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Thread: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

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    Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    ...but first the back-story.

    I was perusing the Internet and found some tiki-totem poles and other tiki accessories. I thought that'd be really cool to have a bunch of tiki's out by the pool! But alas, they'd look kinda dumb around typical northern type plants. So I started looking to see if there were any tropical looking plants we can grow here in the frozen tundra that is Ohio. To my surprise, there's a ton of them! Definitely have to get some banana trees (Bushes?) However, they're not very wind tolerant, nor are a lot of the tropicalesque plants that'll grow here. So I went back to the researching...

    I found bamboo that'll grow here, they're very wind tolerant, and people make windbreaks out of 'em all the time! Perfect for protecting the banana trees. (Herb?)

    My question is, how wide does the bamboo grove need to be for an adequate windbreak?

    Guess my other question would be how far away from the banana herbs would they need to be? (It's official, the banana is the tallest herb in the world.)

    The banana tree is Musa Basjoo, which is discussed here in other threads.
    The bamboo I'm looking at is Phyllostachys bissetii.

    Perhaps I might have to try and find a taller bamboo? This type grows 18 to 20 feet. The banana can grow to 18 feet. I know nothing about windbreaks or wind dynamics... I have about 4 acres of open field around the pool to play with, and it can get crazy windy out here, as I'm surrounded my mega-cornfields.

    I won't even go into the multitude of speakers I want to hide in the bamboo to play tropical bird/animal sounds...

    Here's the list I found of Zone 6 tropical looking plants if anyone is interested.
    Musa Basjoo
    Musa Sikkimensis
    Phyllostachys bissetii
    Phyllostachys aureosulcata
    Sasa Genus of bamboo
    Indocalamus tessellatus
    Fargesia dracocephala 'Rufa'
    Magnolia tripetala
    Magnolia grandiflora 'Edith Bogue'
    Magnolia fraseri
    Magnolia macrophylla
    Petasites japonicus
    Canna musafolia
    Your favorite hardy ferns
    Your favorite hostas
    Your favorite Iris
    Paulownia tomentosa
    Hibiscus Fireball
    Asimina triloba
    Kniphofia northiae
    Catalpa
    Albizia julibrissin ‘Rosea’
    Desmanthus illinoensis
    Impatiens omeiana
    Arisaema consanguineum
    Aesculus
    Astilboides tabularis
    Figs
    Hakonechloa macra

    These are all broadleaf evergreens for some winter color.
    Daphniphyllum macropodum
    Ilex glabra
    Ilex crenta sky pencil
    Ilex pedunclosa
    Viburnum pragense
    Viburnum rhytidophyllum
    Aucuba japonica
    Trochodendron aralioides
    Magnolia virginiana moonglow
    Magnolia grandiflora ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’
    Pieris japonica
    Kalmia latifolia
    Disporsis pernyi
    Asarum europaeum
    Hedera helix 'Prince Avenue'
    some Epimediums

    I can't seem to find this list on the web again to give credit where credit is due... If I find it again, I'll post it.
    Rob B
    My $100 pool finally died after 6 years.
    Totally got our monies worth!
    Butterfly made me do it...

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    I've got more of a warning than a helpful suggestion for you. Be awful sure you check out that particular variety of bamboo. A whole lot of those varieties are almost impossible to stop spreading like wildfire once they take hold.
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    maxepr1's Avatar
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    I'll second that!! ^^^^^^
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    cool! We need something in that field other than weeds!

    Rob B
    My $100 pool finally died after 6 years.
    Totally got our monies worth!
    Butterfly made me do it...

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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    The pool with unfinished deck and lots of boring field...



    Rob B
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    Totally got our monies worth!
    Butterfly made me do it...

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    And some bamboo can grow through anything ... anyone see the MythBusters where they proved the torture that if a human was strapped down above bamboo shoots that the plant would actually grow through them
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    Many states have strict laws about planting bamboo.
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    texasdad's Avatar
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    And some bamboo can grow through anything ... anyone see the MythBusters where they proved the torture that if a human was strapped down above bamboo shoots that the plant would actually grow through them

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A5W20oh ... ata_player
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    That episode was awesome!

    I just took a crash course on bamboo control, root pruning, and rhizome barriers over at bamboogarden.com. Definitely doable! Guess I could go 30 or 40 feet thick. That's probably good enough for a wind break...

    Found this over on YouTube. 24 hour time lapse of a crazy bamboo! With some cool sound effects addEd.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfDOMwFX5Hg

    Rob B
    My $100 pool finally died after 6 years.
    Totally got our monies worth!
    Butterfly made me do it...

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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    Wow, such doom and gloom for bamboo.. Maybe I'll toss in a couple of pandas to eat the stuff!

    Rob B
    My $100 pool finally died after 6 years.
    Totally got our monies worth!
    Butterfly made me do it...

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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    As a Floridian and someone who has had bamboo before my advice is to get clumping and not running. It is very hardy and renewable. When I say renewable I used to thin it out a little and would have new shoots during the growing season.
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    Does the clumping type still grow tall?

    I tried to find if there were any laws about it here. Couldn't find anything, but I did find lots of companies that will come out, install barriers, and plant them for you. Can't be too illegal here.

    Rob B
    My $100 pool finally died after 6 years.
    Totally got our monies worth!
    Butterfly made me do it...

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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    Ok, just answered my own question. I found cold Hardy clumping bamboo that'll grow 25 feet tall. Guess I'm back to my original how wide question!

    Rob B
    My $100 pool finally died after 6 years.
    Totally got our monies worth!
    Butterfly made me do it...

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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    My first thought is: forget it. I see Texans and Floridians dislike it as much as I do. But you live in a colder climate, so:

    I seem to remember, the Tennessee border is the break-point of optimal conditions for bamboo. There are nurseries close to where I grew up selling bamboo and other stuff we spent our summers trying to kill (bamboo, ivy, blackberries, kudzu). One of them is Ty Ty nurseries (Ty Ty is pronounced "tight eye"), I think they have a web site. I do not know these people, so do your due diligence.

    University of Georgia has this http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/pu ... pk_id=7830
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    Kias

    With your space, clumping Bamboo should be fine. You can always thin it out to keep it under control (weedeater). Even normal running bamboo can be controlled, you'd have to put down some sort of plastic barrier in the ground. You can also kick the new shoots over once they poke out which helps.

    I would never recommend bamboo around an inground pool without any sort of barrier but depending on your distance from your above ground you should be good with the clumping forms.

    If your worried about the wind, and if that field is all yours I'd think about planting some actual evergreens like Thuja (arborvitae),red cedar, or pines further out, they'll do well in ohio. Then do your tropical stuff up closer to get that "feel".

    Sorry for the long post, hope it helps, let us know what plants you decide on.
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    Why not just go with bamboo fencing for the look. That is what I did. Then you can do like what was said and plant some hardy trees.
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    MiaOKC's Avatar
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    Re: Bamboo Wind Break. How Thick?

    Hi Kias, we recently moved into our house in Zone 7 that has an in-ground concrete pool and running Golden Bamboo (P. aurea) and it has been an experience! I've been a fairly ardent gardener for about 7 years, and a dabbler for about 7 more before that, and bamboo truly surpasses anything I thought I knew about gardening. I love plants, love spending time outside playing in the dirt, but the bamboo care/control is really a massive undertaking. The seller of our house had not maintained it at all for at least a year, during one of our hottest summers during a droughty time, and it still went nuts invading everywhere. I shudder to think what it could have done with adequate rainfall and more moderate conditions! It grows FAST. DH has spent an hour or two each night and most weekends trying to just beat it back somewhat so we can have a small lawn and get it under control. It grows about one foot per day on the new shoots. We are working to try and cut rhizomes to the babies and then barricade the main grove with a trench.

    That said, I still like that the bamboo provides privacy around our pool area, and screens us from some other nearby two-story homes. If the seller of this house had done some work to put in a barrier prior to letting the grove go wild, that would be one thing. I was concerned about neighbors suing us for having such an aggressive plant as it has spread into all their yards, too. I approached them about installing a barrier but they do not want the expense. At this time, we plan to try a trench for rhizome pruning on our side first, and if that doesn't work, a rhizome barrier. We want to beat ours back to a 5-6 ft deep grove, and it is about 100' long. When we started it was up to 12' deep in some places. We are working to thin all the dead canes, too. I've had a friend come and dig divisions several times and we still have PLENTY more where that came from. Reading the Bamboo forum on GW and asking questions there has really helped me.

    One thing about the barriers - they are fairly expensive, and for such a large area in your photo, you should keep in mind the cost. The 24" barrier runs about $2 per linear foot for materials only. Even with a barrier, you have to patrol the entire perimeter twice a year cutting rhizomes that go over the top. They are also not foolproof, and may need repair, especially at any seams.

    Rhizomes grow easily through any loose soil and typically in the top 4-6 inches of soil. If you let the 'boo invade neighboring cornfields, you may have a lawsuit from the farmers on your hands. I'd definitely go with a clumping bamboo, to get the look without the terror and be vigilant.

    (this is my first post, I will have to see if I can figure out how to post a link to my flickr that shows our grove around the pool).
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