Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bamboo privacy hedge, Part 2: Pleachy keen

"What a difference four months can make!" she said, as the great b. malingensis experiment continues.  Take a look at these before-and-after shots:
Starting conditions, screengrabbed from Part 1
Same view, June of 2013. 
You don't have to "ignore the present shapeless mass" any longer.  This past weekend, my husband and I got a wild hair because we were sick of looking at The Great Bamboo Blob.  It might be too soon to begin the pleaching process (we are afraid we will discourage height if we trim out the bulk), but what the heck - we took a chance:
Yes, that IS the same view, just four months later!  It's a bit scruffy, but it's still less than two years old right now.  Additional refinements will come with time. 
It's still growing more radially (as opposed to upright) than ultimately it needs to be trained to grow, but you can start to get a better idea of where this effort is headed.  The point in this very narrow space between the houses is to create scale and privacy while not appearing oppressive when viewed from either my property or my neighbors' property. 
Here's an example of an even narrower space where the bamboo has been trained to serve as an artistic focal point as well as providing visual privacy by extending the existing fence upward. 

Screengrabbed from this excellent Australian article on bamboo pleaching.   Note that the word "pleaching" as applied to bamboo differs from the mainstream landscaping definition
Obviously I have a larger space and a more substantial height requirement than what's shown in this wonderful example above, so I have a bigger pleaching job ahead of me.  But it's looking promising so far. 
Up and up and up she goes
Where she stops, nobody knows.

As I mentioned in Part 1, I don't know how tall this malingensis will get, because I'm the only person I know of who is growing it in north Galveston County, in these soil and microclimate conditions.  But one thing is clear - it hasn't topped out yet.  The new culms are coming in around fifteen feet. 
Stay tuned for future bamboo babblings.  Who knows what the next four months might bring?!

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