Build an Eco-Friendly Bamboo Privacy Fence
Steve Watson and crew give a backyard added privacy the green way with a bamboo fence.
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Jordan and Kim love their first house, but their busy work schedules have presented them with a few problems that they just haven't had the time to deal with. With no privacy fence in their backyard, and their master bedroom being in a converted attic space, they don't quite yet have the house they truly want.
Steve Watson and his team come to the rescue and, in this first project, help create a living "fence" of bamboo to give the backyard some added privacy. But planting bamboo requires some special considerations.
In some plant species, a rhizome is a running root that allows a plant to spread and multiply. This specialized type of growth is seen in a variety of plants including the ginger plant and bamboo.
Materials and Tools:
24"x40 mil rhizome barrier (70 linear ft.)
running bamboo plants (30)
black pine mulch (10 bags)
Bamboo, though attractive, is so fast growing that it can quickly spread via these rhizomes and take over an entire yard. To prevent this from happening, we install something known as a rhizome barrier. In this case, it's a 24-inch-wide, 40-mil-thick, high density polyethylene barrier. This allows the bamboo to spread and grow thick — but within a controlled area — thus, in effect, creating a natural "fence."
1. Use a can of spray marking paint to mark out the outline of the bamboo planting area.
2. To install, first dig a 22" trench around the grow area and lay the barrier inside. In our case we used a gas-powered trencher. When the two ends meet, overlap at least three feet to prevent the rhizomes from growing through. It's important to slant the barrier at an angle so the rhizomes will grow upwards into new plants.
3. Bamboo is typically happiest in a loose, loamy soil. When planting, dig holes double the diameter of the existing root balls, and a few inches deeper.
4. With the soil that comes out of the hole, mix an equal amount of organic material (planting mix or mulch). Place the mixed soil in the bottom of the hole and tamp it down. Place enough of the soil so that when the root ball is carefully removed from the container and placed in the hole, the top of the root ball is at ground level.
5. Sprinkle some rhizome fertilizer on the mound under the root ball, then insert the root ball and sprinkle some more fertilizer on top. Backfill around the root ball with the soil mix. Tamp it down, then form a three-inch to four-inch-high basin around the plant to hold water.
6. For support, we installed stakes and used string to help stabilize the plants in their initial stages of growth.
7. Fill in with some mulch to give it an aesthetic appeal, and you are done.
Initial watering. Water the root ball of the plant deeply before planting and then water three times per week, depending on the weather, for the first month. In addition to watering the plant, spray leaves with water, several times per day for the first week to minimize shock.
Follow-up care. In summer months, water four times a week. In cooler weather; two or three times a week. If the sides of the leaves start curling up, it's not being watered often enough, or being watered for too short a time.
Complete the look of your backyard with a fence. Try more half-day projects with host Steve Watson from Don't Sweat It!