The Q&A Archives: Can Bamboo And Brazilian Pepper Live Together?

Question: I have planted two black bamboo clumps in between two Brazilian Pepper trees, unfortunately, it is only now that I am doing my research. I am coming to find out nasty legends about both species. Have I made a huge mistake or can they live together successfully? And if they can, will they destroy everything else? I appreciate any insight! Thanks! Ursula

Answer: I'm sure your research has revealed that there are two types of bamboo - running and clumping. The clumping variety is relatively well-behaved, although with time the clumps can become quite large. Running bamboo, the kind you have, will take off in all directions and it's best to contain it while it's young rather than try to control it once it's established. The trick to keeping it contained is to dig a narrow, deep trench where you want it to stop spreading and place fiberglass (or galvanized) panels sideways in the trenches. The 3' wide by 6'-8' long panels are perfect for the job. Alternately, you could pour concrete into the 3' deep trenches, making the barrier about 3" or 4" thick. Growing bamboo and a pepper tree in close proximity shouldn't be a problem for either, especially if you contain the roots of the bamboo. Otherwise, the root systems will compete for moisture and nutrients. (This may not be a bad thing - competition will keep both on the smaller side.) Your pepper tree will produce berries, many of which will sprout into new trees. You can eliminate this problem by raking up fallen fruit.

Good luck with your landscape!

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