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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 12-15-2006, 11:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default overwintering and moisture

Last year I used insulating tubes on a clump of basjoos. Either the p-stems got too wet at some point (the top of the tubes may have come open) or they got cooked in some warm spring temperatures. I dunno. But I had several feet of rotted p-stems come spring, and had to cut them back quite a bit.

I am using a leaf cage this winter, but the pseudostems extend several feet above the cage. I kinda figured I'd leave them sticking out, but now I am starting to wonder if I should cut them off and perhaps even try to cover the top of the cage. I had been assuming that the 'keep it dry' motto pertained to the corm, and not to the p-stems.

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Old 12-22-2006, 11:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

Since no one has replied, I'll open the door.

Although I'm still new to this, I believe moisture on the Pstem is also bad.

Cold, humid, and wet contact is just what molds and fungus love. Since the banana is not growing in the winter, it cannot defend itself either.

If I were going to insulate the Pstem, I would make sure it, and the insulating media stayed dry. Also the corm as well...

Just my $.02
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

I keep hearing that the height of the pseudostem in springtime is not that important.
For example an overwintered 4 feet pseudostem and a 1 foot pseudostem seems to produce plants with the same overall height, as long as they had similar height the year before and similar-sized root-systems.

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Old 12-26-2006, 11:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

It is true that pseudostem height that you keep during the winter doesn't matter much on the final height of the plant the next season, except with some luck on the bloom.

But the secret to obtaining fruits and bigger bunches of fruits is affected by how much live pseudostem you can keep the entire winter. Most people who cut down the pseudostem will not get any harvestable fruits at all except in rare cases but then the fruits are miniscule or too few. If your objective is only for ornamentals, it is best to cut them down to manageable height, and always keep the whole thing dry the entire winter. Leaf cages with waterproofing on top to divert water away are excellent.

For us in the marginal zone 9, I simply leave the plants alone. Their leaves will fry and die but these become effective frost blanket the rest of the season protecting the whole pseudostem. I mound up the base of the clump with dark soil so as to divert the winter rainwater away. Come spring time when there is no more frosts in the forecast, I remove the leaves one by one, strip out the dead outer sheath to expose the live green sheath underneath. Bananas with the right height will often bloom a couple of weeks after spring and will have big fruits come harvest time when the first frosts come for a visit. The pseudostems provide additional storage of food reserves that could help boost fruit size but the main storage are in the mat of corms.


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Originally Posted by mrbungalow View Post
I keep hearing that the height of the pseudostem in springtime is not that important.
For example an overwintered 4 feet pseudostem and a 1 foot pseudostem seems to produce plants with the same overall height, as long as they had similar height the year before and similar-sized root-systems.

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Old 01-16-2007, 09:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

Saturn:
Please describe an insulating tube and a leaf cage.
I would like to use them next year. I am starting to grow bananas.
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

OK, how about anyone. Please describe what s an insulating tube and a leaf cage for me. I think a leaf cage I have an idea but an insulating tube is beyond me.
I guess a leaf cage is a chicken wire that you wrapped to your banana and fill it with dried leaves.
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

Benny, don't use insulating tubes on your bananas. They are not suited for bananas if the tubes touches the pseudostems, and so are only good for most woody stemmed plants like grapes, young fruit trees, to give them a good head start and protection against deer, rodents and other pests. For bananas, you would be better off with several layers of cheapo burlap and a plastic sheet over them.

IT IS THE COLD WET SOIL THAT IS THE BIGGEST KILLER OF BANANAS IN CALIFORNIA and efforts should be concentrated in keeping the ground relatively dry during the winter, and not the protection of pseudostems and other above ground parts. If you have protected the base of your plants by diverting water away, using a simple black plastic cover around the base, then you can proceed to protecting the above ground parts to have a head start.
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

[quote=IT IS THE COLD WET SOIL THAT IS THE BIGGEST KILLER OF BANANAS IN CALIFORNIA and efforts should be concentrated in keeping the ground relatively dry during the winter, and not the protection of pseudostems and other above ground parts. If you have protected the base of your plants by diverting water away, using a simple black plastic cover around the base, then you can proceed to protecting the above ground parts to have a head start.[/QUOTE]

Joe: you are an angel sent to me on time.
I planted the california gold protected all the pstem and leaves and the soil but the soil itself is lower than the sorroundings and therefore the water will pool around the roots since the banana is located where the downspout is located so the water will suffocate the roots quickly. now the weather forecast today is RAIN TODAY so I better get busy. It just so happpen that I have a big black plastic cover that I got for free from where I did electrical work so I am good to go.
Thank you so much Joe.
You just save me $200.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

Benny, I forgot to tell you that you have to plant your banana on a mounded soil, so that its corm is above soil level. the mound will naturally divert water away during winter, provide aeration. The soil mound can be a mixture of composted steer manure and your soil, some bark chips for aeration. The mound can be easily covered with black plastic. The black plastic helps warm up the soil mound to have added protection during winter.
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

Cool.
Thanks Joe.
I'd do just that today.
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

OK Joe. Job is done. But I also went to the store and bought me 2 bags of steer manure and 2 bags of redwood and soil compost. I mixed them wiith the regular soil and put them around the corm.
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