Tag Archives: propagating bamboo

Shitty Neighbours Pt.3 – Top 10 bamboo tips

For juicy neighbour stories and a good laugh check “Dear Neighbour”.

So it’s been a while since I updated my blog with some shitty neighbours stories. I have received a large number of supporting emails and many inquisitive souls have asked for updates. As I am feeling in a festive mood today, I thought it would be the perfect time to provide yet another update.

The following top 10 bamboo tips have helped address my privacy issues with my neighbours. Consider this as free advice that worked for me. In no way do I recommend you try this yourself prior to seeking advice from your legal counsel.

Top 10 bamboo tips

1) Planting bamboo or similar plant to form a privacy hedge.

Obviously the tips outlined in this post are all related to protecting your bamboo investment. Make sure that if you decide to plant bamboo, you choose a clumping variety that suits your purpose. And if you have the time, money and patience, plant your bamboo in a raised garden bed so they can’t say “your bamboo is growing into our yard”. For my purpose, I picked Bambusa Textilis var. Gracilis.

top 10 bamboo tips

1 year old bamboo bought in November 2012

top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis in January 2013

2) Increasing the fence height and installing “garden furniture”.

According to Queensland’s construction governing body (BSA) and as outlined in the Qld Standard Building Regulation 1993 – page 125, you are allowed to build a support structure for a climbing vine that is exempt from all other building codes and regulations – this “type 10B” structure is labelled as “garden furniture” and it needs to stand less than 3.0m above ground level to meet the criteria.

Also, in accordance with the Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011, you are entitled to build a fence up to 2.0 metres above natural ground level on the joint boundary line. If you wish to go higher than 2.0 metres, you will need to complete a siting variation from your local council. Other factors are at play with joint fences and there is a “ceremonial” process that should be followed first (check the neighbourhood act) but the bottom line is if you have notified your neighbour of your intentions and have obtained council approval, then it’s all fair game.

top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis growing even though neighbours interfering

Top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis bamboo in late March 2013 – note timber posts

Top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis bamboo had leaves cut back in mid April as they had been heavily sprayed.

3) Placing surveillance cameras.

Surveillance cameras are fantastic for providing supporting evidence of liquid being thrown over the fence from your neighbours. Be mindful of rules around invasion of privacy. Check with your local police station or legal counsel before putting cameras up. I asked my neighbour if he knew anything about my bamboo being broken and sprayed. He told me he knew nothing about it, and added: “If you don’t believe me, you can put some cameras up” – so I did.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Surveillance cameras watching over Gracilis bamboo


4) Placing a bamboo screen on the “garden furniture”.

Once a bamboo screen is applied to this structure, the definition is altered and you will require a building relaxation which you must pay for.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Bamboo screen installed in late April.


5) Placing clear construction poly plastic on the fence.

This is one more way to stop any unwanted overspray from your neighbours and does not require any approvals.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Late July – Plastic installed to protect bamboo from deliberate spraying between fence palings.

6) Installing a timed irrigation system.

I think installing an irrigation system on my “garden furniture” was the best idea to date as it serves as a deterrent. Herbicides cost money and are ineffective if washed off on a daily basis. If you install a battery operated timer, you can configure it so your investment is looked after on a regular basis. And your bamboo plants will love you for it too! I bought these microjet sprinklers as they served the purpose perfectly.

Top 10 bamboo tips

180 degree microjet sprays are used to wash the bamboo leaves.

Top 10 bamboo tips

This fine spray mist works wonders as a deterrent.

Top 10 bamboo tips

The idea is to discourage the spraying behaviour.

Top 10 bamboo tips

This is overkill. One line is sufficient so I put control taps on each line.

7) Attaching bait bells to the fence.

These bait bells will guide you to where your neighbours are shaking the fence. Yes, my neighbours like to shake the fence so the bamboo slats in the bamboo screen slide out. Fence shaking also served to increase the gap between the palings so liquid can be sprayed onto the bamboo between these.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Jingle bells, Jingle Bells – neigh-bours shake the fence!

Top 10 bamboo tips

My neighbours like shaking the fence so bells are a must!

8) Starting a compost pile.

Studies have shown that adding natural compost and mulch to herbicide infested soil helps to break it down. Micro-organisms, microfungii, bacteria, thermophilic bacteria, and earthworms work together to break down insecticides, herbicides and other chemicals in the soil. If your compost heap is smelly, it probably means your carbon to nitrogen ratio and humidity levels are not right – just cover your compost with grass clippings or mulch. It works wonders!

Top 10 bamboo tips

The compost and mulch has worked absolute wonders for my Gracilis bamboo

9) Grow edible plants around the bamboo

When the day comes to take out a Peace and Good Behaviour order against your neighbours, you will need to provide some evidence that you feel threatened or are in danger from their actions. By growing such plants as tomatoes, mint or similar around the bamboo, you can tell the magistrate that you have video footage of liquid being thrown over the fence that lands on your edible plants and that you are afraid that the food you eat has been poisoned. You can also maintain a log book and take photographs of the leaves of these plants yellowing or dying off.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Planting edible plants and herbs such as mint is a great “insurance policy” in preparation for the Peace and Good behaviour order.

10) Start a blog

Starting a blog can be a great way to get support from friends and strangers. But be very careful, your neighbours may become aware that you have a blog and try to contact you via your blog. Signing them up for a new account to adultfriendfinder.com or similar can be one of many ways to respond to their email shenanigans without really responding – get my drift?

Top 10 bamboo tips

My Gracilis has more than doubled the number of culms it had.

These are some of my tips to help you address privacy issues you may have with your neighbours. Probably the best thing to do is ignore them, but if your neighbours are like mine then ignoring them is not enough, and you may need to put up a small barrier (like I did) or move house – if that is an option.

Shitty Neighbours pt 1 – How to propagate Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

“…and forms an excellent hedge for privacy, noise and pollution (such as smoke, dust, bad jokes and farts)…”

Dear reader, if you are after detailed instructions on how to successfully propagate Gracilis bamboo from cuttings, this is the link you are after: How to successfully propagate Gracilis bamboo from cuttings as I have managed to grow new Gracilis from cuttings after numerous trials. The instructions in this page were not that good and the rate of success was none.

Or you may like to read the entire Vicacinus story and ongoing saga at: this new site dedicated to stupid neighbours.

When dealing with plants, it is nice to know their latin name as they are broken down from the plantae kingdom into orders, families, genii and species. A similar principle can be applied when dealing with certain idiotic, intolerant and repulsive human lifeforms.

I hereby coin the term: “Vicasinus” – meaning stupid neighbour. From the latin: Vicinus Asinus (or Vicinus Plumbeus) – both correctly and adequately describe one of these.

Stupid Neighbour

Vicasinus – donkey next door


VIC·AS·IN·US /vikasinas/
Vicasinii, plural
Adjective: A neighbour performing the act of being an ass.
Noun: A neighbour who acts like a donkey.

I assume that by this point you are most probably asking yourselves, what do stupid neighbours have to do with the propagation of bamboo (and Latin)? Well, since my vicasinus was taking photos of me from his mum’s kitchen window, I suddenly felt compelled to look at ways to remedy a rather obscure, creepy and sinister behaviour. Local council regulation restricts fence heights to 2.0 metres, and since their window sits higher than 2.0 metres above ground, I had to find a better solution than a high fence (mind you, the fence is now 2.2 metres high).

Enter Bambusa Textilis Gracilis – a fast growing, clumping variety of bamboo (also known as a slender weaver for its gracefully thin aesthetic appearance). It grows to around 6.0 metres in height, and forms an excellent hedge for privacy, noise and pollution (such as smoke, dust, bad jokes and farts). It provides shade, peace and tranquillity –  a sense of zen. In addition, such hedges look contemporary and provide a little Asian flavour in your garden.

I’ve built a small raised garden bed around 70cm high and 1.2m wide (with the help of a couple of friends), to stop any unnecessary and unwanted root propagation. Although Gracilis is clumping, it does grow to a diameter of 1.2 to 1.5 metres. My hedge will be 36 metres in length so I will need approximately 30 plants planted at 1.2 metre intervals. Over time they will clump and blend rather nicely into one another.

Raised garden bed

Stone wall with fence and 75mm sleeper retaining wall


Hnawish helping build the stone wall

Hnawish working on the stone wall

To propagate Gracilis, you will first need to find some mature plants as they have the largest diameter culm. I got mine from my friend Ben who runs the local nursery Palms for Brisbane. He cut four mature plants using a curved hand saw and we were on our way. The steps to prepare the Gracilis are as follows:

1) Trim back any leaf nodes with a good pair of sharp secateurs – the leaves will die anyway.

Trimming back leaf nodes

Koray Trimming back leaf nodes

Koray trimming leaves

The leaves make a bit of a mess

2) Use a hack saw or sharp curved hand saw to cut the culm – starting below the joint (where the leaves come out of) and ending above the joint on the other side. The reason for this is that the plant layer where root growth takes place is between this joint and by cutting diagonally across, this layer is exposed.

Trusty hack saw

Trusty Hack Saw used to cut Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

Gracilis culms cut and ready for hormoning

Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

Trimmed leaves will die when placed into the potting mix

3) Prepare pots with potting mix. You could use smaller size pots, but I opted for 300mm pots as I will let the bamboo grow in these to a decent height. Also, you could put more than one single culm per pot and separate them at a later stage.

300mm plastic pots with potting mix

300mm plastic pots with potting mix

4) Get some medium rooting hormone (or honey works too) and apply to the culm where the cut was made. I made sure that the entire surface was well covered with the white powder. The active ingredient in butyric acid. I also applied a little beer to my lips to stop them from chafing.

Root Hormone

Root hormone is applied to the cut surface of the culm

Root hormone is applied

Culm with butyric acid applied for promotion of root growth

5) The culm is now ready to be planted! I stuck the culms into the potting mix at a depth of approximately 5 centimetres. Some of the culms wanted to tip over because of the loose soil – the watering stage was next and helps to compact the soil around the culm and keep it in its place.

Bambusa Textilis Gracilis - ready for watering

Bambusa Textilis Gracilis – ready for watering

So there you have it! 30+ pots of Gracilis planted… now we just play the waiting game and cross our fingers.The above plants were planted on this 8th day of September 2012 (first week of Spring in Brisbane). Ben told me to initially water them once a week and to keep them in a shady position, otherwise the culms may rot away if too much water is applied, and they may dry out too quickly if they are kept out in full sun.

Once the plants begin to catch on, water them twice weekly – they will appear dead before they come back to life again. Once the roots starts to develop, the plants become extremely thirsty and need regular daily watering for two months. You will then be able to add fertilizer into your potting mix – the plants don’t benefit from the nutrients until the roots have established. From what I am told it will take between 2 to 3 years for a plant to reach its full height. It is currently spring in Queensland, Australia, and the plants are thriving all around me. The bamboo will pause its growth pattern during the colder months but shoot up during the warmer months. I will touch base again in a few week’s time and post an update on the growth of the Bambusa Textilis Gracilis…

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