Large, hardy bamboo like grass, reaching 13 feet tall in one season.
A very strong grass. Giant Reed- Arundo donax. Grows in many soil types including dry. Here in our light loam over sand it does very well reaching 13 feet annually after a couple of years of planting. Advantages over bamboo are that it doesn't run. Spreads slowly and indeffinitely. Shallow rooted so can be uprooted where not required with a bit of effort. Provides shelter from wind and winter structure if not cut down after first season. Height and contrast through the growing season.
Arundo donax, despite some claims, is deciduous in the UK climate unless exceptionally mild. New stems from underground to full height in a season. You may cut down at the end of the season and leave tidy but here I leave the stems for a second season. The growth cycle is; First year a single strong stem with no offshoots. Second year the leafless stem produces short side shoots from every leaf joint. Which help make a thicker stand of stems. Third season dead. No doubt as claimed on various websites it flowers in a typical grass way but having grown it since 2002 I have never seen it flowe.r Here I cut down the dead/side shooted stems every early spring as I use the dense growth to help provide shelter for other plants through the windbreak effect. The canes are strong enough to use throughout the garden for a year or two and I also use them for kindling the woodburners.
Arundo donax has been used here a lot as I find the height very good. Compared to trees or shrubs the pruning is easy (ground height) and the ultimate height aronud 13 feet for me is perfect and achieved very quickly compared to the tree and shrub options. Without creating a canopy sun lovers can be planted right up to the clump on the sunny side.