There are a lot of different ways to plant your new plants, and you should think through as carefully as you can what the ultimate look is that you are after. We suggest that when planning for in-ground plantings that you remain as flexible as possible for the first few years. As with other plants, many gardeners change their minds from time to time about how they want the garden to look. Very few gardens look the same 3 or 4 years later. The really good news is that bamboo is far more adaptable to change than many other plants, such as trees or shrubs. You literally can change the “footprint” or contours of your grove as you see fit from one year to the next with very little effort. Ask us to show you how. You can see examples here at the nursery, or check this video for some ideas:
Now let’s look at some of your options:
1. Above Ground Containers- These may be pots of any shape or size, as long as you remember that a small pot might freeze all the way through in a cold winter, killing your bamboo. Big pots generally don’t do that. You will see commercial installations in downtown Nashville which use custom built planters effectively, sometimes made of metal (505 Church St., 222 3rd Ave. N., etc.) Several residential customers purchased water troughs from TSC or co-op up to 8' long and decorated or painted them. 1 plant/linear foot makes a nice screen immediately.
2. Above Ground Permanent Containers-(sometimes called hardscapes)-One customer built one raised bed 2’ high, 8’ deep and 100’ long, then another on the other side of their entrance 75’ long. They packed it full with timber bamboos in two rows with all the plants touching each other in the ground. The other side, hidden from the public, has landscaping that rivals the best botanical gardens in the country. . On a smaller scale, inner city dwellers are realizing the aesthetic benefit of using bamboo to soften the otherwise hard lines of metal or concrete containers in high rises.
3. In Ground Permanent Containers-Some people just bury pots in the ground and surround them with mulch or flowers. That is simple and fast, but restricts the ultimate size of the grove (and individual plants, consequently). A free-formed in-ground container can be any shape or size you can imagine and work just the same. You use a 60 mil High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) sheet which comes in any length to make the sides of your “pot” or container in the ground. This involves more labor or the use of machinery, but may be the best option in confined areas. If you only have 3 feet between your neighbor’s fence and your driveway, this may be your best option. You can see a couple of places where this technique has been used below:
4. If you have a berm in the middle of your yard between your patio and your property line, you can plant the berm and just mow around it each week in the summer. Your mower will never know it even clipped off the bamboo shoots. You can use this technique on perimeter plantings, too. Ask us to show you where we have done this. Below you will see an example of a mowed berm:
This is a mowed berm with kumasaca underplanting and fastuosa for height.
A Do-It-Yourself version of this around a circular free form of HDPE used sticks of cedar on end below
The plastic was disguised with extruded concrete (landscape curbing) from The Curbing Edge. The result (before final mulching/dressing) is below
This barrier will now separate a flower garden on the left from a 3 year old privacy screen on the right.
6.You can also use above ground containers, such as the one we show you how to build here:
Scroll down the page for more videos.
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7. Instant shade! Here is how to take an inexpensive stock tank and turn it into a beautiful planter without worrying about the dirty water staining your deck or concrete pool area.
5.Imagine that you have a 15’ tall 50’ long privet hedge (or something comparable). You will need a ladder or extended trimmer and twice a year or so you will spend a few hours trimming it to keep it neat and in place. It is above ground, so you are reminded constantly to do the task.
By comparison, although you have to remember to do it, bamboo trimming requires only a sharp shovel once a year after a rain and about 30 minutes for the same 50' length of trimming. Once you fully understand the growth habits of bamboo you will see why this is so effective. You can see a video of this process below.