Let your bamboo garden grow

Some people are a bit intimidated by bamboo because although it is extremely easy to maintain it is perceived as hard to control because it spreads rapidly. The spreading is easily remedied and the benefits of bamboo greatly outweigh the pitfalls. “Today” gardening expert Rebecca Cole has advice on how to get started.

There are many ways to use bamboo in your garden design. It can be used as a wall or screen to provide privacy from your neighbors, in containers for your deck, terrace or patio or as means of creating your own secret bamboo forest to wander through.

It mixes well with both perennials and annuals and can be used as a tall or medium background plant, an accent plant or as a low border or ground cover plant depending upon the variety you choose.

Bamboo is a Grass colony plant. There are over 1200 types of bamboo worldwide and about 200 species that can be grown well in North America.

An interesting fact about bamboo is that the main stems (referred to as culms or canes) emerge from the ground in the diameter that they will always be. And, the next season’s new culms usually emerge wider in diameter and grow to be taller than the older canes. Therefore, the youngest canes in your planting are the thickest and tallest.

Here’s what to consider when choosing a bamboo:

There are two types bamboo root systems, (referred to as rhizomes) which will greatly affect your choice of bamboo. The first is found in more temperate environments and is known as runners. These spread like crazy and will end up everywhere if not taken care of properly. The second type is known as clumpers. They are normally found in more tropical varieties. Although this variety spreads as well if not pruned, it is generally not as invasive as the runner types.


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