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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 10-28-2008, 07:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

I live in north central Florida, and the temperatures are predicted to go slightly below freezing tonight.

My blue java has fruited on two plants for the very first time, and I am so excited. The blossoms began in late August, and the fruits at this point are about 4 inches in length.

Can I or SHOULD I cut them off before tonight's cold snap?? I mean, I'm not sure whether these "stubbies" are nearing maximum or not since I've never grown bananas before, and I don't know whether if I cut them at this stage whether they could ripen in the house.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

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Originally Posted by Nana Nut View Post
I live in north central Florida, and the temperatures are predicted to go slightly below freezing tonight.

My blue java has fruited on two plants for the very first time, and I am so excited. The blossoms began in late August, and the fruits at this point are about 4 inches in length.

Can I or SHOULD I cut them off before tonight's cold snap?? I mean, I'm not sure whether these "stubbies" are nearing maximum or not since I've never grown bananas before, and I don't know whether if I cut them at this stage whether they could ripen in the house.

Any advice would be appreciated.
I am in the same boat with my Orinoco, I believe it's to early but would like to here from a more seasoned grower.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

i would not cut them if i could prevent it, can you put christmas lights on them or wrap as much as you can with towels and blankets, i know this is a very large plant but i would try?
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

We often use the generic term "freezing" to indicate some 32F, but at what point do banana (plants, fruit) freeze?

Frost can form at temperatures above 32F and cause burn damage to leaves but I suspect that it needs to get a bit lower to actually damage the fruit (I grow chestnuts commercially and know that they freeze slightly below 26F so I keep my walk-in cooler above that). Last winter I kept fruit on my California Gold into January since the leaves still had green in them and the pseudostem was still green. We had 60mph winds around January 5th or 6th and that snapped the pseudostem in half so then I decided it was time to cut the bunch. The fruit was small but still ripened up and tasted pretty good.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

I would not recommend harvesting them at this point either. If they are only approximately two months into their development, they are not mature. It will be worth trying to protect them as cutting them now would only give you a banana that you can't eat. You might be able to cook with them, but I doubt it. I think they are just too immature still.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

Thanks for the awesome information. While I am bummed at the prospect of losing them, this weather is a bit unprecedented for this time of year, and I chalk it up to bad luck that this hits us so soon.

As for trying to protect the plant, OMG, the thing is at least 15 feet tall; I can barely reach the bunch that's hanging down, much less try and cover it, so I guess I'll just have to sleep uneasy tonight and see what awaits me in the morning. I just hate it when my nanners freeze and the leaves get all wilted!!
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

I would try bagging them and putting a small wattage bulb (carefully) inside to keep the temp in the bag above freezing. Probably 40-50 watts would be enough. Take care not to make contact with the bag. Or maybe wrap an electric blanket around them. Think outside the box a little.

I doubt they have had enough time to mature, so rthey should stay on an be protected in the "tree". Even if the leaves get toasted, being connected to the corm gives the best chance of success.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

Thanks! I'm gonna go out and bag and light those suckers right now!

BTW, do you know how big the blue java fruit gets, like when ARE they the right size to cut??
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

When they are "yellow" size. ;-))
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

Reference's on Jon's site (see ENCANTO FARMS) describe the fruit as either 6" long or 7"-9" long. Yours may very well be smaller than that due to cooling weather.
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Old 10-29-2008, 05:04 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

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BTW, do you know how big the blue java fruit gets, like when ARE they the right size to cut??
Mine were 3.5-6 inches.

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Old 10-29-2008, 05:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

Thanks, all, for the information. This is my first real shot at nanners, you know, so I'm still pretty, uh, green at it... LOL!!

It looks like the temp hit 34 degrees last night, and it's still dark as I type this. Hope they aren't all wilted down, and maybe if we're lucky, we won't get another bad spell of this freezing stuff until much later...............
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:03 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

My thermometer, hanging 7 feet off the ground, read 33.2 at the lowest this morning. There was ice on the windshield of the car. I can't see any leaf damage yet. Perhaps the potassium in banana sap lowers the freezing temp by just a little. Just a theory.
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:39 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

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My thermometer, hanging 7 feet off the ground, read 33.2 at the lowest this morning. There was ice on the windshield of the car. I can't see any leaf damage yet. Perhaps the potassium in banana sap lowers the freezing temp by just a little. Just a theory.
Interesting post. I have to start paying more attention to national weather. Up here in Jersey the overnight wasn't much different than N.C. , which was kind of shocking since on my frequent trips to Virginia in winter for example it always seems much warmer. Yesterday though for example it was in low 40's for high during day and it snowed all afternoon, there were big accumulations in the far north of the state, none here though. Snow especially with accumulations is VERY rare before late Nov/ early Dec in N.J. I've read as far as OTHER plants that additional potassium does improve cold hardiness somewhat.
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:49 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

So, how are Nana Nut's nanas doing now?
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:28 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

Well, the plants are pretty much smegged; we've had about four below freezing episodes thus far in the year, and since the plants were over 15 feet high, couldn't do much to protect them.

The banana bunches, I had two. One doesn't look very well, but the other looks about like it did. I'm hopeful it could possibly make it, but with so much bad weather potentially ahead, it's doubtful.

I guess the question for north Floridians would be: what can one do to shorten the length of growing period so that the bananas fruit EARLIER in this region? More fertilizer sooner, more water, plant a certain variety...anyone have ideas?
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:24 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

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I guess the question for north Floridians would be: what can one do to shorten the length of growing period so that the bananas fruit EARLIER in this region? More fertilizer sooner, more water, plant a certain variety...anyone have ideas?
Some varieties do have a shorter season, but other than providing ideal growing conditions when you have the good temps I don't think there is much you can do. If I were you I'd replant with only dwarf varieties so they could either be protected in a green house or be a little easier to bag and light.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:31 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

I would do this except I really do LOVE the huge banana plant "look", and also I happen to LUV bananas themselves...and the dwarves don't product fruits, do they? At least not the "chiquita" variety.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:48 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

I've read that the covering of bunches might speed up ripening some. The only explanation I've found is that it might keep the bunches warmer. I still have my three bunches of fruit covered with garbage bags that are turquoise in color. Here in northern California it's been cool (low 40s at night) and foggy, though we did have nice sunny weather yesterday. Still, I have my doubts that any growth is taking place and I'm tempted to just cut them. I'll probably just leave them until I know that we've got some freezing weather which could be next week or next month. The plants do generally look pretty nice still, though. I would have thought that north Florida wasn't any cooler than the Sacramento area. You make me feel almost tropical!
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:57 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blue Java: Predicted cold weather tonight, should I cut fruit?

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I would do this except I really do LOVE the huge banana plant "look", and also I happen to LUV bananas themselves...and the dwarves don't product fruits, do they? At least not the "chiquita" variety.
I understand the love of the tall ones! I also understand the heartbreak when they are lost to wind or cold weather.

Here is Dwarf Cavendish and Raja Puri bunches that have between 70 to 100 fruits per bunch in my zone 10 area. The bunches are about 6 feet off the ground and could easily be bagged or I could tent the plants with plastic at night with light's underneath. There are plenty of dwarf banana plants that produce big bunches like this!

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