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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 03-01-2020, 07:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Spring uncovering!

Hey all... in zone 6b here and I know its a touch too early to uncover my basjoo bananas yet.
Curious though... has anyone ever tried a coldframe/greenhouse type structure around their bananas? Something that would allow them to wake up on warm days but continue to protect when the temps dip low again? I was thinking something roughly a cubic meter in size. A simple 2x4 frame with polycarbonate panels on the sides.
My growing season is short and plagued with cool springs so Id like to give them a head start before my last frost date!
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityzen View Post
Hey all... in zone 6b here and I know its a touch too early to uncover my basjoo bananas yet.
Curious though... has anyone ever tried a coldframe/greenhouse type structure around their bananas? Something that would allow them to wake up on warm days but continue to protect when the temps dip low again? I was thinking something roughly a cubic meter in size. A simple 2x4 frame with polycarbonate panels on the sides.
My growing season is short and plagued with cool springs so Id like to give them a head start before my last frost date!

Dear windy...
Save your money and time.
Basjoos spring growth is determined by ground temps.
Not air temps.
The plant is growing under the surface and spreading once the soil is 40+-

A structure will not give you an advantage..
But..... you may fertilize now with a granular 12-12-12 through 19-19-19 for the springtime boost.

Use what you can afford for fertilizer....the plant is not picky.



Has anyone ever winterized with one of these?
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

That’s a bummer. I really want plants taller than me this year. Thanks for the info!
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Smile Re: Spring uncovering!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityzen View Post
That’s a bummer. I really want plants taller than me this year. Thanks for the info!
Fertilize before they come up for the spring flush.
I did mine today.
It will take 3-4 seasons before they are mature and in the 10-15 foot range providing you have given the plant a good growing foundation.
Have fun growing those bad boyz.


.https://www.flickr.com/gp/hostafarian/317o5e

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Old 03-02-2020, 06:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

Devil's advocate: make enclosure twice as big so root are is covered and warms up quicker - 2 feet should get most of them (4x4 rather than 3x3).
I would like to try the same on some. OR/and put down thin layer of black mulch (very thin so it does not insulate but does heat), or even some black weed mat, silt fence, etc. and keep a sharp eye out for first pups, or simply take off when weather warms up as pups for us come late here in 6b /7.
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Old 03-03-2020, 08:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Smile Re: Spring uncovering!

Here is a link to another similar thread in the forum.

Permanent banana shelter for winter and spring
There are some videos on youtube which will give some great ideas on a build if you want to pursue the project.
You will also get some ideas from this thread on what other forum members do.

But again in freezing climates like ours these structures are not reliable.

Last edited by cincinnana : 03-03-2020 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 03-06-2020, 03:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

I was actually thinking about this too. Looking at the temps for the next almost two weeks, lowest temp is 41 where I am. I usually uncover mine middle of April, but with these temps, was considering giving them a early sunbath.
But I will take the advice of fertilizing early.
Just not sure if it get's through that pile of mulch.

Spring is around the corner.
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Old 03-06-2020, 04:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

I think I might give it a try. Worst case, I use it next year to contain my mulch. I don’t have any low temps in my area forecasted for the next two weeks below 40. The soil temperature next to my mulch pile is 48 so I think my plants might want to stretch their legs soon
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Old 03-07-2020, 09:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Smile Re: Spring uncovering!

Quote:
Originally Posted by briangifford View Post
But I will take the advice of fertilizing early.
Just not sure if it get's through that pile of mulch.

Spring is around the corner.
You guys are good......
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Old 03-09-2020, 12:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

I uncovered yesterday, I couldn't help it, it was almost 70 here. Sadly, my pseudostems are mush to the ground (and were still partially frozen). Hoping the corms are still okay. I left them partially uncovered to bask in the sunshine before covering them back up in case we get a spring frost or 5.
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Old 03-09-2020, 03:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

Sorry to hear that! I uncovered mine yesterday. I am in eastern PA and I saved about 3 foot of stem on my basjoo after a mild winter. I removed about 1 large brown bag of leaves from the top of this pile before taking the photo. I kept a few inches around the pstem leaf free as the photo shows. There was plastic covering on top to keep things dry. Maybe this can give you ideas for next year....

Erik

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Old 03-09-2020, 03:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

Quote:
Originally Posted by geissene View Post
Sorry to hear that! I uncovered mine yesterday. I am in eastern PA and I saved about 3 foot of stem on my basjoo after a mild winter. I removed about 1 large brown bag of leaves from the top of this pile before taking the photo. I kept a few inches around the pstem leaf free as the photo shows. There was plastic covering on top to keep things dry. Maybe this can give you ideas for next year....

Erik

Yeah. Sadly winter hit here overnight, going from 70 degrees to snowing in the span of 24 hours. I didn't get mine protected the way I had planned to. I simply build a 3 foot by 3 foot fence around them and covered them with mulch. This fall, I'll be doing better by making sure they keep dry as well. Ironically, I cut the plans and the pups down to about 18 inches. When uncovering them yesterday, one of the pups had grown through the mulch considerably. Hope that's a good sign. We had a very mild winter so here's hoping...
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Old 03-09-2020, 05:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

Question: How much of a frost can they take without damage if we uncover now? Can they go to say 25 and be ok? 28? 30?
Or if can't take a short night of cold how bests to protect? With maybe 40 of them scattered over 50 acres not the easiest :-(
Thanks!
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Old 03-09-2020, 08:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

They can handle a few hours of say 28F if the leaves are still rolled up and mostly inside the pstem. Any opened leaf will certainly die off.

IF you have that many plants, I'd keep them covered. I unwrap mine since I only have 2 plants outside. You may see some basjoos break through your covering - especially if you use cheap thin plastic sheets like I do....

Erik
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Old 03-15-2020, 03:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

uncovered some of mine about a week ago,, temp was in the 60's, ground was about 50 ,, this week end the highs are 40,

this is what I found



these were cut off flush with the ground.. so,, they either grew after cutting and covering them, or they started growing already this year
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Old 03-18-2020, 09:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

Thanks for all advice - zone 6b, have uncovered some - all are growing nicely. Worst plants are those which did not keep dry, but even those will do fine, just that most of pstem rotted (but corm looks great.
Will be putting sikkimensis out in a couple of weeks if forecast is good - then the big experiment to see if they make it through next winter - for sure will plastic gab them with leaves.
Is Helens hybrid a decent eating banana? I have a heat cable which I figure I can use on any banana I want to keep as it will hold temp to min of 38, plus ground temp will be in 40's. Does anyone think I could do others? I have an unknown with good tasting bananas, maybe I should try that.
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Old 04-03-2020, 09:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

I still have no growth with mine. The corm feels pretty solid but nothing seems to be happening. Keeping them covered for now, will keep checking them on days with warmer weather. We should have the frost behind us at this point.
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Old 04-05-2020, 06:40 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

I think I've seen about a half inch of movement on a new leaf roll... Things are slow but starting!
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Old 04-06-2020, 01:53 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

I uncovered today, all the way to the ground since we have a couple of warm sunny days ahead. Figured I'd let the sun get down to the soil. Looks like I have signs of life! Gave them a dose of banana fuel fertilizer! Hoping for height this year, at least 5-6 feet anyway.
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Old 04-06-2020, 05:53 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spring uncovering!

Quote:
Originally Posted by briangifford View Post
But I will take the advice of fertilizing early.
Just not sure if it get's through that pile of mulch.

Spring is around the corner.

Yes it will and soak into the root zone..

What you do not think "soaks down"
charges the organic matter for future use.
Generally this will be used in a few months....

I hopes this works....

Last edited by cincinnana : 04-07-2020 at 07:16 PM.
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