How to use clumping bamboo to grow a bamboo hedge

This page explains how to growing a hedge (a neat screen) using clumping bamboo.It explains how and when and where to cut the bamboo to keep it at whatever height you choose

If you have not already done so, it’s probably best to read the ‘How to Grow a Bamboo Screen’ page first because this page is for what to do once you have a screen but want it to be 4m and not 6m. It is super easy to do.

Please feel free to download our care guidelines. NOT instructions. There is nothing ‘ special’ about clumping bamboo, it just grows differently to most other plants and you should feel comfortable experimenting, but let them get established first, these guidelines will help you do that.

Examples of a Bamboo Screen

Slender Weavers Pool Screen
Slender Weavers Pool Screen
Slender Weavers Garden Screen 2
Slender Weavers Garden Screen
Slender Weavers 3 Years Old Gracilis Bamboo Screen In Syndey 

This is a screen 

B. Multiplex Hedge Sydney Bamboo 1

This is a hedge (and a screen)

Confused? Don’t be. Feel free to call them what you want, the point being made here is that clumping bamboo is very easy to cut down and keep at lower height and to make the distinction we refer to this as hedging. There is nothing more to it that that.

The reason we have made a separate page is that there are a couple of very simple things you need to get right to cut the bamboo back and get the best out of it. You just need to know when and how to cut it, and the photos below should make that obvious

Grow A Bamboo Hedge

How to Grow a Hedge With Clumping Bamboo

per plant per year 10 minutes

Step 1, allow the bamboo to reach the height you need fully leafed out

Leafed Out Culms

This is explained in the How to Grow a Bamboo Screen Pagee

Sydney Bamboo Slender Weavers 200Mm Pots 2 Edited

Step 2 When mature (year 2 onwards) clumping bamboo puts up shoots all together and all at the same time of year (late summer).

Slender Weavers Screen

The shoots take about 2 months to reach full height.
In the Case of Slender Weavers, when mature, this means they will be putting up 8m shoots.
So how and when do you trim the plants to keep them at a lower height for the rest of the year? To look like this:
Neat Hedge Of Slender Weavers

Step 3 Cutting the bamboo to make it form a hedge

Img20210630092046 1 Scaled

There are several clumps along the perimeter of my fence, all but one I had already cut to about 3.5m when these photos were taken
The screen doesn’t need to be more then 3.5m and letting it grow to 8m blocks sunlight from my neighbour.
He was already concerned the bamboo would invade his yard but it was easy to explain that clumping bamboo cannot do this.
I have always kept it at that height because I’m a nice person.
It also means that there are less leaves per plant which means less water demand, which means they are even more tolerant of drought.
The other reason is that they are planted to screen the house at the back and you can see from the photos further down so hey are cut just above the window level, so privacy for both of us.
I have NEVER watered these clumps of Slender Weavers

Ready To Cut, You Can Tell By The Leaves At The Top Of These New Culms (Canes)

Step 4 – Making sure you know when to cut

All the shoots come up at once in late summer.
Once they stop growing, they begin to harden up and put out branches and leaves at the top.
This is when they are stiff but flexible enough to easily bend down and also the best time to cut them because they are in the branching out mode.
Removing the top half of the culms (canes) means the bamboo responds by putting out a lot more branches and leaves lower down, so you get a much denser bushier screen too.
Here are some photos to give you an idea of when to cut them (once you’ve seen them grow for a few months it becomes obvious.
Shoots Ready To Cut Vs Not Ready 2 Scaled

Where To Cut Bamboo Scaled

When To Cut Sheaths Scaled

Cutting Slender Weavers To Make A Hedge

Cutting Slender Weavers To Make A Hedge

Culm Cut And Released. Notice How It Springs Back Upright. Redplastic Is Where It Was Cut For Reference Scaled

Step 5 Is there an easier way to look at bamboo and know when it’s OK to cut it to a lower height?

Yes, most definitely, it’s just when you’ve bent them down first a few times to look at them up close it’s much easier to recognise from just looking at them.
This is by far the easiest way to tell.
All the shoots take about 2 months to reach full height.
Then they harden up and start to put out branches and leaves.
Once there are some branches and leaves forming from the TOP of the culm, then is the time to bend the culm down and cut.

Shoots Ready To Cut Vs Not Ready 2 Scaled

If the bottom of the culms look like this, then they are definitely ready to cut

When The Culms Look Like This They Are New And Ready To Cut

If you see the culm sheaths falling off then it’s a sign they are ready to cut

Bamboo Sheath Falling Off

Step 6 How do the bamboo plants respond to form a hedge?

I Cut These About 3 Weeks Ago 4 Copy Scaled

These culms are definitely ready to be cut

Ready To Cut, You Can Tell By The Leaves At The Top Of These New Culms (Canes)

After Cutting

After Hedging The Bamboo

Once cut the culms NEVER grow taller, all that happens is the nodes quickly form into branches.
Some times this may not fully happen until the following spring.
If the shoots come up early enough then there can often be enough time left in the season form them to fully leaf out

How To Cut Bamboo To Keep It At A Lower Height And Form A Hedge

Buds Forming Branches 3 Scaled

Buds Forming Branches 4 Scaled

3 Weeks Of Branch Growth After Cutting Slender Weavers

3 Weeks Of Branch Growth After Cutting Slender Weavers

Supply:

  • wheelbarrow

Tools:

  • secateurs or lopers

Materials: Bamboo Bamboo Plants Fertiliser Mulch Secateurs or Lopers Patience and time

ddd

With some careful attention to trimming and pruning almost any look is possible

Slender Weavers Screen
Slender Weavers When Left To Grow
Slender Weavers Pool Screen
Slender Weavers When Cut Back To Form A Hedge

Have a look at the photos below and notice that in some cases. the plants are taller than they need to be.

This causes them to weep over slightly.

They also have more leaves.

More leaves exposed to a wider area of sun means they are likely to draw up more water than keeping them cut back.

Certainly, cut back, well maintained bamboos do seem to and grow more vigorously and are more resilient to harsher conditions

There is NOTHING wrong with doing this, it’s up to you what kind or look you want.

Reasons to Cut your Bamboo Back

Slender Weavers Screen
Slender Weavers Cut Just High Enough To Provide Mutual Privacy For Us And Our Neighbour
Slender Weavers Garden Screen 2
Slender Weavers When Cut Back To Form A Hedge
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