Ancient, exotic and versatile
Bamboo is a wonderful choice in the correct situation. As a screening plant or stately windbreak, bamboo can’t be beaten for large properties. It’s also an excellent option as a potted specimen. Bamboo comes in a range of colours and sizes, and is great for adding movement and oriental mystique to any Brisbane landscape. It is generally quick growing and is known to reduce noise when used as a screen.
Is bamboo really what you want?
Though it has its applications, bamboo is not for everyone. Here at Oxley Nursery, we get asked about bamboo on a daily basis; most times we end up talking people out of it. There are a few things you should consider before planting bamboo:
- Plant at full size. You don’t see many images of 20yr+ old plants. We have spent thousands removing old clumps that grew much larger than expected. Excavators are required to completely remove the old rhizomes.
- Leaf drop; this is a natural occurrence with plants that grow quickly. If you have a big clump, this can mean a lot of leaf litter to remove especially in winter where the plant will discard leaves on a great scale!.
- Ongoing maintenance after 10 years. There are also the old canes to consider…. they don’t vanish but rather turn an unsightly grey colour which can be challenging to remove.
- Root mass; nothing will grow around them – they will take over an area. The clump may also expand over time to 3mtrs + wide, pushing on fences and retaining walls.
- Removal of an established clump requires an excavator and ripper. Tree loppers don’t like bamboo as its high silica content blunts chainsaws and chippers.
- Water requirements; bamboo is not the most drought hardy plant, and may require additional water in summer. It is a grass and like your lawn needs regular feed and water. Compared to other screening options, it is much more thirsty.
If you still think bamboo is for you, be sure to choose the right variety. There are two broad groups: clumping and running (although we joke it should be ‘invasive’ and ‘less-invasive’). The running varieties are considered extremely invasive and are generally to be avoided. We do not stock the running types. Clumping bamboo is more innocuous, and will instead spread slowly as a cluster.
There are also tropical and cooler climate varieties. The cooler climate varieties are best for around Brisbane as they retain their colour and vigour all year round. Oxley Nursery mainly stocks these varieties.