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Cold Hardy Bananas This forum is dedicated to the discussion of bananas that are able to grow and thrive in cold areas. You'll find lots of tips and discussions about keeping your bananas over the winter.


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Old 12-06-2008, 03:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Bags are 3 mil contractor bags, filled with leaves that the thoughtful neighbors left on the side of the street for me. One hole in the bottom of the bag, one hole in the top, no hole in the top of the top bag.

Musa itinerans var. itinerans


From left to right: M. itinerans, M. sikkimensis 'Red Tiger', M. 'Helen's Hybrid'.




Total cost = Whatever I paid for 30, 42 gallon contractor bags (on sale) at Home Depot (I forgot how much they were). And it is effective! I've been using this method for years.
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Old 12-06-2008, 04:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Pinwheel Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

Very interesting...I would just be concerned that the wind or neighborhood varmant might try to climb it and push it over???....I keep thinking that pipe insulation would be worth a try..but I have not found any with a wide enough diameter...I will keep looking...it certanly would be easier to put up and take down....
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

I suppose that could happen, but it hasn't yet. They have stood up to some pretty strong winds too. Sturdier than it appears. Pipe insulation is much more expensive than this method!
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

Good job Frank, when you come up with something easier and less costly please post
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

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Good job Frank, when you come up with something easier and less costly please post
LOL! I'm already drawing up plans...
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

Nice, Frank! How about adding some Christmas lights to those bags for some decoration?
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Extreme Winter Lows: 5-15F, Extreme Summer Highs: 100-112F, Annual Precipitation: 52 inches
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

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Nice, Frank! How about adding some Christmas lights to those bags for some decoration?
I should have mentioned that these are in the backyard, LOL! I don't think the neighbors would take too kindly to a display such as this in the front yard. Christmas lights? Not in the budget!

Thanks, Austin!
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

Hey, Frank! I have been doing the same thing here! (except some have cages...some have bags) It seems to be working well.

I might use white bags on some of the larger ones to have a winter-long snowman (sharpie on the nose and eyes, buttons, poke in the arms, done deal!). Ha!
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

That looks incredibly easy!! I'm going to try that next year. I notice alot of dried nana leaves at the base. What temp. did you let it get to before you cut them down to cover?

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Old 12-07-2008, 02:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Joy Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

I do the cage thing and throw in oak leaves....but my little patch of bananas is now 13....thats a LOT of leaves......I may try the bag stacking method next year. thanks for sharing...
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Old 12-07-2008, 11:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

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That looks incredibly easy!! I'm going to try that next year. I notice alot of dried nana leaves at the base. What temp. did you let it get to before you cut them down to cover?

Deb
I just covered them up this past week, and I've already recorded 12F at my house (15F at Knoxville airport (TYS)) and many, many 20+F readings. It's cold here tonight too, so I'm glad they're covered now (19F a few minutes ago). I hate to throw out the leaves, so I use them as mulch. They look uglier than hell, but it is my backyard, lol.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:15 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

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I just covered them up this past week, and I've already recorded 12F at my house (15F at Knoxville airport (TYS)) and many, many 20+F readings. It's cold here tonight too, so I'm glad they're covered now (19F a few minutes ago). I hate to throw out the leaves, so I use them as mulch. They look uglier than hell, but it is my backyard, lol.
I left mine for mulch too on what I overwintered outside. I was thinking when I saw them in your picture that they died off and you waited until then to cover the pstem. It's my first winter and was trying to get a feel for when the best time is to cover as it seemed like everything was withstanding such early cold drops in temps. and I didn't cut things down and cover until it had been in the 30's for awhile. Shoot even my tomatoes kept looking like they were never going to die. Was weird! But, we had bought one of those drip systems that you stick a stake in the ground at the base of each plant and was on a timer so maybe that made a difference? We had never had that luxery before either.

Are you storing any of your nanas under the house like you did last year?
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

Last year I did the cages filled with straw and covered by a tarp ( a real PITA ) , this year I did the bag deal as well . I did cover the bags with a tarp to help shed some water .
I didn't have to buy any bags or take time to fill them , the thoughtful neighbors took care of that for me ...
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:10 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Joy Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

"I didn't have to buy any bags or take time to fill them , the thoughtful neighbors took care of that for me ..."
Brilliant!!!!!!!
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

Thanks BigDog. What a great, simple idea. I plan to try it next year.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:02 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

Looking kind of sculptural too, Bigdog.
I must admit, that's a quick and easy method.
I'm sure it works for you in knoxville, but here in Europe I geusse our winters are longer. Many people here say they have bad experiences with leaves tarped in plastic, especially Sikkimensis and its hybrids. Inner rot seems the case many times.

Bigdog, did you ever got problems with inner (or outer) rot? Do you spray with fungicide?
Do you also make pictures in spring?
Maybe a good idea, post, for us all in the future. Taking pictures when the nanners are unwrapped, the different locations and temps, and making comparison in results.

Thank for sharing those images Bigdog.
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Old 12-10-2008, 03:02 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

I am not sure I understand how your made the leaf bag totem pole. j/k.
Excellent idea and you can save your bags from year to year. I have learned that the larger thicker contrractor bags are much easier to use and save. Nice work.
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Old 12-10-2008, 04:01 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

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I was thinking when I saw them in your picture that they died off and you waited until then to cover the pstem.
Yes, that is what I did. After they were dead for quite some time, I cut them off and just left them there.

Quote:
Are you storing any of your nanas under the house like you did last year?
Yes, but nowhere near as many as I used to! I'm trying to get it down to all dwarfs, if I can get them on the right cycle. That's the hard part!

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I didn't have to buy any bags or take time to fill them , the thoughtful neighbors took care of that for me ...
I wish they did that here! That's what we did in Nashville, but in Knoxville they have big trucks that come along and vacuum all of the leaves up, so you just rake them to the side of the street.

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Bigdog, did you ever got problems with inner (or outer) rot? Do you spray with fungicide?
Do you also make pictures in spring?
I have had a little bit of rot on the outer layers of pseudostem, but not much. This only works on my Musa basjoo, M. itinerans, M. sikkimensis, and other very cold-hardy bananas. I've tried with M. cheesmani, but it only worked once and it really didn't help at all (too slow to start growing here in the spring). Haven't actually tried it with 'Orinoco' though.
I don't spray with a fungicide, but that's not a bad idea.
I have taken some pictures in the spring. I'll have to dig one of them up and post it when I get home. The Musa itinerans that I covered last year was already growing when I took the bag off!

Thanks!

By the way, we have just had some really heavy winds here for the past couple of days, and my trash bag totems are standing tall! Maybe I should decorate them...
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:37 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

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By the way, we have just had some really heavy winds here for the past couple of days, and my trash bag totems are standing tall! Maybe I should decorate them...

You can decorate them to look like actual totems with some bear, eagle, and other shapes, cut from plastic and attached to the bags. Or you could just spraypaint images onto the bags using several different colors paint.

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Old 12-12-2008, 05:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Winter Protection in Knoxville, TN. Warning! This is REAL Complicated!!

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You can decorate them to look like actual totems with some bear, eagle, and other shapes, cut from plastic and attached to the bags. Or you could just spraypaint images onto the bags using several different colors paint.

Very cool totems!! Reminds me of when we lived in Gig Harbor, WA and they had big totems in town. The only thing I could do with trash bag totems though would be a snow man.
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