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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 10-29-2007, 07:16 PM   #61 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

Has anyone you know of overwintered in zone 4? I'm in Montana now, and am close to 4b, but close to 5a. Is heat cable the only way to leave them outside, or would enough straw do the trick?
Thinking about trying Daj Giant, and sikkimensis X paradisica next winter if they get big enough.
Thanks.
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:26 PM   #62 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbungalow View Post
Here's the Canadian guy who inspired me:
http://www.tropic.ca/K-L-M-N/Musa%20...Protection.htt

Erlend
Lots to think about there at the link you provided. Thanks. I had wondered about the possibility of burying the entire plant before. I just read in that link:

"Musa Basjoo is protected over winter by digging a trench as long as the
stalk you want to protect. Cut, dig and fall or roll the plant into the trench and cover with and deep layer of soil, leaves or mulch. In Spring dig-up and prop the tree back up ready for a new year."

I think they said it was done like that in Italy. I think I am going to try it.
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Old 10-31-2007, 02:19 PM   #63 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

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Originally Posted by sunsetsammy View Post
I think its very interesting to consider all the different conditions that people have to deal with in terms of overwintering their plants. Every area is different and with it's own challenges.

I live on Vancouver Island and while our winters can be on the mild side we have to deal with heavy rain and cold wet conditions. I have seen others in my area winter their Basjoos using the cage method however I think it really depends on the location and more specifically the water table of each microsite. Some areas with good drainage most of the year will become almost swampy in the winter months. Taking a walk in my backyard during the winter feels like walking on a wet sponge. My feet sink into the soil and puddles form where I have just stepped.

While building a cage and waterproofing it with a tarp may keep the surface around the base of the plant dry, I think that water would come up from underneath. I have limited experience but cold and wet doesn't sound good for any banana. Last year I dug all of my Basjoos (except one) and stored them in an unheated shed. We did have a colder than usual winter but every one of them survived and came back larger than last year. The one plant I left in the ground as an experiment was in my front yard where drainage is better. It wasn't protected at all and the stem that I left turned to mush and I ended up cutting it at ground level. The plant survived but grew very slowly all summer and didn't get much larger than the year before.

I guess it really depends on how warm/cold it is under your house.
Your words make perfect sense, and I know all about the "footstep-puddles"! We have them here too from october til early march. You should however, avoid planting these kinds of plants in such locations. Or atleast build a mound or raised bed.

You can look all over the world but it's hard to find a place with more rain than Bergen, where I live. I guarantee it rains more than Vancouver! When we speak of rain, we are not beat by any location at our latitude, probably only tropical locations.
I would have to say siting is critical for survival of these types of exotic plants, and siting is part of the equation to overwinter them successfully. If you plant a banana in a "lawn-lake" it will rot & die, no way around it - as would many other plants.

Having said that, Musa Basjoo continues to amaze me; It tolerates more than I would ever think. Last year (as an experiment) I left 2 plants in the rain outside enclosed in a wire cage with straw - no tarp/plastic! These plants were on a slight slope, but with saturated soil nontheless. Even though the straw/hay got soaked and we had several subfreezing nights, the plants survived and came back fine with much of the stem (musa helen lost stems however, but came back from the ground!). (Having said that, the ones with additional plastic-cover looked better and had a few inches more of stem.)
In comparison, all the ones I have taken inside, put in the basement, or set in the garage have either died, rotted, or gotten seriously "leggy".

It seems to me, the more we "fuss" with musa basjoo moving plants inside & out, uprooting them and putting them in crawlspaces, and stressing it, the worse it performs. I would leave this treatment to the more tender banana-types. Even though described as a fast plant, I have noticed Musa basjoo seems to be one of the slowest growing banana-species, and needs time to spread roots and settle in. When we uproot and move them, you loose alot of growth the next season.

I know of a guy in Saltspring Island, BC who has large, majestic m. basjoos, and only protects them with bubble-wrap.

My best tip, and humble opinion is therefore to avoid planting in waterholes, leave m. basjoo in its' place, and protect according to wich zone you are in.
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Old 11-01-2007, 11:29 AM   #64 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

I just had too much invested in my plants to try to winter them over in a spot that could get to -25F. It sucks because some years we'll have good snowcover throughout the year and others we won't have a good snowcover until March (snowcover=more insulation). Next year i won't bother and i'll leave them. I should have more then enough pups to bring inside to continue my "patch". Digging them up isn't for me. I did it this year and i won't do it again, unless i have a banana that i know won't make it, like my SDC's.
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Old 11-01-2007, 04:08 PM   #65 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

Here in Montana when I was a kid we built a pump house out of straw bale, to keep the water from freezing. Now that I am a banana man I figure that I could buy extra straw bales to account for the extra cold it gets here, maybe double the amount of straw that those zone 6ers use?
Maybe I just have a new case of zone denial.
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Old 11-01-2007, 11:56 PM   #66 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

Only thing you'd have to worry about is frost getting into the ground around the banana. Thats the issue i can see here. In snowbelt areas to the north and east, the ground never freezes, but here it isn't always the case. I might bury a temp probe this winter under a couple of bags of leaves on the lawn and just see what it does. I've got a digital wireless thermometer with one of those 10ft probe attachments that i could use for this.
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:07 AM   #67 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

That makes a whole lot of sense. Root temp is the main factor in growth in spring, so it makes sense it would be for survival in winter.
They sell some stuff that looks like extension cords in the jungle seeds catalog that would work for burying, but it might be the same stuff people use to wrap around their pipes.
Anyways, thanks for the tips!
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:14 AM   #68 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

If a person was a diehard or just had some laying around, 1 inch foam board (the pink stuff) buried lengthwise (they come in 4x8 foot sheets) all around the banana bed would surely stop frost from coming through if you covered the top of the bed well. Its the same system they use on newer homes around here. After they pour basement walls, they insulate the EXTERIOR with foam board. Then you can frame and inuslate your basement walls with fiberglass batts. I believe people also use this method when they build greenhouses. A couple feed down, the ground never gets below 50F (around here).
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Old 11-02-2007, 09:04 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

believe around here they us 1.5 or 2" foam board, but that been sometime since I have done concrete. couple winters ago we had frost line driven 4 foot down, a lot of sub zero temps with no snow to insulate the ground was freezing water and sewer lines
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:16 PM   #70 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbungalow View Post
I would have to say siting is critical for survival of these types of exotic plants, and siting is part of the equation to overwinter them successfully. If you plant a banana in a "lawn-lake" it will rot & die, no way around it - as would many other plants.
Hello Mr. Bungalow. Most of the year my lawn is fine. Its just those 2-3 months in the winter when it becomes swampy. I've considered building raised beds but I have SO many bananas now and more pups on the way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbungalow View Post
In comparison, all the ones I have taken inside, put in the basement, or set in the garage have either died, rotted, or gotten seriously "leggy".

It seems to me, the more we "fuss" with musa basjoo moving plants inside & out, uprooting them and putting them in crawlspaces, and stressing it, the worse it performs. I

When we uproot and move them, you loose alot of growth the next season.

I know of a guy in Saltspring Island, BC who has large, majestic m. basjoos, and only protects them with bubble-wrap.
My limited experiences have been quite different. All the Basjoo's I've stored in the shed nearly doubled in size this summer and each has put out 3-5 pups that rival the mother plant's size from the previous summer. If they grow any faster I'm going to have to start a nursery. LOL I'm not saying one "should" dig up Basjoo, but just stating my experiences.

I've seen a few people in the area with enclosures built to protect their Basjoos but I've yet to see anyone leave them out unprotected. I've heard of others on Vancouver Island doing this and I have no doubt that the plants survive.

I am curious though. With a large plant, when the stem freezes to the ground how quickly does it come back in the spring? Does the plant grow larger each season. How long will it take for the plant to match it's previous seasons growth? My experiment last year with leaving one outside didn't produce much more height than last year. Maybe a couple inches taller at most.

The plants that I dug and replanted took off right away and 4-6 weeks later were looking very full and the bonus no loss of stem.

Anyway good discussion and I'd love to hear more of other's experiences.

Sam
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Old 11-08-2007, 02:37 AM   #71 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

That pretty much sums up what us in the north are trying to achieve: Stems increasing in height/size year after year, and eventually flowering.

Bananas grow fast, so now I am beeing a little detail-freak: A dug banana will spend lots of energy in the spring rebuilding its' rootmass. I want to address the problem of unwanted growth and distorted roots. The cells of Musa Basjoo are active at relatively low temperatures, and start growing at below 50 degrees F. The last thing you want is a suspended banana growing. (The reason why I don't store them in the garage or shed) The disturbed roots may also be a reason for all the pups you said came up. Bananas tend to pup when "picked on", pulling out even more energy from the corm. I am not saying my way is the only way here, If storing plants in a shed works well for you, then that's super. And the "digging and put in the shed method" is definately a proven winner for other types, such as Orinoco.

I still firmly believe in letting the plants stay in "their place" and not distorting the root-mass. Undisturbed roots should make for better growth in the spring. True, it's probably impossible to leave bananas unprotected all winter, but with some chicken fencing, hay, and about an hours work next years' growth will be secured.
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Old 11-14-2007, 03:25 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

Well, I'm trying something a little different this year. A little "tweak" on my plastic leaf bag mulching trick. Here's what I did:

I cut the plants back to about 2 feet tall, or a little less, just a little bit higher than my big bags of leaves. Then I took 5-6 bags of leaves and put them around the stem, leaving a hole in the middle about 2 feet across where the stem is. Then I opened up a couple bags of dry leaves and loosely placed them around the stems in the center of the opening, and then mounded them up over the top of the cut stems. So there's a big circle of bags, and a BIG mound of leaves in the middle. Then I took cheap blue plastic tarp and fastened it over the entire thing. So now it looks like I have a huge blue puffball in the yard, in several locations.
NOTE TO SELF: NEXT YEAR SPRING FOR THE BROWN TARPS!!!!
I think it will be my most successful mulching job ever, what do you think?
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Old 11-14-2007, 06:06 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

I have seen complete foam houses, even with a door in it to protect a
banana
Your method will work for sure but someone should invent something so
that it looks natural in the garden in the winter. I have not seen that yet.
So, come on you creative guys and gals




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Old 11-16-2007, 12:27 PM   #74 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

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Originally Posted by sandy0225 View Post
Well, I'm trying something a little different this year. A little "tweak" on my plastic leaf bag mulching trick. Here's what I did:

I cut the plants back to about 2 feet tall, or a little less, just a little bit higher than my big bags of leaves. Then I took 5-6 bags of leaves and put them around the stem, leaving a hole in the middle about 2 feet across where the stem is. Then I opened up a couple bags of dry leaves and loosely placed them around the stems in the center of the opening, and then mounded them up over the top of the cut stems. So there's a big circle of bags, and a BIG mound of leaves in the middle. Then I took cheap blue plastic tarp and fastened it over the entire thing. So now it looks like I have a huge blue puffball in the yard, in several locations.
NOTE TO SELF: NEXT YEAR SPRING FOR THE BROWN TARPS!!!!
I think it will be my most successful mulching job ever, what do you think?
Sandy I think I did something similar to yout techinique.

I recommend a camoflague tarp......

Frost damage showing



before chop



after chop



bags of leaves in place- 8 bags for 4 plants



tarp in place




I could not help it, I brought in my biggest basjoo and dwarf cavendish several weeks ago, so they are not in the photo. I had one small basjoo which after cutting off the leaves, i buried it entirely for an experiment.


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Old 01-07-2008, 04:32 AM   #75 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

I'm in the UK, and have always built a sort of hut around mine. I cut them back to about 36". I've got some wooden trellis which I staple hortuculturaral fleece to, tie four sections together, fill that with barley straw and then place a waterproof peaked roof over the whole thing. It ends up looking like a small Japanese building in the corner of the garden, but it's kept my basjoo alive for the last five years, even through a -7C frost.
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Old 01-07-2008, 04:47 AM   #76 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by microfarmer View Post
"Has anyone ever tried to protect the psuedostem with a high R-factor fiberglass insulation? I may try this in conjunction with bags of leaves."

Fiberglass insulation, if it gets wet, will stay wet for a long time and would tend to rot a Pstem...unless you put the insulation in a plastic sleeve first to keep out the moisture.
I wouldnt reccomend using fiberglass insulation, use straw, its cheaper and much more natural.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:07 AM   #77 (permalink)
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Default Re: question on winterizing basjoo

straw will also break down and it can be composted in the spring time. or you can pull it away from your nanas and just compost it where it lies. the bags of leaves can also be composted with the straw. less work on you and your trees will have compost.
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