The title of this post is a bit misleading, as I don't see the subject as really a "problem" -- not a big one at least. It's my beautiful Fargesia 'Rufa' clumping bamboo:
The trouble is that it wants to splay open to some extent, getting wider each year. (It gets taller too, but more wide than tall.) I was going to fix this last summer but stopped when I discovered the wasp nest inside. No wasps right now, so a perfect time to fix this little irritation.
This plant is now blocking the path that goes from the patio to the pond:
It's not completely inaccessible, but not everybody likes to push their way through foliage like I do.
If you look back at the first photo you can see that the top center of the plant dips in. That's because the tall culms that were filling out the center of the plant got weighed down with leaves and are now leaning outward.
Here's what the center looks like looking down:
A closer view:
What's my plan to fix this?
Wire hoops! I took the wire lengths that were once meant to hold frost cloth over my winter veggies and bent a "hook" at each end.
Those hooks can be used to connect to each other creating a loop of wire, or they can be hooked onto bamboo culms.
I made a complete hoop to gather up the central culms, then used three or four additional loops to bring some of the side culms up too -- those hooked onto the central mass of culms.
The hoops are not really noticeable unless you're down low. (If you're that low you're probably pulling weeds for me so I'll forgive you for seeing the "unmentionables")
A little bit of pruning finished things off. The end result:
Here's the "before" shot again for comparison:
The whole thing is a bit taller and just has an overall nicer shape. Notice that I could get a little closer with the camera for the "after" shot since the plant is not nearly as wide.
The pathway is much nicer now (no more getting hit in the face with bamboo):
I need to do something on this side though...
...as the original path is completely covered and you have to walk along the sloped ground to skirt the bamboo.
I have creative ideas but that's a task for another time, after the springtime chores are finished!
Now that I have some hoops in place, I'm hoping that this year's culms won't droop as much once they leaf out. I'll let you know in a couple of months!