LANDSCAPING & MAINTENANCE
Placement of bamboo hedges, filling of planters with bamboo, (mixed) ornamental grass borders and planting compositions for your garden can be done with the right information and advice. During your visit to the nursery, you will receive information about the location, water / light requirements and you can purchase the necessary accessories and products or order them in advance via the website. You will receive a clear planting instruction.
In case of large or complex plantings or landscaping work, it may be advisable to outsource this to a professional. Sometimes you simply lack time and tools to do it yourself. We can carry out such work for you. Smaller assignments are carried out on an hourly basis (working rate is 50 euros / hour excl. 21% VAT). For large assignments a budget is made in consultation.
We are often asked by garden owners whether it is possible to use bamboo on a relatively narrow plant strip. Under certain conditions, bamboo can grow to a limited width with extra irrigation, nutrition and pruning. It seems most sensible to use a minimum plant strip width of 50 cm, provided with extra water and nutrients with a good quality plant soil. Most ideal are strips of 75 to 100 cm or wider. Bamboo has sufficient soil volume to grow into natural proportions. The achievable size is partly determined by the available underground root space. This means that on a narrow strip with little root volume plant height is limited and, for example, a Phyllostachys bissetii can not grow to adult size. When bamboos are planted, root barrier is placed in the soil along the edges of the available plant strip to keep the hedge at the desired width. The narrowing of bamboo can be done with the special bamboo barrier (HDPE = high density polyethylene film), available at the nursery, see Products & Accessories.
In gardens where space is lacking to allow bamboo hedges to grow to their natural dimensions, bamboo can be applied to narrower plant strips and kept in the desired shape with the help of pruning. An additional advantage is that the size of the hedge can be adjusted to suit your own needs. I sometimes encounter hedges on narrow strips of 30 or 40 cm. This can go well, but pay attention to the risk of dehydration due to lack of water and loss of nutrition value due to lack of fertilzer. Therefore ensure a sufficient width of at least 50 cm and adequate moisture and nutrition during the growing season. In the case of long hedges, it is worth considering to provide a permanent water supply, for example in the form of a drip hose. The costs for such water supplies are relatively low these days.
The pruning of bamboo needs some explanation. Many garden owners do not dare to cut or trim bamboo because of lack of knowledge and experience. As a result, an overly strong plant can develop into a dense mess of old and new culms. For everyone it is natural to keep Taxus and Buxus by annual pruning in a small size while these shrubs grow upto 10 and 4 meters high respectively! In countries like Japan and China people grow up with the bamboo culture and pruning is frequently used. It is therefore good to know that many bamboo varieties also lend themselves perfectly to pruning. The pruning of bamboo is limited to 1 or 2 times a year by cutting back the new culms at the desired height and / or width. A standard hedge trimmer (manual or electric) can be used for this. Bamboo can basically be pruned throughout the year. A favorable moment is shortly after the new culms have reached their height and start to develop lateral branches. Most bamboos are leafed from top to bottom. Bamboo can be pruned both in height (topped) and in width (shortening side branches). This stimulates an extra dense, compact leaf growth and thus a dense plant. Ideal for closed hedges. Bamboo also has no dormant buds so after pruning or removing side branches around the culm no new height growth is to be expected at that point, like shrubs and trees tend to do. In pruning of bamboo it is important to take into account a healthy balance between the underground parts (root ball) and above ground parts (culms / leaf mass). An advantage of a pruned hedge compared to a free-growing bamboo hedge is less bending in heavy rain or snow load. In this case, pruned Phyllostachys and Semiarundinaria hedges are the strongest because the shortened culms are very stiff. Within the Fargesia group Fargesia robusta 'Campbell' stands out positively in terms of stiffness and firmness.
CONTROL, PLANT DISTANCE AND GROWTH
In some ancient Japanese and Chinese gardens bamboo hedges have been used for decades as narrow, green screens by enclosing the rhizomes of running species on both sides between vertically placed slate or connected roof tiles. Nowadays we do this in the West by digging root barrier (HDPE high density polyethylene). The side branches and tops are pruned annually so a compact and densely leafed bamboo is obtained on only half a meter width or less at a height to be determined between 1.5 and 3.5 meters. Such hedges can be realized by performing a number of steps. First, root barrier is needed along the circumference of the entire plant strip; for Fargesia shallow 35 cm, Phyllostachys 60 cm and Semiarundinaria 75 cm deep rootbarrier with a few centimeters above the ground level. After filling the plant strip with organically rich, moist and sufficiently draining soil, the bamboos are planted. Depending on the time allowed to let the hedge grow, the plant density is 1, 2 or 3 plants per meter. With 1 plant per linear meter, at least three growing seasons are required to obtain a closed hedge. With 2 plants per linear meter it takes about two growing seasons and with 3 plants per linear meter a dense hedge is available with 1 growing season. This growth rate partly depends on the plant size to start with. Older plants in 10 to 25 liter container already have fairly strong culms. If for young plants, for example, a 3 or 5 liter is chosen, the plant will initially produce mainly thin culms, so that the hedge tends to overhang in the first few years in case of rain or strong wind under the weight of the foliage. This can be overcome by installing a vertical post with a strut post on the left and right of the strip and tensioning 1 or 2 clothesline wires between them (steel wire with plastic casing). Here the culms can be tied to. After a few years the bamboo makes thicker and therefore sturdy, stiff culms that need little or no support anymore. A bamboo hedge is also very wind resistant because the flexible culms bend at heavy wind loads and do not break. Larger plant sizes have an older root system and thicker, firmer culms, so that they need little support in the beginning.
An additional advantage of a bamboo hedge compared to other, traditional hedges is that bamboo always keeps rejuvenating from the root base with new extra culms and leaves every year, while the old culms also exchanging part of their leaves for fresh green foliage. This is in contrast to traditional hedges such as conifers where the hedge plants slowly age, become bare and eventually die off, causing holes in the hedge or the entire hedge to be replaced. Even a bamboo hedge of many decades old can completely rejuvenate after thinning and look fresh green again, as if the plant had recently been planted. Another special feature of a bamboo hedge is that the height and width can be adjusted annually by topping the new culms at the desired height each year and cutting them to width. In traditional hedges, a desired final height is chosen and it is not possible (as with conifers), or it takes many years to increase the height of the hedge. In principle, a bamboo hedge of, for example, Phyllostachys bissetii that has been kept at fence height for years can grow up to, for example, 3 meters high in a season if the back neighbors put a new floor on the house and privacy is at stake.
LIMIT FLOWERING RISKS
Bamboo flowers with a large time interval from dozens to more than a hundred years. Some species, such as many Fargesia's, die off after flowering, while other species, including various types of Phyllostachys and Pseudosasa, often temporarily fall back into growth and slowly re-emerge from the base with new shoots. The following flowering period is not known for many bamboo species. To minimize the flowering risks of species with an unknown flowering expectancy in long hedges and larger planting objects, it is advisable to use several species in a balanced mix. We can advise on this, because not all types combine well. A mix of species does not have to be disturbing for the planting image. For example, a green bamboo hedge of Phyllostachys bissetii can be mixed well with Phyllostachys humilis and Phyllostachys nuda without this being visible to the layman. It can also sometimes be visually appealing to mix green and yellow-culm species. Such species will be interwoven until an equilibrium is created. Should one of these species flower, the other species can quickly fill up space.
WATER AND FERTILIZER
Smal-trapped bamboo hedges are more susceptible to desiccation and can suffer more from fertilizer shortages. The limited root volume is slowly 'drained' by the leaf evaporation of the plant during the assimilation process. If it does not rain for a long time or if the hedge is in the rain shadow, extra water is needed. 'Rain shadow' are places within the microclimate of the garden where less rain falls than in other places, for example behind a fence, or under the foliage of a large row of trees. Pay attention to the location of the hedge in relation to the rain. It is therefore important to provide the plants sufficient water during dry periods and in unfavorable locations. In itself, well-rooted bamboo can tolerate a period of drought, but during the development of new shoots, water shortage is limiting new growth. In many gardens drip irrigation is a good solution. Every year a gift with nutrients and minerals, geared to bamboo, keeps growth optimally. Buckets with fertilizer for bamboo (BambooFood) are available at the nursery.
SUN AND SHADOW
Within the large species diversity of bamboo you can find both species that lend themselves for use in the shade of a tree or building on the north as well as species for full sun. In general, Fargesia's are best suited for (semi) shady locations such as Fargesia murieliae x nitida, F. sp. Jiuzaighou-1 though many Fargesias also feel at home in a place in partial or full sun, such as Fargesia robusta, F. dracocephala 'Rufa', F. 'Wolong', F. sp. 'Scabrida' and others. In our garden there are also a number of hedges planted on the east-west axis, so that one side faces north and never gets direct sun, while the other side is completely south facing in the full sun. In foliage and leaf density, the hedges of Fargesia dracocephala 'Rufa', F. robusta 'Campbell', Phyllostachys bissetii and Semiarundinaria viridis are not noticeably different between north and south sides. This shows the great tolerance of bamboo to the light situation. There is, however, a difference in the leaf color; the foliage on the north side is darker green while the leaves on the sunny side are slightly lighter green. This is probably due to the influence of direct sunlight.
Most types of bamboos remain green in the average Dutch winter. Some species have a limited leaf fall in the run-up to winter. Others exchange damaged leaves after the winter for new leaves that are created from the sleeping leaf buds. Leaf damage as a result of storm, severe frost and drying wind is quickly hidden from view. During winter, (wet) snow can bend culms. But rarely breaks a bamboo. Because of their compact shape, pruned bamboo (hedges) suffer little from overhanging.