Bamboo is a woody-stemmed grass that can grow anywhere from a few inches to 100 feet tall. It has a tropical appearance with long blades that sway in the wind. Clumping bamboos grow like shrubs, gradually getting larger and taller each year. Running bamboos spread with an aggressive underground rhizome system. The growth pattern of this evergreen makes it conducive to growing along a fence line. Not only does it form a dense fence-like appearance on its own, it spreads quickly, so there's no need to wait years for the desired results.
Prepare the soil. Bamboo needs moist, well-drained soil. Because of fertility, loams are best. Grab a handful and squeeze to see if water comes out. Bamboo cannot tolerate wet soil.
Check the sunlight. Bamboo plants need partial to full sun to thrive. Use the fence as a barrier between the plant and wind. Strong winds can make the bamboo bend over and break.
Plant clumping varieties 4 to 10 feet apart. In one growing season, they grow together and form a solid hedge if planted 4 to 6 feet apart. Wider spacing takes longer to fill in.
Space running bamboo plants 3 to 10 feet apart. They quickly spread and turn into a hedge. Control them by mowing around the planting area. The fence also help control them, but be aware that they are invasive enough to spread under the fence onto your neighbor's property.
Water every seven to 10 days when there is no rain during the first year of growth. Bamboo needs less water once it is established.
Mow shoots that appear outside the fence line. Use herbicides to eliminate competing vegetation if needed.
Feed bamboo with a complete fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Use one with a ratio such as 80 lbs. nitrogen, 35 lbs. phosphorus and 50 lbs. potassium.
Prune bamboo hedges once or twice a year. Let the canes grow freely in the spring then trim them to the desired height before they produce leaves. Make cuts an inch or two above a node.