Is Bamboo Good for Privacy? (Solved & Explained!)

Bamboo was originally brought over to America from China in the 1800s and has become quite popular, especially when it comes to designing wood floors for both interior and exterior applications. Its also popular as an exterior plant, although the species is considered to be invasive. 

Bamboo trees can grow singularly or in a dense pack with plenty of foliage and height to create a solid level of privacy. The only drawback to this is the fact that, as we mentioned above, bamboo is an invasive species and when some people use it as a privacy option, it causes damage to neighboring property. 

Fortunately, there are non-invasive bamboo as well and if you have the kind of neighbor that won’t take kindly to your wall of bamboo, you may want to consider a non-invasive bamboo. You may also need to consider whether or not there are local ordinances or rules if you belong to a homeowner’s association.

Best Bamboo for a Privacy Fence

When it comes to growing the ultimate bamboo privacy fence, there are three types of bamboo that you want to go for. 

  • Scottish Bamboo
  • Seabreeze Bamboo
  • Blue Chungii Bamboo

You also need to consider the fact that there are also two types of bamboo in terms of its invasiveness—clumping and running. The latter type of bamboo is the kind that’s invasive while the clumping bamboo is the kind that well, clumps up. 

You can set things up with running bamboo but you have to be very careful and keep the stuff hedged back. Running bamboo is unpredictable, can spread in any direction, and will do so quickly. So it requires a lot more preventative maintenance than clumping bamboo. 

Whatever area you set aside for clumping bamboo is exactly where it will grow, so you don’t have to do anything crazy. It’s also nice because wherever you plant it, it will grow from that point, outward. 

Other Bamboo Factors to Consider

You’re looking for what boils down to a privacy fence, so you will want bamboo based on things like density and height. 

Blue Chungii Bamboo

Blue Chungii isn’t really blue. A fair comparison would be to Blue Chungii and blue Dobermans. The Doberman pinscher is exactly blue, but if the sun catches it just right, it will have a blue sheen. 

That’s kind of how Blue Chungii bamboo is. Plus, the stuff grows to an average height of 30’, which is more than enough to create an excellent privacy fence. The stalks themselves grow to be about 2” in diameter and Blue Chingii patches are very dense, leaving very little in the way of gaps. 

Blue Chungii is considered to be clumping bamboo and it really does clump, growing out from a central point in a well-defined circle. However, it is considered to be very difficult to propagate and is highly labor-intensive. 

When you get it right though, Blue Chungii grows fantastically fast and you will be impressed by how quickly you reach the point where you have a good degree of privacy. 

Scottish Bamboo

Scottish bamboo doesn’t reach the towering heights of the Blue Chungii, but a good 15’ to 20’ will serve your purposes all the same. This bamboo type grows very dense as well. The problem with Scottish Bamboo is that it’s running bamboo, which means you will have to stay on top of it. 

Fortunately, it’s considered to be a low-maintenance bamboo type, so other than keeping the bamboo from spreading in the wrong direction, everything else, from pruning to cultivation is relatively simple. 

Slugs really love Scottish bamboo, so you will have to put in a little extra effort to keep them away or kill them if they have already moved in and set up shop. 

Seabreeze Bamboo

This is another, a perfectly dense bamboo choice that is considered to be a clumping bamboo, rather than a running. They’re also the tallest of the three choices on this list, reaching 40” on average. 

They’re also thicker, with 2-and-a-half-inch diameter stalks. Seabreeze bamboo tends to clump together in 4’ and 5’ groups, so you will have to maintain them in such a way that the groups stay close together, creating an effective screen. 

You can plant these in the spring and while they are not the easiest to propagate, they aren’t terribly difficult either. They grow fast too and you can expect to have several shoots by the time October or November rolls around. 

When summer comes around next season, Seabreeze bamboo will positively explode and you will have all the privacy you can possibly contend with in very little time. After all, it’s not like they have to reach their full, 40’ height before they start providing a decent level of privacy. 

When is the Best Time to Plant?

You should start with bamboo cuttings and try to get them to take root in the spring, preferably after a substantial level of rain. Bamboo prefers a lot of moisture in the ground if it’s really going to take off. 

If you live up north and away from the humidity and heat in the south, you can plant them in the early summer but you need to be sure you will have enough time for your bamboo to get enough meat on its bones that it is resistant to the cold. 

The best time is at least three months before winter officially arrives in your area. As far as the soil is concerned, you want some deep, well-draining soil that is highly fertile. Highly acidic soil is too much for bamboo but they do prefer some acidity. 

If you need to, feel free to use some compost or manure to get your soil improved enough to accommodate your bamboo and you will see them shooting up in no time. 

All Things Considered

Bamboo makes for a great privacy fence, so long as you know what type you are growing and the best ways to keep it under control, especially if it is running bamboo. Running bamboo can create serious problems for you and your neighbors, so avoid blindly purchasing bamboo and just winging it.