Bamboo Barrier: The Thicker the Better?

Bamboo. It is great stuff. It is beautiful to look at, sounds neat in the wind, and makes a lovely privacy screen from your neighbors. You know the saying good fences make good neighbors (or good privacy screens make good neighbors). But if bamboo isn’t contained, those same neighbors you are trying to get some private time from end up calling me. I take a lot of calls from people who are angry at their neighbors for planting bamboo, and gone is the good fences cliché.

We’ve spent some time recently in our blog discussing bamboo with our friend Jerry Burtonwhat it is, its uses, and how to contain it. There were some general guidelines on the size of bamboo barrier that should be installed. And typically, when I talk to a prospective customer, I suggest speaking to one of the growers about the size barrier to use based on the specific type of bamboo they are planting. Having said that, DeepRoot’s general bamboo barrier specification calls for a 24” depth barrier that is 40 mil thick.

A quick sidebar on what mil thick means. A mil is a thousandth(s) of an inch. This unit is used to define the thickness of paper, film, or sheet. For example, many of the typical garbage bags you use are about 3 to 5 mil thick. Your credit card is about 30 mil thick, which gives nice a point of reference.

So even though we typically spec the 24/40 size, you should know that we have 5 sizes of bamboo barrier ranging from 18” to 48” in depth with varying mil thickness of 30, 40, and 60. Please refer to our entire selection of sizes. Usually the 30 or 40 mil thickness will suit the average homeowner’s needs for a privacy screen, and the most appropriate depth will depend on the type of bamboo you are planting. If the barrier is going in retroactively, the site (or bamboo rhizome depth) will determine the maximum depth of the barrier.

Most people assume that the thicker the barrier, the better. In all honesty, this isn’t always the case. Again, I always suggest talking to the bamboo experts (you will need to scroll down to almost bottom of the page). The most important part of the barrieris to use it and maintain your bamboo and you’ll make a great neighbor if you do that.

Image: Jerry Burton


  1. I have an existing stand of big, running bamboo that migrated from a neighbor’s yard. I did trench along the property line prior to installing a fence but I really want to put a barrier in. It seems rhizomes are confined to the top 8″ or so. But some of the older bamboo is easily 30 ft tall now, so I’ve got to contain this to keep away from neighbors AND stay away from the foundation of my house. I can rent a trencher again and trench the entire grove. Question is in retrofitting a barrier, will it be easier/more effective to use the interlocking panels or will a 60-80 mil rolled HDPE be effective and manageable to install? Will likely place the barrier in a C around the grove, keeping my yard-side trench accessible for maintenance. Pros/cons for interlocking panels vs. rolled barrier?

    • Dear Andy,
      Thank you for your comment to the blog.

      The interlocking panels or Tree Root Guides are not the right product for your issue.

      You will want to use the Bamboo Barrier. If you are looking for a 60 mil thick product, we have two sizes a 30″ and 36″. From the sounds of your site, the 30″ would be more than enough.

      I suggest that you contact one of our Bamboo Barrier retailers for pricing and availability of the 60 mil product.

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