Bamboo as a fence (?)

Asked January 17, 2019, 6:03 PM EST

Hi My property is located in an area that gets strong gusts of wind (Eagle Point, OR). My wood fence has been blown down twice, and I'm considering replacing it with bamboo. Wondering if a particular variety might be recommended. Soil is "black sticky" and very hard to dig. If recommended, I'd like to know how fast it can be expected to grow and would also like particulars of how to plant.


Laurie (MG class of 2013)

Jackson County Oregon

1 Response

Laura: the recommendation for fencing a garden is to make the fence permeable to about 50% of the wind. We guess maybe the wood fence you had was solid and unfortunately, most such fences are vulnerable. You could replace your fence with an attractive wood fence of several kinds: spaced boards (a vertical board separated from the next board by a space 1/2 or more of the board's width) is one of the easiest and best solutions. We have also seen handsome fences where wire fencing panels have been inset every 3 feet or so in an otherwise solid wood fence. the panels measure about 2 feet wide. We are somewhat reluctant to recommend bamboo as a living fence. Bamboos shed copious amounts of leaves, which can be somewhat toxic to other plants.. You would have to be certain to use a "clumping" bamboo as opposed to a "running" bamboo. Bamboo varieties of the clumping type such as Bamboo multiplex and its many cultivars tend to be 6 to 10 feet in height, depending on the specific variety.Bamboo is, of course, a grass and it is tropical or sub-tropical in most cases. Hardiness can vary from 0 degrees F. (which we don't experience here) to 30 degrees F. Many of the clumping types are hardy to 15 degrees, which we have experienced in winter here more than once in the past 10 years. We suggest if you want a living fence you seek out more evergreen materials. There are cultivars of arborvitae available which are more winter hardy than most of its kind; photinias can be pruned to excellent hedges, as can English laurels. Each of these would satisfy the need to be permeable to wind, as well as fairly insect resistant and not too dependent on lots of water. Sorry you had bad luck with the wood fences: hopefully the next attempts will offer you protection and good appearance!