Question of the Week #1: August 4, 2016
“Neil, I need a privacy screen that will grow 10 or 12 feet tall. Taller is OK. Would bamboo work?”
Bamboo is horrifically invasive, spreading many feet per year from where you planted it. I’ve seen entire city lots covered with it. Neighbors despise it.
So, can you put in a root barrier to contain it? Well, perhaps so, but it would have to be absolutely impenetrable to a depth of 36 or 40 inches.
That’s golden bamboo I’m talking about. It’s the one you commonly see in the yards of the previously unsuspecting. There are clump-forming bamboos that don’t spread aggressively, but they’re less winter-hardy, suited to warmer parts of South Texas. There is an active chapter of the American Bamboo Society in Austin for anyone in that area.
Better choices for privacy screens in most parts of Texas would include Nellie R. Stevens holly, willowleaf holly, waxleaf ligustrum, glossy abelia, Ebbenge’s elaeagnus and suitably sized junipers. If you have ample room, eastern redcedar juniper is outstanding, but you’ll need 30 feet of ground space. Little Gem and Teddy Bear dwarf magnolias are both excellent as well.