Growing hardy bamboo as a living fence may seem like a good idea, but bamboo has no respect for property lines. It's really a giant grass, and many hardy bamboo species spread by sending out shallow rhizomes, that pop through to the surface as shootsthe growing tips of new canes. Two or three times a year, you can use a sharp spade to slice off the new shoots that appear on your property. Once severed, they'll die back and won't need to be dug up. If you were to use an herbicide to kill the bamboo on your side of the fence line, your neighbor's mother plants could be seriously damaged. Because it's virtually impossible to stop bamboo from spreading, the American Bamboo Society (www.bamboo.org) recommends installing a concrete or fabric barrier that works like an underground fence. In climates where bamboo spreads more slowly than it does in the South and West, a trench 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide, filled with small pebbles or pea gravel, makes a serviceable barrier. To make a pebble barrier work, each spring chop through the pebbles with a sharp spade to sever any rhizomes near the property line.