How To Plant Bamboo (Clumping & Running Variety)

Whether you are planting clumping or a running variety of bamboo, our step-by-step guide shows you how to correctly plant it.
Written By: Archie Rich | Updated:
How To Plant Bamboo
Archie Rich/DIY Works

Depending upon whether you choose a clumping or running variety of bamboo will determine the importance of planting it correctly.

Although both types are relatively easy to plant, you must plant a running variety of bamboo correctly to avoid it spreading elsewhere in your garden. This is because it produces rhizomes that spread horizontally, causing new bamboo shoots to pop up if not contained.

To help you plant your bamboo correctly, we’ve created an easy-to-follow, detailed guide with photos taken from my actual garden, where I planted a Phyllostachys Aurea type of bamboo (running variety).

What You’ll Need

  • Bamboo plants
  • Root barrier
  • Spade
  • Rotavator (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Compost
  • Access to water

How To Plant Bamboo


1. Position The Bamboo Plants

As shown in the above image, you first want to spread out the bamboo plants to give you an idea of the trench size you need to create. Ideally, you should space the plants 2 to 3 feet apart because they will spread to form a dense screen.

2. Dig A Trench

By far, the most time-consuming part of planting bamboo is digging the trench. It’s advised that you dig a 50 to 60-cm deep trench ready for the root barrier to be installed. To help us create the trench, we used a garden rotavator, which saved a lot of time and hassle when compared to using a spade.

Trench For Bamboo

Archie Rich/DIY Works

3. Place The Root Barrier In Position

Now that the hard part is out of the way, you can begin to feed the root barrier into the trench. You’ll want to fully contain the area and ensure that the root barrier overlaps by at least 30 cm.

It’s also advised that you leave a lip above the ground, as this stops any rhizomes from creeping over the surface. Depending upon the barrier you choose, you’ll need to point the green side towards the roots because this is the hard-wearing side that prevents running rhizomes from spreading across your lawn, patio, driveway, or elsewhere.

How To Install Bamboo Root Barrier

Archie Rich/DIY Works

4. Plant The Bamboo Plants

With the root barrier in place, you can begin to fill the soil back into the trench that has been dug. Ideally, you should mix compost into the base before planting the bamboo and aim to have the bamboo sitting level with the ground or in a raised bed if this is the look you are going for. It’s also advised to firm the ground after planting to ensure they remain in place.

Bamboo Root Barrier

Archie Rich/DIY Works

5. Add Compost & Start Watering

Now that the bamboo has been planted, add a layer of compost over the top of the bamboo and begin to water it to eliminate any air pockets in the soil.

6. Trim Any Unwanted Root Barrier

Depending on how well you installed the root barrier in the ground, you may wish to trim the top. As long as you leave at least 2 to 3 inches above ground level, anything that’s protruding any taller can be trimmed with scissors.

Root Barrier

Archie Rich/DIY Works

What Barrier To Use

For this particular example of planting bamboo, we used the TDP DuPont Root Control, which promises to be the strongest barrier on the market.

When it arrived, it felt very high quality, and I am confident that it’ll control any running rhizomes that travel underground.

As you can see in the photo, it arrives in a compact roll with instructions in the packet on how to install the root barrier (which we followed in the above guide on how to plant bamboo).

Root Barrier For Bamboo

Archie Rich/DIY Works

Regarding what bamboo root barrier you should use, we advise that it’s between 60 to 70 cm in height and made from an impenetrable material.

Before purchasing, it’s also advised that you measure the length of the bamboo trench and account for the additional 30 cm overlap that’s recommended during the installation.

Other Methods

Although using a root barrier to plant bamboo is the most recommended method, there are alternative methods. This can include using a large container and sinking it into the ground or even using concrete slabs as a barrier.

However, we would highly advise using a high-quality plastic root barrier to plant bamboo, and we did so in our very own garden (as shown in the guide).

Failing to contain a running variety of bamboo can be highly frustrating, and new shoots can pop out of anywhere. For example, below are photos of a bamboo shooting through concrete in a nearby lane by our house, and this is a prime example of how invasive bamboo can really be.

Bamboo Growing Through Concrete

Archie Rich/DIY Works
Invasive Bamboo

Archie Rich/DIY Works

Conclusion

As long as you plant bamboo correctly, it’s a low-maintenance plant that creates an excellent feature in your garden. Bamboo is also fast-growing and ideal for screening, which was why we chose bamboo in our garden.

If you are worried about planting bamboo due to the running rhizomes, you can always check the underground around the barrier with a spade.

This is because the rhizomes only tend to sit at the top 20 cm of the soil. Therefore, simply digging downwards with a spade around the trench a few times a year ensures there is no rhizome growth underground and also provides you with complete peace of mind.

If you require further information regarding planting bamboo, feel free to contact us, and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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