Bamboo is an increasingly popular choice as an exotic looking plant for people’s yards to give them a tropical feel. It is resilient, fast growing, self-repopulating, and . . . . a grass, not a tree. Yes, you heard us right; bamboo is actually a grass and not a tree. Even though it looks like a tree and is made of wood, it is in fact just a really, really, really huge form of grass.
Properly lit with LED lighting, bamboo can give your yard a ‘tropical paradise’ feel like nothing else. There are things to consider before you choose to plant it though. Like grass, bamboo grows in one of several ways. It can grow as a bunch and slowly move outward, this is bunching bamboo. It can grow along a root line; this is known as running bamboo. In both cases when you plant the bamboo you must decide how far you want it to grow and place barriers in the ground to stop it from going any further. Bamboo can grow fast and run fast and without properly curtailing its area you can wind up returning from a summer up north to find you no longer have a back yard but instead have a bamboo forest.
It is also important to know which kind and what the growth rate is when you choose lighting for the bamboo. Lighting a running bamboo with a single central light can lead to losing the beauty of a bamboo stand framing your yard. Lighting a bunching stand of bamboo at the edge can lead to the bamboo encompassing and growing through the light. Bamboo grows fast and it will grow through anything in its way so knowing where it will go is important when choosing how to highlight it.
There are so many types of bamboo available to you that getting expert advice to get just the right kind is important. Also, remembering that bamboo doesn’t sprout little bamboos that take years to grow to full size. A mature bamboo root ball will produce 10-20 full sized new shoots per year. They grow amazingly fast. You can actually see each day how much they have grown overnight. Like grass, it constantly tries to replenish itself by growing new stalks. Depending on the kind this growth spurt tends to be somewhere at the end of the summer and it happens fast.
Bamboo can be beautiful but make sure you know the kind, the growth expectations and understand that like grass, bamboo grows, matures, and then dies and falls over. It can be a little work to maintain a grove. Oh, you also should expect the bamboo to make odd noises when the wind blows. When the fully grown stalks rub, it can produce some rather unusual sounds. So , no, you aren’t going crazy, the bamboo does sound like every animal known to mankind and occasionally like someone talking. That’s just part of its charm.
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