Learn to manage your bamboo
growth using barriers

About bamboo barriers

HDPE (high density polyethylene) plastic sheet 30 inches tall x desired length has proven to be an effective tool to assist in controlling the unwanted spread of the running types of bamboo. A trench is dug around the bamboo, lined with the material, and backfilled. See below for detailed instructions.

Our 2 gauges of barrier thickness

60 mil barrier, 30" depth

$4.00 per foot custom cut to any length under 100 feet + $20 shipping

Bulk Roll Discount:
100 foot roll = $350 (approx. 80 lbs = $3.50 / foot) + free shipping 130 foot roll = $455 (approx. 100 pounds = $3.50 / foot) + free shipping

80 mil barrier, 30" depth

30% stronger than 60 mil barrier, recommended for use when maintaining large Phyllostachys.

$4.85 per foot custom cut to any length under 100 feet + $20 shipping

Bulk Roll Discount:
100 foot roll = $450 (approx. 100 lbs = $4.50 / foot) + free shipping

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Barrier clamps

$25/pair with ten stainless steel nuts and bolts. 28'' long and made to work with the 30'' barrier depth. Clamps are used to effectively seal the ends of the barrier together to form a full circle or total enclosure.

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Installation

Installing fully-enclosed bamboo barriers

Dig a narrow trench about 28 inches deep around the perimeter of the intended growing area, cutting and removing any rhizomes. Spread tarps around the designated trench line to catch the soil and help contain the mess. This is also helpful for backfilling the trench after the barrier is installed.

Use stainless steel clamps to secure the ends of the tarp. An electric drill is useful for making holes in the barrier to fasten the nuts and bolts. For added protection, consider double-lining the barrier as the recommended 30-foot circumference of the barrier may require additional support. Compact the soil by stomping around the trench several times during the backfilling process.

01

Dig a 28" deep trench around the bamboo, carefully removing any rhizomes encountered.

02

Any rhizomes encountered are cut and removed.

03

Tarps have been spread around the designated trench line to catch the soil and help contain the mess. This is also helpful for back filling the trench after the barrier is installed.

04

The barrier is installed and stainless steel clamp secured where  the ends come together. An electric drill is useful for making holes in the barrier to fasten the nuts and bolts. Because this barrier is only 30 feet in circumference, we have double lined the material for added protection. The soil needs to be thoroughly compacted by stomping around the trench several times during the back filling process.

05

The top two to four inches of the barrier must remain visible so as to detect rhizomes trying to escape over the top. A 3 to 5 inch layer of mulch will draw the rhizomes up near the surface which makes root pruning an easy task. Once per year, just beneath the surface of the mulch along the inside edge of the barrier, one should carefully cut and remove any rhizomes which have grown along it. Although you can get away with almost no maintenance for a few years, root pruning is very important for long term healthy bamboo and functional barrier.

Installing open-sided barriers

Dig a trench 28 inches deep around the proposed site, removing the topsoil first, then the heavier subsoil. If the site is very narrow, it may be easier to remove all of the soil from the installation rather than digging a trench. Avoid creating tight corners, as this may cause the barrier to fail due to undue stress to the material. For larger Phyllostachys, the total enclosure should have a circumference of at least 30 feet for the bamboo to reach its full potential.

Place the barrier into the trench. Being 30 inches tall, the barrier will stand proud of the soil by 2 inches. This stops any rhizomes escaping over the top without being detected.

Secure the overlapping ends with the stainless steel strips. Be sure that the overlap is only 2 or 3 inches, as a longer overlap may allow the rhizome to slip in between and negate the tightness of the joint. Merely overlapping the ends of plastic will not stop the escape of the rhizomes. The strips are 28 inches tall (the same as the depth of the trench) and must not protrude above soil level, thereby avoiding injury to feet.

Back fill the trench first with the subsoil, and compact this to drive out all air pockets.  Then complete backfilling the trench with the top soil and pack that tight, too. At all times, make sure no sharp objects (stones, glass, metal, or tree roots) come into contact with the barrier.  If the backfilled soil is not packed in tight, when the rhizomes contact with the barrier, they may be able to travel down through the loose soil and escape beneath the barrier, undetected.

Steps

A site about 12 feet in length has been selected to create a bamboo privacy screen.
The barrier trench is dug on three sides.
The lip of the barrier is higher than normal because the bamboo planting area is raised up on a 6-8 inch berm; this is useful for root pruning as the rhizomes usually spread within the upper four inches of the top soil. The outer edge of the berm should be checked by cutting into the soil with a sharp spade two to three times per year in the summer through fall during the bamboo's active spreading phase. Remove any rhizome attempting to spread out of the berm.
5 Gallon Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis' below have been intermixed with P. aureosulcata 'Harbin Inversa' to create a colorful screen. In three years they will achieve 20+ feet in height with enough density to block the view of the neighbors.

Maintaining fully-enclosed barriers

Leave the top two to four inches of the barrier visible to detect rhizomes trying to escape over the barrier. A three to five inch layer of mulch will draw the rhizomes up near the surface, making root pruning easier. Once per year, just beneath the surface of the mulch along the inside edge of the barrier, carefully cut and remove any rhizomes which have grown along it. Although you can get away with almost no maintenance for a few years, root pruning is very important for long term healthy bamboo and functional barrier.

Maintaining open-sided barriers

Check around the perimeter of the barrier once or twice a year, removing any rhizomes escaping over the top of the barrier or rhizomes that track just underground along the edges. Avoid digging too close to the barrier with a sharp tool or anything that could potentially damage the barrier, and never allow a mower or any other machinery to damage the protruding edges. This could cause the rhizomes (underground spreading stems) to escape undetected.

The use of bark mulch or other loose, organic substances spread 2 to 5 inches deep over the top of your planting area within the barrier encourages the rhizomes to spread just inches below the surface, making them very easy to locate and prune. It also makes for healthier bamboo!  It is recommended that you annually prune any rhizomes that track along the edges of your barrier as they can, over the years, build up a tremendous amount of pressure. And in some cases, this pressure can cause the barrier to fail.