One of the many great uses of bamboo is to use it as a screen in your landscape, adding both beauty and privacy. A well constructed bamboo screen can either partially or completely block out what you are trying not to see…or perhaps trying to hide! I say hide because whereas most people are searching for an effective means to not see their neighbors, perhaps you are trying to block the view of your yard from the public. In either case your choice of bamboo is critical based on what you are trying to achieve.
My first choice for establishing a bamboo screen would be to plant a clumping variety of bamboo. Being that I live in Florida, my personal recommended bamboos are Bambusa textilis mutabilis, Bambusa textilis gracilis or Bambusa oldhaami. These three were chosen because of their very erect growth habit, small branching and cold hardiness. Mutabilis and gracilis will produce a tighter, more dense natural screen whereas oldhaami will produce a more open screen. Being that they are clumpers also means they need no containment, which makes initial labor much less intensive.
If you are in a colder climate, then there are two options for your bamboo screen. You could plant a clumper such as one in the Fargesia family, or your could take the risk and plant any of the running species of bamboo. However, should you plant a running bamboo make sure you use proper containment so that your bamboo fills in and creates the screen and does not become invasive. I’ll be adding more on bamboo containment in a future article.
After a few short years your bamboo should fill in nicely, creating an urban sanctuary that provides both beauty and privacy.