have lengthy droughts with temperatures in the triple digits for months. Any pictures for inspiration would be welcome. I am thinking at least one with very dark and/or thick culms!

~ S 

Can't recommend a variety,  but quality bamboo barrier is not cheap.  Lewis Bamboo sells their brand Bamboo Shield on amazon...I used it around my pool to keep the oak roots from growing into it.

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Thanks for the input!

Bamboo impressed me during the last two droughts here in Texas. I had multiplex staying green in 3 months of full blistering sun, 100+ heat, and zero water. The issue is that my clumpers die back in the winters here when temps hit the low teens (or worse) which is now more the rule than the exception. Not much of screener therefore and choices for attractive evergreen clumpers are limited.

The running bamboo are listed as hardier and frankly, many look more attractive (seen that Phyllostachys Viridis “ Robert Young” from @TonyDFW at his home in Dallas?). Although I normally avoid aggressive plants, I figured that it should be manageable with a good root barrier.   

18 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Yes, it's one of the more aggressive of the runners but my grandparents thought they could contain a clump of Black Bamboo they were growing in a 3ft tall 6'W x 14'L  concrete planter ( Walls approx 6" thick )  Darn Bamboo menace managed to escape and popped up half way across the yard next door, and about 30ft away from where it was " contained " in the planter,  in another yard behind my grandparents.. 

There must have been some cracks in that concrete! Although I am skeptical such aggressiveness would happen in my soil and weather conditions, stories like these do scare me. Perhaps I should stick with less aggressive runners (boo, really wanted a black one) and a high quality barrier.

Good barriers, as @Scott W says, do introduce a serious cost concern. I never realized plastic can so expensive! 

~ S

 

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I'd definitely agree with the "small enough to cut with loppers" recommendation.  I planted a bunch of boos and ended up ripping out all but two of the "big boos."  My replacement rule is under 1" diameter and under 20' max height.  At that size a regular lopper can cut through anything but a "solid" type culm.  Bigger than 1 inch makes it tough or impossible with loppers.  Over 20 feet tall gets top heavy when pruning and difficult to cut and carry out to dispose of.

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I was going to plant some bamboos myself for privacy along 2 areas of my fence.

I know about runners and would never buy them.

Now after reading the posts here, i am not sure.

I am in 8a southeast USA. My yard is very tropical looking. I don’t want anything local that won’t look tropical.

I need something thick, that grows fairly fast, does not spread and fit well with palms and bananas.

Thanks

 

Pat

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If you can, go to a local botanical garden or extension office and observe some bamboo in person and get a feel for their ultimate look and size in person. I just have a common Alphonse Karr, but it's gotten massive.

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Woodville, FL

zone 8b

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On 2/26/2024 at 8:31 PM, Swolte said:

I had some red cedars die off due to the extreme weather lately that were screening the neighbors and, well, this has created some space that needs filling - fast. Its an area that is about 30ft x 10ft in size. I was planning to mix 2 or 3 types of running bamboo. I will use some bamboo shield to prevent this from getting out of control. Any tips on affordable barriers are welcome!

Although I am using several clumpers, I have no experience with running bamboo! Are there any that you would recommend? I am basically 8b on average with temperatures often dipping in the single digits. We can have lengthy droughts with temperatures in the triple digits for months. Any pictures for inspiration would be welcome. I am thinking at least one with very dark and/or thick culms!

~ S 

If you are going close to a neighbor fence/property line do not plant running bamboo even with a barrier.  It will eventually sneak over or thru and piss off the neighbor.  For small screening areas I plant in containers.   If you have a big area around the bamboo it can be maintained with just mowing shoots.    Bamboo runners can generally pop up as far out as it is tall.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=do5iT9HUiI4

 

Edited by Allen
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YouTube https://www.youtube.com/@tntropics - 60+ In-ground 7A palms - (Sabal) minor(7 large + 27 seedling size, 3 dwarf),  brazoria(1) , birmingham(4), etonia (1) louisiana(5), palmetto (1), riverside (1),  (Trachycarpus) fortunei(7), wagnerianus(1),  Rhapidophyllum hystrix(7),  15' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia capitata(1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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2 hours ago, Allen said:

If you are going close to a neighbor fence/property line do not plant running bamboo even with a barrier.  It will eventually sneak over or thru and piss off the neighbor.  For small screening areas I plant in containers.   If you have a big area around the bamboo it can be maintained with just mowing shoots.    Bamboo runners can generally pop up as far out as it is tall.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=do5iT9HUiI4

I'd still have 100ft before I hit my neighbor so this would not be a concern for me. 

Thanks for sharing that video. I had not thought of putting them in containers. Perhaps this is a way for me to still have some of the very aggressive but very beautiful black bamboo...  One concern, for me, would be the watering requirements which are likely even more demanding in pots. You (I assume this is your channel @Allen) mentioned quite an intense watering schedule. I assume you can leave these runners alone for a month or two in summer without water (once established) as you can with the clumpers? 

I bought a clump of  Phyllostachys Viridis “ Robert Young”, yesterday. Some online descriptions describe its behavior more like a slow/clumper so I think I am good here.

~ S

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1 hour ago, Swolte said:

I'd still have 100ft before I hit my neighbor so this would not be a concern for me. 

Thanks for sharing that video. I had not thought of putting them in containers. Perhaps this is a way for me to still have some of the very aggressive but very beautiful black bamboo...  One concern, for me, would be the watering requirements which are likely even more demanding in pots. You (I assume this is your channel @Allen) mentioned quite an intense watering schedule. I assume you can leave these runners alone for a month or two in summer without water (once established) as you can with the clumpers? 

I bought a clump of  Phyllostachys Viridis “ Robert Young”, yesterday. Some online descriptions describe its behavior more like a slow/clumper so I think I am good here.

~ S

Not in summer bamboo in pots will need water daily.   I have a bamboo expert friend who has 150 kinds of bamboo here and mows the shoots down to contain them.  I haven't personally done that but if you have at least 40' all around you can knock over or mow down new shoots to stop spread.   I think Robert young is a pretty large bamboo

Edited by Allen

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/@tntropics - 60+ In-ground 7A palms - (Sabal) minor(7 large + 27 seedling size, 3 dwarf),  brazoria(1) , birmingham(4), etonia (1) louisiana(5), palmetto (1), riverside (1),  (Trachycarpus) fortunei(7), wagnerianus(1),  Rhapidophyllum hystrix(7),  15' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia capitata(1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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@Hardypalms there are a few clumping bamboos that are rated for the mid teens, but in a real 8A you can expect some leaf and culm loss.  Multiplex, Textilis, and Tuldoides are I think the toughest.  They are rated at 12-17, depending on who you ask.

If I had acreage or a 100ft border (and a brushhog) I would consider a runner.  I guess it depends on what you mean by hedge or screen...I usually think of something a few feet thick.  But a bamboo would do a 10 or 20 or 30 foot thick screen great.  I would never plant a runner on a city sized lot, ever.  Even clumpers can be a serious pain on large city sized lots.

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@Hardypalms  if you want to see my experiences digging out clumping boos that  grew too big, see photos starting about 2/3 the way down the first page and a lot of the 2nd page:

 

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Merlyn

Thanks for pointing to this thread. They are really gorgeous!

Thxs

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Posted (edited)

Dangit, @Merlyn, you sure did a number on that thread! It makes me tired just looking at some of those pics... Had you left your house for a study abroad trip for a year, you probably wouldn't have been able to find the door anymore upon your return, hehe. I can see they love Florida. Any 'running' bamboo you'd (still) recommend? Ones that are small/medium and aren't as aggressive?

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After my experience with running bamboo in NY,  my recommendation is NEVER to plant it.  I planted it with a barrier, and the culms were contained until...

Then one day, I saw it growing outside of the restricted area.  Eventually, it spread 100 feet along my fence.  I was constantly cutting it back, and the only thing that kept it out of the lawn was the weekly lawn mowing.  I sold the house, and the folks that bought it were not, shall we say, good at upkeep.  When I visited my previous neighbor a few years later, the ENTIRE back yard of about 1/8 acre (the property was 1/3 acre) was taken over by the bamboo.  It ate the shade garden with numerous daffodils, >100 hostas consisting of 65 varieties, the perennial garden, and eventually required a back hoe to remove.

Down the road a bit, in a more wooded area, another grove of bamboo invaded two or three houses.  

Even clumping bamboo will spread eventually, but it takes many years.  

FYI:  "New York State specifically prohibits planting of two species of bamboo - Golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) and Yellow Grove bamboo (Phyllostachys aureosulcata)."

As Nike wouldn't say, "Just DON'T do it!"

 

Bruce

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@Swolte I still have 24 clumping boos in the ground here, and 4 more in pots waiting for a good spot to plant.  I still do have Dendrocalamus Latiflorus (60' 4-7"), Maroochy (35' 4-8"), and MaximusLamina (60' 3-4"), but these are all planted with easy clear "drop zones" where I could cut a culm and just let it fall into a grassy area.  The others are all 20' max height and 1" max diameter, stuff like Bambusa "Kenilworth," Multiplex "Fernleaf", Subtruncata, Textilis "RG Dwarf", Dendrocalamopsis Variostriata, Dendrocalamus Dumosus, Elegans, Longliensis, etc. 

In a real zone 8b you have tons of clumping options.  Any Textilis, Tuldoides or Multiplex is reliably hardy into the mid teens.  If you want BIG and dense, Maligensis/Seabreeze is a rapid grower and really dense with an 18F rating.  I removed mine because it wants to be a 30' diameter clump, and I put it in a spot with 6-10' clear space.  Farinacea is supposed to be 17F hardy and a tight clumper.  "Doli Blue" is really beautiful and 17F hardy too.  Dissimulator "Dragon's Nest" is 18F and an impenetrable screen.  My understanding is that these ratings are for culm hardiness, and you might lose some leaves or culms at those temps.  So if you absolutely need no loss you'd want a Multiplex like Golden Goddess (12F) or most of the Textilis like "RG Dwarf" (15F). 

Keep in mind that most boos are naturally branchless/leafless in the bottom 1/3 or bottom 1/2 of the culm.  So a 20' tall culm probably wont' have much in the way of leaves on the bottom 6' or so.  It varies by species, and there are some with dense leaves to the ground.  A "tight clumper" will help with sight/sound block in the lower half, just because it'll have more culms packed into the space.

If I had 10 acres I'd consider a running boo.  Otherwise...nope!  :D It's not a question of "if" they escape the barrier, but "when."  And when they get out, they'll invade the root space of your palms and other plants, and you'll end up killing your nearby plants when trying to contain the boo.  On the risk-reward scale these are all risk and no reward, IMO.

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I certainly wouldn't even look at running bamboo.  A number of friends over the years have had a very hard job of getting rid of it after planting some. I have ten clumpers, three of them really  big. Even they take a bit of maintenance.

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