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I have a very large golden bamboo grown in a large container. It's about 5-6 years old & has always performed very well. I water it copiously & feed it regularly throughout the spring & summer. It's primary purpose is to provide privacy from my neighbours. It cannot be planted out as the screening is required on a patio. The problem is that it is about 15ft high, possibly more & it's now grown to the height of my neighbour's laburnam tree next to it. Everytime we experience strong winds, the pot blows over, despite wedging huge sacks of compost & grit against it. It takes forever to right the pot as the root ball is so heavy. What is the best way to reduce the height & still retain a natural appearance. From the research I've done, if I cut above the corns, I will end up with lollipop bunches of side shoots which I believe is unsightly. I do not wish to prune it to the ground as we will no longer have any privacy. Is any other method available? Can anyone help? I have read that autumn or winter is the best time to perform any pruning. Is that correct? 


  • Lilly Lolly says:

    if I cut above the corns, I will end up with lollipop bunches of side shoots which I believe is unsightly.  

    See original post

    I don't think you'll have the Lollipop problem, but it depends a bit on which variety it is - one of the mop-head types, or one of the strong-cane types. 

    Next time it blows over I would trim all canes at the height you want, say 8 feet, and then stand it back upright.  Cut just above a node - a pair of secateurs or loppers will do the job.  The canes won't re-grow from the point at which you cut them, so will stay at that height. I imagine that the container you have is attractive? but another alternative is to stand the container in a bigger, outer, container and fill that full of gravel / stones to stop it blowing over.

    As it is container grown I expect its new growth is limited, but if it grows too strongly you could also control its vigour by cutting off SOME of the new shoot that appear each year. The new growth will provide plenty of leaf canopy during the growing season for energy, so I would prune in Autumn - unless the hieght of the new canes is a problem within the year. As the clump matures it will produce stronger canes each year (although limited somewhat because it is container grown), these will have thicker and taller canes; you might want to thin-out the thinner canes to keep the more impressive ones.  I "train" the new canes to be upright - bending them behind / amongst others as they grow - to prevent them coming out at odd angles. If you have some thing which blocks the view to the neighbours low down? you might also trim off the lower leaves to show-off the canes

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,295

    It's hard to let things go but this bamboo is too tall for purpose.. If you cut it back you'll just get canes, as kgarden says, they won't regrow from where you cut. 

    You could cut out a few canes completely, that could reduce the effect of the wind. If you starve it a bit the new canes that grow might be shorter (but I don't know that, just an idea)

    I think you need a smaller bamboo

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Whilst they won't regrow they'll still be a good thicket, with a "flat top", and new canes will come each year to supplement them (and, indeed, replace them if older canes are cut out).

    If the variety is a "mop top" type then it might just leave a thicket of canes, but they'll still have side shoots on them ... I suppose next time its lying on its side would be a good time to "dress" the top to see what the bottom, say, 8 feet would look like on its own.

    I bought a Bamboo, which had been grown in a large container, on eBay and planted out in my garden so that might be another alternative - Flog It! and start over. I paid about the same as the original, smaller chap, would have cost (so cost-neutral for the seller).  Downside of that route is losing the tall screen for a while - unless you have a pair: one-coming-on and one-ready-for-sale.

    Last edited: 27 December 2016 09:32:04

  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,350

    I think it would look fairly dreadful if you gave it a hair cut at the required height. As on many things Nut is right.

    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,400

    A photo would help. Could you remove the longer older canes completely, leaving a few shorter, younger ones? Maybe split it and refresh the compost at the same time. 

  • aym280 says:

    The water to my house is very low in pressure, will this stop the whole thing from working,

    See original post

    Because of low pressure you might be better off with Leaky Hose. No use [i.e. permanently installed] for watering a lawn though image. I have pieces a metre or two long arranged in a circle around each shrub etc. held in place with some U-shaped hoops from old wire and then a Tee-joint onto a 16mm pipe that meanders through the border. I used LDPE pipe instead of hose - it won't go round relatively sharp bends, unlike a hose, so needs to have right-angle fittings for those. But pipe and fittings are reasonably cheap - e.g. barbed T-connectors are about 10p each

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