free Bamboo containment

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Hi all,
This plan prolly looks aloof, but I'm hoping for good things! Looking back on it, it seems a bit ill-conceived! I wanted to do this on the very cheap. Ok, heres what I used.. kitty litter jugs!
I think they'll likely be root-bound the second year. They are Phyllostachys bissettii Bamboos.
I plan to keep the Bamboos trimmed to 4 - 8 feet in height, if they even grow. I'd like to keep them trimmed to put less demand on the roots.
I should prolly be throttled about the face and neck, but I think I had to make a choice on how to do this cheap! It was either dig a deep trench, without any barrier, and gosh help us (and the neighbors) in about 2 years, or try to do something to contain, very cheap. I can take criticism!
Fyi, I drilled many drain-holes and Bissettii is supposed to be hardy to -15 F. And there is 7 cats here!

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Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Please keep us posted. I am interested in seeing how your experiment works out.

Bolingbrook, IL(Zone 5a)

I am also interested. I would love to grow some bamboo but the spreading problem has prevented me so far.

north coast nsw, Australia

wont the plastic become brittle with age and weather and crack letting the bamboo out?

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I think you could heap mulch over it to cover the pots. Look better, and keep the sun from deteriorating the plastic.
Might could use Rubbermaid tubs or buckets also?

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Sure, I'd gladly keep my Bamboo project updated. Yeah, eventually I'd expect the cat litter containers to crack and break open with age, (hopefully, 10 years or so), then it would be a landrush for the P. Bissettii Bamboo I'm sure. Kitty litter jugs is a pretty thick plastic, maybe they'll endure for a while. Plunking down mucho dinero for trench barrier wasn't an option, barrier for this trench would have cost around $150, I looked it up initially.

It sure has stayed green a long time, it's still mostly green. Springhill says "evergreen", but thats prolly just a cmon, nowhere else does it say evergreen. I can see where some of the leaves have turned yellow and some of those fallen off.

Oh FrillyLily, you read my mind about the mulch, I plan on mulching it good pretty soon.
I think mulch will also play a part maybe of keeping it under control before it gets out into the yard. If it's surrounded with mulch and then some landscaping edging around the mulch, that might stop runners itself if necessary. Mulch could be containment phase two if needed!

Then I'd go to phase three if I had to, pruning and lawnmowing any runners! Actually, its possible we may not be here when that happens. I hate to say that, but hey, I wasn't told my truck uses all the oil up in about 3 weeks either, when I bot it! lol But, I'd make sure any buyers of the house, in the future, knew what it was, and to try to keep it under control with pruning and mowing at least. I think it would be more valued as a screen for the deck more than being a nuisance, to us anyway it is, right now.

I don't expect too much height. I'll prolly need to keep it trimmed at 4 - 8 ft., because the room for the roots is gonna be minimal. All I have in the bottoms of the jugs is small drill holes for water to get out. Theres no big holes from a hole saw for roots and rhizomes to possibly get out. Runners can only go from jug to jug, I cut the sides of the jugs out, except the very ends of the jugs in the trench.

Theoretically, I'm hoping it works, the budget is nonexistent and the eyes are big! lol

I hope it's not like when I was in my twenties, I made a custom speaker-box for my subwoofers, so it'd fit between the front seats of my truck. Well, it didn't work, there was no room for the sound, the air didn't have enuff space to have any effect at all!

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north coast nsw, Australia

They'll fill these pots in no time thought won't they? are you going to pot them into bigger pots?
I have my bamboo in the biggest black plastic pots available and now i'm looking for something larger because i don't want to plant them. Im thinking wine barrels or something.

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Oh yes, they'll fill them up quick. Yeah, if I can find some very cheap or free larger containers, I might repot them. If they seem happy enuff at between 4 - 8 feet or so (to put less demand on the roots), I may just leave them. I'm not going for the height that they say they could get to, any time soon. I'm afraid I'm not able to go for ideal or close to ideal conditions, I was lucky to get the go ahead to buy them on somebody else's dime! Trust me, I don't want them to die! lol They are a bit proud of them at Springhill, the investment in just buying them (with shipping) wasn't cheap. If it looks like they're suffering or unhappy and turning brown, I'll do something before I let them die.
What I may do, is dig a deep trench and line it with treated boards or treated plywood.
Of course, eventually, I think nothing will keep them in and many years down the road they'll be all over the yard and possibly the neighbor's yards, but what to do? I'm not spending a small fortune on this project! What also stinks bad, is the digging, its a clayey dirt that is very difficult to dig. I had to swing a pick-axe to loosen the dirt enuff to shovel it for this little trench, if it hasn't rained in a while, its very hard to dig as well. I'm just experimenting with the kitty-litter jugs. I could very well need to do something more adequate. So far, the Bamboo is staying green, which is good! I even water them with the other plants. It'd only take about five minutes to get up those jugs if I need to do something else.

north coast nsw, Australia

My bamboo in big pots drys out to quick and i water it every few days with my other plants. Burying the pots in the ground would keep it a little wetter i supose. Bamboo runs just under the ground im sure, i think you can make a steel barrier that goes only so far under the ground and that will contain it for a fair while. I dont think it can go under it and back up. I'd make it big to start with though because it wont take long for the bamboo to fill it up.

This message was edited Nov 21, 2010 4:24 PM

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

What about planting it in tires? I suppose you could even stack the tires 2 deep, and then pile some mulch around it.

north coast nsw, Australia

Bamboo runs just under the ground, you'd have to bury a tyre or maybe more and they'd fill a tyre pretty quick.

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Yeah, the wheels in my head are spinning like a hamster cage now! Thanks!
Just having fun, I might be going for a larger container, something to work on this Winter, we have Winters unfortunately here in mid U.S.! lol

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Hmmm.. car tires eh? I don't have piles of tires and trash here anymore, somebody made me throw them out, dangit!

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

LOL you can get tires pretty large, tractor size even. Bury the tire part way and then bury the rest w mulch, no one will know it is a tire! Better yet put up some privacy fence and that'll make 'em mind their own bloomin' business....

If they send runners out, weed eat them off...

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Haha! Yeah, it really is just too bad if they run to the neighbor's yards.
I'm all about being a good neighbor and everything, but we can do what we want in ours!
It's unlikely to get over there anyway. We have close neighbors, its a regular residential neighborhood but the closest neighbor to the Bamboo planting has a big concrete driveway instead of grass nearest to the Bamboo. And I think maybe another neighbor sabotaged us years ago with Vinca, we like the Vinca tho. Vinca is everywhere back there, going up trees and all over the ground, it appears to be coming from a neighbor's yard. I'm pretty sure they'd be okay with getting some Bamboo someday maybe!
I'll sure keep the tires and the tyres in mind!
I wonder if runners would run thru mulch, anybody know? If mulch itself would stop them, I could make sure there is plenty of mulch around the trench. I've heard Bamboo can come back to the surface 8 feet from the plant, boy that sounds nasty!

Here is a bit on some Bamboo in OKC from our Central Midwest forum friend, happgarden, I know you might relocate to OK, FrillyLily. Is Lawton anywhere near OKC? -

Kansas City, MO
(Zone 5a)

March 25, 2010
04:30 PM

Post #7655518

Shortleaf, be careful with the bambooI know someone in OKlahoma City that planted bamboo in a sub division. It got so out of control and in her neighbors yard and nothing killed it that she had to have all the dirt dug out around her house 3 feet deep! It is hard to contain no matter what you try to do and extremely hard to kill, ie digging it up like my friend. I would love to have it because I think it is beautiful, but I would hate for the farmer next to me to end up with 20 acres of bamboo, he would hate it even more! LOL
Commache acres every spring sells 3 rhizones of iris (different varieties) in bags during May and I am thinking they are $7, I have purchased lots of rebloomers and others. Course 1 bag at $7 for years...LOL eventually you end up with some nice blooms, but a slow process.

Beautiful bloom on that dahlia, beautiful.

Our driveway is like quicksand except quick mud! I need days without rain.

Hate to hear about your truck problems, I hate those, costly and you can't see it, wear it, or plant it...LOL

Sun is shining, yeah!"

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

lawton is about an hour and half south of OK, a little more to the west, not straight south.
I would aspect that bamboo would love to root into mulch, easy rooting there, and moisture too...

north coast nsw, Australia

Mulch is just giving the bamboo something to run through. The only thing that would stop it would be to build a barricade all the way around it. but leaving a big enough area inside for it to grow a fair bit.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

What about a plastic kiddie pool? Grow it in that, mulch or stones around the pool to cover that up.

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Hmmm.. come to think of it I think like mulch-like stuff is thot of by plants as a good growing medium. I have a Dwarf Eastern White Pine 'Nana' growing in nothing but pine bark. It appears very healthy and has for years. I still want to do the mulch around the trench, of course surrounded by a landscape edging. And of course, weeds will grow in anything! lol

I've thot about a kiddie pool too for some things, but I don't know if the shape would be good for a screenlike Bamboo planting. I thot about growing roadside Cattails in a kiddie pool maybe. I don't know if it has the depth needed for some plants, (overwintering waterplants in one maybe more so).
Altho, I'm not really a stickler for that myself, some plantings and plants, (even in nature),
don't get the ideal conditions and they do okay.

I got a better photo of the Bamboo trench today with my better camera. That other camera is supposed to be better, but it takes a bluish greenish photo much of the time.
If you look closely, you can see it already has some upward shoots 3 feet tall or so,
(around 1 metre). In the photo its hard to see with all the leaves and the green grass and weeds still green too.
I'm wondering how long it'll stay green, that would be neat if it really is evergreen! An evergreen Bamboo screen would be nice!

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Oops, heres that photo.

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Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

There are "clumping" bamboos that aren't supposed to "run." Anyone have any experience with that? I would like to try bamboo some day, but right now it still scares me. ;-)

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

Clumping bamboo is GREAT!, but to keep it looking good you will have to cut poles when they start to look bad.

Running bamboo shouldn't really be that bad of an issue in your zone, and it is very easy to keep it in check, just take a lawn mower and cut the new shoots down when they start. If you get some of the runners that are known for great eating then you could just dig them up and eat them, that is one way to keep a runner in check...LOL This site has lots of information on it as well as the American Bamboo Society,


suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Thanks meadow for the sites. Oh, there is a few running Bamboos here I don't think that care about the occasional minus ten degree Winter, and even colder! I've got one friend a few miles from here whose backyard is well on the way to being ruined by a grove of Bamboo that is in the process of going everywhere, including the neighbors yards. She is trying to control it now by cutting the tops off but they'll be right back I told her.
Here is a photo of the biggest grove in my friend's yard, see it in the fence and it has spread to this other area of her yard about 15 feet away where it has formed another grove. That original grove that I'm standing in front of is quite a bit narrower in diameter than it usually is because she's been cutting down the outside, but it'll be back. She says new shoots grow about 10 feet a year.

I got a start of this Bamboo (in a big red

Clumping Bamboo seems a bit expensive. But, I think it would be better for a planter or inside the house, and of course staying in control.

I've got something of an update on my "free Bamboo containers", they are finally kinda taking off! I still have yet to mulch all around them and make it look nicer. There are some stalks that are probably 6 feet tall.
I'll probably trim them if they get much taller, the root systems can't be too pleased in the cramped confines of the kitty litter buckets. I'll post more photos later after I landscape it all nice with more rocks and mulch.

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