The Q&A Archives: Alphonse Karr Bamboo Spacing

Question: If I plant Alphonse Karr Bamboo as a screen against my back fence, how close to the fence can I plant? I have a gap between the fence and a decorative curb of about 3.25 feet. Will the clumps get big enough and near enough to the surface to disturb the curb? Will the fence be disturbed? How close should I place the plants together if they come in 1 Gal containers or in 5 gal containers? How long would it take for each of these starting sizes to reach 10 ft tall. Our goal is to provide privacy from the 2 story house behind us.

Thanks for your help!

Answer: Alphonse Karr is a clumping type bamboo and over the years the clumps will grow in diameter as far as you will allow them to grow. If you're concerned about the plants encroaching your curb and fence, you might want to install a barrier prior to planting that will contain the roots of the bamboo. You can use a concrete barrier (12-18" deep) or dig a trench and set corrigated fiberglass or galvanized patio panels on their sides. These panels are manufactured for patio covers and are generally 18" wide and 6-8' long. Setting them on their sides will give you 18" of barrier to keep the roots at bay. Alphonse Karr bamboo clumps will expand in a circle so you can set the plants at least 4' apart (for quick coverage) or up to 15' apart for a more leisurely fill-in. If you think of bamboo as a giant grass, and water and fertilize regularly, the culms should grow 6-8' in 2-3 years and 10' in about 4 years. Best wishes with your landscape

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