The most effective low maintenance hedge and screening plants for Australia depends on whether you have narrow spaces, the height you want, and whether you are limited to planting in pots.
The idea that we can only plant natives for wildlife is not always valid.
Most people planting bamboo or other fast growing tropical plants are in a human environment who have a need for screening. They can either built a large fence or plant a fast-growing plant.
Lillypillies and other native screens can take too long, take up too much space, and buying them in very large sizes is too expensive and impractical for most people.
We have planted more than 4,000 native trees on our property, part of which is rewilded. We farm and garden organically and believe in regenerative agriculture. Our nursery here provides natives as well as clumping bamboos, tropicals, indoor plants, organic biodynamic composts, fertilisers and mulches. We have created microbial and beneficial insect habitats.
When nature has dedicated space and refuge, she will inevitability find a way to survive. In terms of habitat, often as well or better than with natural flora. For example, green tree frogs, finches, magpies, possums, hawks, and a plethora of small and medium size birds and reptiles all love to live and utilise the bamboos due to its density for nesting, availability of nesting materials and evergreen nature.
I have worked on properties which had large lillypilly hedges over the entire boundaries and around all of the individual paddocks. I would say there would be equal birdlife, if not more, had the boundaries been planted in Gracilis bamboo. This is not to mention the carbon being sequestered by the bamboo, due to its density. Bamboo absorbs 4x the carbon dioxide and releases 35% more oxygen into the atmosphere than an equivalent stand of typical hardwood trees.
Many properties have previously been cleared and a line of fast-growing, tough clumping bamboo can be the perfect wind and sun break to re-establish a native shelter belt. Where I have practiced this, the native trees will grow three times quicker than those completely exposed to the elements (without the clumping bamboo).
Ultimately it is up to each individual and their own taste as to what they plant on their property. I feel like we should be encouraging each other to plant more (as long as it’s the correct type of plant for the space e.g. clumping not running bamboo) and give more space to nature.
Happy planting and we hope to see you soon at Bamboo Park.
– Ed Wright
- .Global Ecology and Conservation Volume 3, January 2015, Pages 654-663. Managing
woody bamboos for carbon farming and carbon trading.
- NESAD Institute for Advanced Development Studies, Our World In Data
- Farrelly, David (1984). The Book of Bamboo. Sierra Club Books. ISBN 0-87156-825-X.
- “Fastest growing plant”. Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014.
- Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- Lakkad; Patel (June 1981). “Mechanical properties of bamboo, a
- natural composite”. Fibre Science and Technology. 14 (4): 319–322