I've been reading a lot about the benefits of bamboo in permaculture books:
It grows fast, provides a wind break, privacy screen and wildlife habitat.  You can eat it and you can use the stalks for mulch, plant stakes, etc.
It is supposed to be SPREADING — extra points!  We want it to spread.
Now I hear people say to NEVER EVER plant bamboo because it is invasive and what a horrible plant it is.
We got some reeds from a friend and planted them last fall. One was a few feet tall and the other was just a piece of root, here is a picture:4/10 planting update — I mistakenly called it bamboo.
It did grow a little this summer, but we barely had rain and it got about 5 gallons a week of kitchen water (the new trees got 10 gallons).  I'll post some new pics ASAP.
I've seen big reed stands grown at an elevation of about 3500 ft and really like them (probably watered with graywater), don't know how hardy it is, but it seems to do well here.
I don't really know the difference between bamboo and reeds, although I'm aware that the bamboo can have much larger stalks.  What else is different?
I still think reeds or bamboo are an excellent wind break in our area and cannot possibly be compared to “native” plants like desert willows that take quite a few years to get to 6 ft, take a LOT of room (as wide as they are high), can't be eaten and not much you can do with them.  Of course they have their place!   I've seen MANY properties around here with willows planted along the fence and it's as boring as any other plant.
We're looking for DIVERSITY, not a row of any plant along our about 900 ft of fence (an acre)
Our gardens need to be sheltered from wind ASAP.  We already use a 25 ft bamboo fence (Home Depot), but that's supposed to be temporary, to be replaced with something growing.

If you have any “invasive” spreading bamboo or reeds — please contact us and we might be able to dig it up if you are in the Kingman area.