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Will Fargesia nitida damage nearby tarmac?

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I need to put a boundary hedge round my new build house and the Council have objected to my suggestion that we use Fargesia nitida on the basis that the root system is likely to damage the adjacent footpath. They are asking for us to suggest native species of hedging. First off, does anyone have any experience of whether or not Fargesia species will damage tarmaced areas close by? If you can confirm that it will cause such damage are there any other suggestions. They'd like somthing that will quickly get to 2-3m and I would like something that complements my very modern house. It is 30m long and to the north & west of the house (about 15feet away so some shade from the house). I'm in Oxfordshire.

On plant Fargesia



Fargesia may very well come up through tarmac, unless you put an impermeable barrier at least 18 inches vertically into the soil. Perhaps you could negotiate with the Council as to what they would consider an impermeable barrier (I use, wherever possible, vinyl flooring, but it has to be a solid barrier, not bricks or slates laid overlapping). They may then allow you to use the plant you want.
Otherwise, 2/3 m of rapid growth, well, that's seems an awfully high hedge they want - Fargesia would certainly fit the bill. The only thing I can think of that grows relatively rapidly and will reach that height is Photinia fraseri Red Robin or similar - it is evergreen and can be used for hedging. It's also, thankfully, quite attractive and all new leaf growth is red, so cutting it encourages that red colour.

20 Jun, 2009


You could try Japanese Privet Ligustrum japonica. This makes a teller tree than the ordinary Privet and flowers quite pleasingly.

20 Jun, 2009


fargesia does not require any root barrier at all as its clump forming and generally well behaved.

20 Jun, 2009


Bamboos right- fargesia will spread and it is a pain to dig out when established.

21 Jun, 2009


There are several varieties of Fargesia . The one which I had was a terrrible invader. However it flowered three years ago and is now dead but its remains are still a problem requiring great efforts to remove.. Do check which type you intend to use if you do decide on it. There are suitable Bamboos clump forming which you should be able to obtain.

21 Jun, 2009


i think it mureillia(? probably wrong spelling, but i know what i meant) is the one i sweated and bled over removing! It had gone under gravel borad of fence.

25 Jun, 2009


Admittedly this is a very late addition, but I strongly suspect that the above contributors have confused Fargesia with Pseudosasa, Sasa or possibly Phyllostachys. Fargesia is almost invariably a very tight, clump forming bamboo that does not run and needs no barrier. The rhizomes remain just a few inches below the soil surface and expand only very slowly over a period of many years. Eventually they will expand to around a metre across at the base, but are very easily restricted by simply cutting through any unwanted sections with a sharp spade. Fargesias do not try colonise new ground and are ideal for small gardens especially where there is light shade.

The op's original choice of Fargesia nitida was a good one since that species makes a neat, upright screen of slender, blackish-purple canes to around 3m high from an eventual base of not much more than 80cms across after very many years. 'Jiuzhaigou' is possibly a seedling of nitida and an improvement on the species with brighter coloured canes and a more elegant style of growth. It makes a good hedge, but needs part shade to perform really well. When selecting Fargesia for screening, you need to check that their habit will not result in passers-by becoming showered in wet weather. Some produce wonderful arching canes that look wonderful, but can be a nuisance during wet weather if planted in restricted areas where there's a lot of foot traffic.

A few vigorous 'runners' have given bamboos a bad name and those who are not familiar with them tend to lump them all together as being damaging and invasive. Two regularly seen genera of bamboo that can cause problems if not contained within a barrier are Pseudosasa (not too bad) and Sasa (an out and out thug). The latter is highly invasive and S. palmata is very difficult to eradicate once it gets a hold. Only grow it in a large pot! The only species of Pseudosasa likely to be encountered is P. japonica, which is a runner, but does not have the same colonising propensities of Sasa palmata.

18 Jul, 2010


Useful info there, thanks, but I'm well aware that Fargesia should be clump forming - the trouble is, it sometimes isn't, and does spread, as I know from experience. It's not as bad as Phyllostachys, but let's put it this way - having had to spend hours trying to eradicate a Fargesia muraeliea (sp?) from various areas ten years ago, I won't be risking planting it again without a barrier. On the other hand, I have grown it in another garden and it hasn't spread or run at all, but I'm still not prepared to risk it in a client's garden - they'll only call me back to deal with it if the worst happens, and as far as I'm concerned, prevention is most definitely better than cure, lol!

18 Jul, 2010

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