Usually, a bamboo hedge in New Zealand, is allowed to grow without care for years. My brother lives in Coromandel on a property that has a 300m long hedge of Bambusa Oldhamii that has not been cared for at all for its many years of existence.
People have come and taken bamboo from the hedge. They cut the culms about 50cm from the ground, leaving a stubble that can't be walked through or over.
The hedge fills up with the dead branches that drop off the dying culms. The dying culms start to rot at the bottom and start to fall over but are prevented by the living culms. An impenetrable hedge is the result. It looks awful as half the hedge is made up of dead bamboo.
This was the state of brothers bamboo hedge. Brother cleared about ten metres of hedge following my advice. "Cut the stumps and dead culms off as low to the ground as possible. Get rid of all the detritus. Burn it, recycle it or shred and compost it. Don't pile it up and leave it to rot."
I came to visit and extended his work another two metres. We burnt the dead bamboo in a nearby pizza oven. No open fires were allowed at this time of year.
Here are some fotos.
Although some culms have a little green, they have been dying from the top down. They can't be rescued.
Some culms have grown to an amazing height.
The pizza oven had a large capacity. The bamboo produced beautiful charcoal before it finally burnt down to white ash. We had a lovely pizza meal on Friday night.
The hedge is in the background. The foreground has pile of rubbish that has to be carried to the fire.
This foto shows the hedge with the part that still has to be cleared further along. Dead culms are leaning over awards the road. The nearest part has been done.
Another view of the hedge with the cleared part on the right.
The entrance way to the inside of the hedge is right on the end.
There is space inside the hedge to walk between the culms. Here the stumps are a little long but bearable.
There were a lot of culms growing here. Oldham is a clumping bamboo, and so the culms are tightly packed.
I started to work just beyond this point. There is a lot of leaf litter on the ground.
Some of the culms are quite old, [but they have leaves to the top].
At the back you can see the part of the hedge that still needs attention. It is choked with detritus. Stumps that are too high threaten to trip the adventurer or catch his foot. It is a lot of work to free a single metre of hedge.
This shows the detritus from closer in. DON'T EVER LET YOUR BAMBOO HEDGE GET LIKE THIS. Act sooner and keep it clear.
It helps not one jot, to clear the hedge and leave a rotting pile like this!
When the work is finished, it will likely mean it is time to start over. However, we had some nice pizza. Bamboo Charcoal is really great for cooking.
I also took home a carful of bamboo poles for my god-daughters wedding.
Cheers, Chris the Pipemaker