Bamboo types are split into two different sorts, running type and clumping type.
Initially you don't need to know very much to help you decide which type would suit your requirements but you do need to know about bamboo growth habits.
There are the species of running bamboos that can spread across an area quite quickly by sending out runners, and there are the clumping bamboos that do not spread so dramatically and are non-invasive.
The rhizomes of running bamboos run underground at a shallow depth and spread to densely fill up an area of land.
The rhizomes can extend some distance underground from the standing culms before the break above ground. How aggressive this growth is will depend on the specific species but the running type of species are what you need to choose to produce a screen or hedge.
There are ways to ensure that the growth aims in the direction you want rather than just randomly growing all over the place. So if you want a hedge you can divert the rhizomes so they run along in the direction you want the hedge or windbreak to protect your garden.
Also, each segment of the rhizome will only shoot once. If you want that segment to survive do not damage it or growth will be stopped.
As the name implies, the clumping bamboo types do not send out runners and do not spread rapidly such as do the running species.
Clumping bamboos grow slowly and remain in a tight clump.
The rhizome system of the clumping species grow similar to an inverted umbrella and produce new shoots annually.
As the plant matures the circumference will grow slightly larger every year but very slowly.
Still, do be aware that it will grow and therefore choose your planting spot taking note that it may be a bit too close to a fence or wall to allow a small amount of growth.
These plants can also eventually break a pot when contained if the root system has grown too large for it and it hasn't been transplanted or trimmed.
It is very useful that bamboos can also be grown in containers. This is ideal for very small gardens and for moving plants around occasionally to give a different feel to your outdoor area.
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