Fargesia Robusta Hedge

by philinshelton on August 29, 2010

in Bamboo Plants,How To

I get a lot of questions from people about screening with bamboo in a very narrow bed, and which bamboo will be best for the task. Usually someone wants a 15'-30' tall screen from the neighbors, and they want to know if they can grow a bamboo hedge in a 2'-3' strip of dirt between a concrete walk/drive/patio and a wall/fence. It can be done, but I discourage people from trying it because it takes more work to maintain a very narrow planting space, and because I think most people will be disappointed in the performance of their bamboo hedge (read more about where to plant bamboo). Recently, I have seen two gardens where bamboo screens are being maintained in a narrow planting spaces. Pictured below, is a long hedge of Fargesia robusta being maintained in 3' wide bed. This a twelve year old planting, so it's not going to get any taller without a drastic change in the growing environment.
Fargesia robusta

A twelve year old hedge of robusta

To maintain the spread of the plant, culms are cut off at the ground. To maintain the canopy width, the hedge is sheared vertically to remove arching culms. Pictured below are three Fargesia robusta being used to screen a view of the neighbor house. These plants were 3'-4' tall in #5 containers when they were planted about four years ago. With intensive pruning, they are being maintained in a bed that is only 2' wide. Unlike the hedge pictured above, these plants have not been sheared, giving them a more natural look. Also, these plants have grown much faster and will eventually reach a greater maximum height than the above hedge, because of intensive management, i.e. soil amendments, lots of water and fertilizer.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Alan @ www.itsnotworkitsgardening.com September 10, 2010 at 9:06 am

Both very nice, although I prefer the natural look.

I really wish robusta were more cold-hardy. I’d love to be able to grow it in St. Louis!

Clinton September 15, 2010 at 2:18 pm

nice. Lots of applications for both these schemes here in Morelos. The nurseries in Cuernavaca would ‘blow you away’ w/their exhuberance. By that I don’t mean bamboos..instead flowering ground covers, vines, shrubs, n trees.
These plantings R in Washington state I take it? I love the look of the lower one.
Here in Mexico, people here try to do the same ‘small scale’ definition but by using Bambusa oldhamii!! ..don’t work, looks dumb>boo grows too much
Still no Fargesias here..would you have seeds? I’m slowly trying to change that .Me Y my Michoacan partner (the M & M’s haha) have started IMPORTING species on a small scale. We have worked successfully w/Gib via plant & seed [this last item we hopin’ gets here in time to plant on World Bamboo Day. here we spell it w/a ‘u’. We hope to
get some big tropicals around Christmas time from Robert Saporito. My partner gets his ‘agunaldo’ then..We’re interested in seeds of bambu from reliable sources. Should you acquire some, don’t hesitate to let me know. Importing plants is rewarding as you can imagine. Seeds would be so much easier
B well.. stay in touch

Scott October 18, 2010 at 9:23 am

That 12 year old Fargesia hedge is simply amazing! I’ve seen similar things done with Pseudosasa japonica in SE Georiga, but I haven’t had the guts to try it in my own yard here in NE Florida. Maybe someday with the right containment, otherwise tropical clumpers will do just fine for now.

AJ December 11, 2010 at 9:28 am

The Campbell form is amazing. I’d never believe in that small of a width that it could still get to 12 feet. OK, now I know! Thanks.

nizan December 20, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Hi, I just planted a hedge bamboo and finding difficulty identifying its name. Can you help? (Link in Website) I’m in Malaysia.

Thanks! – Nizan

philinshelton December 21, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Sorry, I am the wrong person to ask about bamboo that grow in your region. thanks for the comment?

Renata May 6, 2013 at 10:28 am

I would like to plant the clumping robusta in CT, the side of yard I want to screen has shade with some sun peeking through 100 year old white pines, the bottom 15 feet of pines have no branches. Good idea or not?

Robert October 11, 2013 at 9:56 am

I love that 12′ hedge.

How was it limited to a 12′ height? Was it trimmed across the top at one point?

I’m looking for a hedge between my house and my neighbor, but I only want 10-12ft if possible. Would shearing it horizontally across the top accomplish that or damage the plant?

Thank you!

philinshelton October 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

This particular bamboo planting was not trimmed across the top. That’s just the max height of the plant in this particular environment. It is certainly possible to “hedge” a bamboo, horizontally, or vertically for that matter. Shearing will not hurt the plant.

iTrim4U March 11, 2014 at 8:16 am

Landscaping and particularly bush or hedging cutting has always become a pastime
of mine. Landscaping has slowly and gradually started to
take control my entire life. I commonly spend eight to
ten hrs in a week simply investigating and reviewing on this subject matter,
there is essentially so much to find out and the web offers a wide range of information
whether its on how to help make your hedges look the best or how you can make certain they stay the healthiest.
Really, I just want to make sure that my customers have
great looking shrubs, hedges, or trees and I know I’m well on the
way to achieving this.

Brendan O'Meara April 10, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Hi Phil,
My name is Brendan and I live in Los Angeles. Your Fargesia Robusta “Campbell” hedge was so amazing I started calling the west coast nurseries to get some. I spoke with Oregon and they seemed to think Los Angeles was too hot for the Robusta variety. The Sunset guide say good in sun or partial shade and that it is good in Zone 9 (my zone). The plants will be up against a wall around the whole property …so that will also provide partial shade. Any help will be most appreciated. Beautiful job.
Any thoughts on whether it can survive?

philinshelton April 21, 2014 at 9:04 pm

The key is night time temperature. The Fargesias and other related montane bamboos need cooler nights to recover from the heat of the day. If your summer temps don’t drop below 70 over night, I don’t give you much chance of growing it well.

Jane June 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Hi Phil – In my true “over the top” fashion I think I’ve read just about every word on your site and looked at all your youtube videos. I just now read this and you certainly hit the nail on the head. I am looking to grow a 200ft long strip in a 2′ wide bed, against a chain link fence and some wood fence, and was planning on Bambusa Multiplex (Alphonse Karr) which is good for my area since local nurseries grow it well (Vista, CA). I am planning on putting in a plastic barrier on either side, so that it doesn’t go into the neighbors’ yards or onto the driveway that it would frame. I want 15′-20′ in height and am willing to water and prune a lot to give it the nutrients and encouragement it needs to get it high enough to provide the screen we need. I don’t think I can make the bed 3′ wide because of the driveway. I would REALLY appreciate your opinion on this. I do not want to plant a ton of bamboo if it’s not going to get tall enough to provide the screen we need. We need the height due to the stairstep nature of the house foundations. Thanks so much!

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