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Design specifications

'It is only in the present century that the collective landscape has emerged as a social necessity. We are promoting a landscape art on a scale never conceived of in history'.
Sir Geoffrey Jellico

The name "landscape architecture" was invented by a Scotsman in 1828. It uses the ancient skill of garden designers in composing landform with water, vegetation and structures and applies it to the entire man-made landscape.

Because bamboo has so many different forms, you can find a bamboo for almost any design needed in the landscape: accent plantings, screens, hedges, groundcovers, planters, etc.

The guidelines below will help in specifying a bamboo:

Minimum temperature: Select a variety that can tolerate the average low temperature for the location.

Sun requirements: Try to select a bamboo that is rated for the location. Although most bamboos will survive in almost any sun/shade environment, bamboo will perform better when rated for the location.

Height: When specifying the height, there are two heights you need to consider: the mature height and the planted height.

The mature height is the rated height for the variety selected and will vary from location to location, sometimes from only a few feet to 25% less than rated. It will require from 7 to 15 years (seedlings up to 30 years) for most varieties to reach sufficient root mass to attain the full height the grove will attain in any given location.

The planted height is the height you want your bamboo to be when planted. Try to specify a height in feet or meters and not as a short or tall bamboo. In "bamboo speak" a short bamboo is a bamboo 10 to 20 feet, a medium bamboo is 20 to 30 feet, a tall bamboo is over 30 feet and a ground cover bamboo is usually any variety under 10 feet.

In specifying a planted height, give a range and not a specific height as bamboos do not cooperate in producing a particular height. So if you want a start that is 18 feet, specify a range +/- 4 feet min. or nothing less than 14 feet or over 22 feet. If specifying multi-culm root balls specify that 1 culm in each rootball is to be in the height range.

Number of culms per root ball: Our regular inventory consists of single-culm root balls up to 12 feet tall. Our custom-dug root balls can be multi-culm up to 50 feet tall.

When specifying the number of culms per root ball, try to give a range with a minimum number and specify that multiple root balls can be grouped to achieve the minimum. Again, bamboo does not always cooperate in producing single-, double-, triple-culm, etc. root balls.

Another way to specify your starting plants is to describe the look you want when you start and have us quote on the job instead of per root ball. Say you have an area with an unsightly building next door and you want a full screen to start from the ground to 15 feet. We would quote on multiple sizes that would be planted checkerboard style to give an immediate screen when planted.

We are always glad to assist you in selecting varieties and sizes to meet your requirements.

Containment: We sell primarily temperate bamboos and they spread by underground rhizomes. Unless you have a large area for the bamboo to spread into, thought should be given to the containment method to be used for the variety selected. There are several methods for containing bamboo.

If you have the space and there will be regular maintenance, then mowing, shoot removal, root pruning or a combination of root pruning and mowing will keep the grove contained. If you are planting too close to the property line or asphalt drive or walk to allow the required setback, an in-ground barrier will be required. The plastic root barriers in use were designed for trees and not for bamboo. We do not recommend 30/40 mil root barrier for any bamboo variety except ground covers. The 80+mil root barrier will give you containment to most ground cover bamboos for 10 to 15 years. While the 80+mil root barrier will likely contain the larger bamboos for a number of years, for all Phyllostachys and many of the other varieties we sell we only recommend a minimum 4" wide by 36" deep reinforced concrete barrier for long-term containment. We estimate somewhere between 30 and 50 years and possibly longer if a portion of the grove is removed every 10 to 15 years to reduce the stress of the root-bound containment area.

Give consideration to the abilities of the person you are designing for and specify a containment method based on those abilities.