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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 08-31-2006, 03:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default When protecting musa-stems for winter....

.....will filling the cage with pine-bark instead of straw be ok? This is the only material I have direct access to now, as the nearest farm is miles away from Bergen. Any other materials that someone would rate as exceptionally good for wrapping banana stems?

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Old 08-31-2006, 08:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

I would think it'd be better than nothing. Is it finely shreaded or in chips?

Anyone want to comment on burlap and bubble-wrap? I'm thinking of using that here in Zone 8... I figure layering that once or twice would create a decent "jacket" for the stems - burlap on the layer closest to the stem to help prevent moisture buildup on the stem, I hope. It could also be used in addition to the cage of hay (or pine straw or shreaded pine-bark?) too, methinks, in very cold places too.

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Originally Posted by mrbungalow View Post
.....will filling the cage with pine-bark instead of straw be ok? This is the only material I have direct access to now, as the nearest farm is miles away from Bergen. Any other materials that someone would rate as exceptionally good for wrapping banana stems?

Erlend
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Old 08-31-2006, 09:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

Dried leaves work best for me. I've never tried pine bark though, Erlend. There's only one way to find out - do it, and let us know ! As long as it is dry, I wouldn't see why it wouldn't work great.

Never used burlap or bubble wrap either, Mike. Others swear by bubble wrap though, and many folks use the burlap also.
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Old 08-31-2006, 09:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

Oops - I read "Never use burlap..." rather than "Never used burlap..." Had me scared there for a moment thinking I'd have to rethink the entire wrapping scheme.

Be well,
Mike

Old Message -->
What problems do you forsee with bubble-wrap and burlap? What alternatives would there be other than building a really tall cage and stuffing it with straw?

Thanks,
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Dried leaves work best for me. I've never tried pine bark though, Erlend. There's only one way to find out - do it, and let us know ! As long as it is dry, I wouldn't see why it wouldn't work great.

Never used burlap or bubble wrap either, Mike. Others swear by bubble wrap though, and many folks use the burlap also.

Last edited by mikevan : 09-01-2006 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

There are some great ideas here! What I am generally interested in is the insulation properties of pine-bark. I guess Bigdog is right, only one way to find out and try it!

In England, at Kew gardens they use chimney-brick elements (You know, the pourous ones cemented from volcanic rocks?) And stack them on top of the pseudostem. In the cavity they fill up with isulation material. Over the root system they place boards of styrofoam and cover with soil.

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Old 09-18-2006, 10:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

I wonder how the styrofoam packing peanuts would do for insulation. They are made out of styrofoam and would have air spaces in between. I've never tried it though.
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Old 09-18-2006, 10:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

i've thought that a pipe heating cable, preferably thermostatically controlled, would be nice along with a fiberglass insulation wrap.

http://www.accentshopping.com/produc...&strReturnUrl=

http://www.hardwarestore.com/media/p...2_front200.jpg
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Old 09-18-2006, 11:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

Keep in mind that you'll have to clean this up in the Spring, and on a windy day, a bunch of peanuts could be troublesome. Not to mention the proliferation of peanuts that melt in water - if condensation gets on them, you could end up with an unprotected tree in a puddle of goop.

Be well,
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I wonder how the styrofoam packing peanuts would do for insulation. They are made out of styrofoam and would have air spaces in between. I've never tried it though.
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Old 10-23-2006, 02:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

Hi Erlend.

I'm sure you've got everything wrapped up already but I think anything that is mostly carbon and won't absorb & hold moisture would work. MikeVan had a good Q with how finely shredded is it? I don't (of course) know anything about pine bark.

If you tried bubble wrap did you use clear or black? I've heard of using pine straw. We can get it @ nurserys here but I've never used it either.

Good luck & please keep me posted on how it goes.
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

Nothing is covered yet, as we have not had our first frost. Finally managed to get hold of hay, and I will go with this. The first frost is supposed to come on thursday, and I am going to cover tomorrow. As I said in a newer post, the stems will be cut to about 2 feet.

I am hoping the basjoos will grow better in the 2007 season. Only reached about maxiumum 5 feet this year from 30 cm potted specimens. The sikkimensis and helens grew huge. These will probably be more difficult to overwinter in this wet climate here.

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Old 10-31-2006, 04:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

Erland here in the uk we also use large diameter drainage pipe over the top of the banana and then stuffed with straw or hay and if you can get it dry braken. Then a bin liner over the top to keep the rain out.


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Old 10-31-2006, 06:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

something seems seriously wrong when Norway hasn't had frost yet, and I have in southern US. twice no less.
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Old 11-01-2006, 01:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

Grammie, it IS uncommon for frosts to come this late, but recognizing weather patterns here, I am expecting a very cold winter in Norway and a warm summer in 2007.
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Old 11-02-2006, 05:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

I've followed a thread on another forum about using bark chips to protect plants during winter. Here is how it's done:

Make a cage of fence wire around the pseudostem. Make it wide enough so there is air between the PS and the wire +- 20 cm. Cover the wire with "vliesdoek" (felt cloth ?) it protects the plant from wind and rain, and will keep the bark chips in). Make another cage around the first one, with the "felt cloth" on the inside, keep a distance of 20-30 cm from the first cage. Fill the space between the first and the second cage with bark chips. Cover the whole with two layers of bubble plastic.

The "felt cloth" will protect the bark from getting wet, prevents it from falling trough the holes in the fence wire and allows wind to move through, thereby preventing rot.

The advantage is that the bark chips can easily be spread along the plants in spring, whereas straw, and the leftovers, can be as mess, especially when it is windy. Straw will also rot when it is wet, and collapse. Even wet bark chips won't collapse and the air chamber between the bark and the PS will prevent the PS from rotting.

I guess you can use whatever you prefer to fill it up: dried leaves, straw, ...
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Old 11-02-2006, 06:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

that's a good plan. With the plastic covering it, I don't think there's a problem with the hay rotting - I use hay a lot here. Even if it rots some, it's just that much closer to becoming a very good mulch when you disassemble the setup - all of my nanners are mulched with hay already anyway. Leaves would be just as good, or both. Wood chips take longer to decompose so I avoid that in my mulch, personally.

Be well,
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I've followed a thread on another forum about using bark chips to protect plants during winter. Here is how it's done:

Make a cage of fence wire around the pseudostem. Make it wide enough so there is air between the PS and the wire +- 20 cm. Cover the wire with "vliesdoek" (felt cloth ?) it protects the plant from wind and rain, and will keep the bark chips in). Make another cage around the first one, with the "felt cloth" on the inside, keep a distance of 20-30 cm from the first cage. Fill the space between the first and the second cage with bark chips. Cover the whole with two layers of bubble plastic.

The "felt cloth" will protect the bark from getting wet, prevents it from falling trough the holes in the fence wire and allows wind to move through, thereby preventing rot.

The advantage is that the bark chips can easily be spread along the plants in spring, whereas straw, and the leftovers, can be as mess, especially when it is windy. Straw will also rot when it is wet, and collapse. Even wet bark chips won't collapse and the air chamber between the bark and the PS will prevent the PS from rotting.

I guess you can use whatever you prefer to fill it up: dried leaves, straw, ...
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Old 11-03-2006, 06:09 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

The purpose of the bark chips on the ground is not to decompose, but to form a protective layer above the ground to prevent it from drying out and to prevent weeds from growing, thereby avoiding the need of frequent weeding (the main reason I use it). If you buy the more expensive kinds, it's also aesthetic.
On the negative side, during sumer, slugs and snails will make their home in it.

Bark will decomposes, though slower, so it does add a bit to the nutrient and humus level of the soil. If that's your main concern, hay is indeed definitely better.

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With the plastic covering it, I don't think there's a problem with the hay rotting - I use hay a lot here. Even if it rots some, it's just that much closer to becoming a very good mulch when you disassemble the setup - all of my nanners are mulched with hay already anyway. Leaves would be just as good, or both. Wood chips take longer to decompose so I avoid that in my mulch, personally.
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Old 11-03-2006, 09:06 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

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Grammie, it IS uncommon for frosts to come this late, but recognizing weather patterns here, I am expecting a very cold winter in Norway and a warm summer in 2007.
Here we've had our first frost, temps down at 20F, we've even had snow, not enough to cover anything, but it WAS snow. There are holes in the road with frozen water.

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Old 11-03-2006, 09:10 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

Semantical differences, methinks. My organic perspective has that mulch should both insulate the soil against the drying effect and feed the soil too - as the leaves and hay break down rapidly in a moist environment they form a humus layer that the nanners feed from. Critters have predators if predators are allowed and I've never personally had a problem. But for those that don't do organic, I can see where bark would be preferred.

Be well,
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The purpose of the bark chips on the ground is not to decompose, but to form a protective layer above the ground to prevent it from drying out and to prevent weeds from growing, thereby avoiding the need of frequent weeding (the main reason I use it). If you buy the more expensive kinds, it's also aesthetic.
On the negative side, during sumer, slugs and snails will make their home in it.

Bark will decomposes, though slower, so it does add a bit to the nutrient and humus level of the soil. If that's your main concern, hay is indeed definitely better.
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Old 11-03-2006, 11:57 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

Well, the cages are up and filled with hay now. Maybe I'll try bark next year! That is if they survive! First frost didn't touch my one unprotected basjoo. Still green with minor foliar burn.

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Old 11-03-2006, 05:10 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: When protecting musa-stems for winter....

Mike,

I grow my vegetables organic. For them I use mowed grass, it keeps weeds away, protects the soil from the sun, the rain and it composes and gives nutrients to my plants.

Normally I don't have enough grass to cover everything. A few years ago I had to stop halfway when mulching my celery plants. A few days later it rained very heavy and the unprotected soil compacted, after that we had a warm sunny period. The unprotected soil dried out. When I checked, the mulched soil wasn't compacted nor dry and the plants grew considerably better.
It convinced me to continue with mulching.

Just be selective what vegetables to mulch, if you mulch chervil or parsley with grass, the grass clings to the leaves and at the end I ended up eating more grass then vegetable.
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