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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 10-02-2008, 10:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

I live in Tallahassee and after reading about some species' levels of cold tolerance, I am wondering whether this coming winter I should even bother chopping the pseudostems on my large bananas down to 4' high and covering with sheets on nights it freezes like I did last year, or if instead I should just leave them be and let nature take its course, and let any freeze-damaged leaves hang down against the pseudostem to act as natural insulation for later harder freezes.

I have large specimens of Misi Luki, Praying Hands and Ladyfinger, all of which are in large mats, a large Orinoco with 2 medium sized pups, a large Red Iholene with 3 small pups, a single Dwarf Cavendish and a relatively small Kru Sunset.

I expect the lowest it would get is high 20's overnight, with maybe a maximum of 8 hours of continuous below-freezing temps in any given episode. I think if got below freezing about a half dozen times last year.

Anyone have any recommendations? I want to maximize the chances for early fruiting in the next year.

Thanks!
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Old 04-17-2009, 05:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

Don't cut. Try to keep the full pstem alive if you want to maximize your chances for fruit.
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Old 04-17-2009, 06:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

Check some of the cold preparation threads, many people in cold zones, trim them back slightly before winter gets bad, cover them in wire cage filled with insulation, leaves and upside down garbage can, or many other methods. Check photo gallery. Be sure little moisture gets to it so it does not rot. Main point being, prevent the pseudostem from freezing. When chances of freezing weather has completely past, uncover it so that growth can continue.

Last edited by Caloosamusa : 04-17-2009 at 06:16 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

I am in Sourthwest florida and what I do is snip half of all the leaves off, then bend the remaining up adjacent to the p-stem and tie them off, finally I wrap the entire plant, from soil level to top with "N-sulate", and excellant frost fabric that will protect plants well below 20 degrees, mummifying the entire plant, be sure to bend the top leaf down, so it is inlcuded in the encapsulation. The thing is, if you do nothing, the entire plant from soil level up will be "cold melted" so, at least this way the cut leaves will still be functioning and the p-stem will also be fine. double wrap just to be sure to insulated the entire plant accordingly.
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Old 10-13-2010, 03:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

What nickmccann said! Try to get professional frost insulating material. A good way to do it cheaply is what I did, and buy it from a nursery used. Way cheaper. For my 12 mats I got a roll of used material 15ft by 40 ft and cut it to fit. Full price was $4.00 a ft --- 160.00

See my gallery for other pics. Wrap around pstem like a hot dog bun. Fold over the top and the one side and use black binder clips - cheap in bulk boxes from Office Despot.



First cut off 1/2 of the oldest leaves and fold up the rest and tie with velcro tape from Home Despot.

If the pstem is very tall snap the leaf and fold down. These leaves will get cold burnt but they protect the pstem.

One more thing -- for the temps you get double wrap the pstems and make sure to to cover up all the way down to soil level. Invest in a banana trim knife - you're gonna need it when the leaves turn brown. And I don't mean in the fall.

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Old 10-13-2010, 07:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

Dan the man!....nice to see somebody else has figured it out!...the key is to reduce the cold stress as much as possible to get the optimum in fruit production......way to go!!
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

Thanks for this discussion and pics - my South Miss climate/zone 8b is similar to N. Fla -expect a few nights will dip down to 20s F this winter but only for a few hours. Hard freezes are rare -expect mostly winter days will be 50s or higher.
So,
1. when should this wrapping be done? I don't want to start too early or wait too late. any tips about this?
2. N-sulate is available on internet in 1.5 or 3 oz -not cheap but if it works, i'll find the $ - which is better to use?
3. Do you leave pstems wrapped once done -or is it better to unwrap during indian summers/warm periods?
Thanks
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

I've never bothered with wrapping any bananas but I have insulated them with mulch and leaves and very small ones I put a container over. For the amount of bananas the cost is just stupid high to protect them in regards with buying materials. I've left the fronds hanging down but once it gets below 26 there's just no point anymore. They're beyond offering any insulation at all at that point.

However, the bananas I don't bother to insulate are more suitable for 8B. I wait until April to do any cutting of the p-stems. I would think having bananas that are suited for 9-10 one would want to take caution and cover them.

I had a Grand Nain that I decided to see what would happen. It didn't make it (I doubt they are what one would want to go through a 20, 18 and 22F three morning in a row sort of time span). Quite a few others didn't make it either.

So live and learn. I now know what to do with the more "tender" kinds of bananas. I've often wondered and figured that cutting the fronds off and tent wrapping the entire plant would be best - I've just never done it.
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyMacLuckie View Post
I've never bothered with wrapping any bananas but I have insulated them with mulch and leaves and very small ones I put a container over. For the amount of bananas the cost is just stupid high to protect them in regards with buying materials. I've left the fronds hanging down but once it gets below 26 there's just no point anymore. They're beyond offering any insulation at all at that point.

However, the bananas I don't bother to insulate are more suitable for 8B. I wait until April to do any cutting of the p-stems. I would think having bananas that are suited for 9-10 one would want to take caution and cover them.

I had a Grand Nain that I decided to see what would happen. It didn't make it (I doubt they are what one would want to go through a 20, 18 and 22F three morning in a row sort of time span). Quite a few others didn't make it either.

So live and learn. I now know what to do with the more "tender" kinds of bananas. I've often wondered and figured that cutting the fronds off and tent wrapping the entire plant would be best - I've just never done it.
Amen, brother!

Does all of this extra effeort pay off? On some - sure. Depends on their individual sensetivity, some varieties are much more forgiving. I'll plant just about any banana, if it makes it that's great. If it doesn't, that's fine too. Just another spot to try something else next spring.

I let the leaves on mine hang until I get sick of looking at that mess throughout my garden. At least the naked pstems just disappear, and if I loose a few feet of pstem that's okay too. Last winter was the first to kill them to the ground in several years, and hopefully we'll have a better one this year. Even if I had gone to the extremes shown in this thread I doubt it would have made a difference.

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Old 10-23-2010, 04:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

Tommy and Crab - Thanks for the comments - I'm right between you both on the map- maybe I'm trying too hard for home bananas. Hydroid shared a good article with me from the Mobile paper written several years ago for the Mobile area - it recommended stacking full leaf bags around the pstems and on the top - that would work for short ones. But, I don't have that many leaves this time of the year.
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

It's strange, the Gulf Coast and inland, in terms of who gets X amount of temperatures and for how long. I recall hearing that it got down to 13 in Fairhope the morning it got down to 18 in Mandeville. And that's with the wind coming down Mobile Bay even! It is very shallow on that side though.

I would think in Tallahassee it's a bit cooler overall. But cold is cold when the wind is right and the Gulf and various bodies of water have no influence whatsoever as far as radiant heat. Afterall, 18 degrees on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain is 18 degrees.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:17 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Pinwheel Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

thanks for the discussion
I grew up in P'cola and have family in Lillian, AL, now living about 3 miles inland at Biloxi.
I've noticed over the years that the azealas? and figs generally start blooming 2-3 weeks sooner in Lillian and Mobile than at my place.
What a difference a few miles can make.
Here's to a mild winter and fair winds,
Jose
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

last winters Arctic oscillation was brutal even for my fruit trees down here. La Nina could give us a good indication for this year

Winter forecast to be cool and dry
By SUZETTE PORTER
Article published on Monday, Oct. 25, 2010

If NOAA forecasters are right, Floridians won’t experience record-setting cold temperatures this winter; however, rainfall is expected to be below normal, and drought conditions could return by spring.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released its Winter Outlook Oct. 21. Forecasters said the Pacific Northwest should prepare for a colder and wetter than average winter, while most of the South and Southeast will be warmer and drier than average through February 2011.

Winter forecast to be cool and dry : Front Page - Tampa Bay Newspapers
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:33 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chironex View Post
Don't cut. Try to keep the full pstem alive if you want to maximize your chances for fruit.
not to highjack your thread..if i have the room,just in case,would it be better to dig up and lay down? and just replant next year..save cutting,not much growth now anyway..could dig up with minimal if any damage,whole root ball - way outer roots,would be better than cutting,and my PH and orinoco are 14 ft not so easy to insulate..thanks all
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

Too much more work. It's more interesting to see which ones survive or die when left alone. I've spent plenty of work protecting chestnuts by moving into my greenhouse but no longer. Gets old real fast.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:24 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2woodensticks View Post
not to highjack your thread..if i have the room,just in case,would it be better to dig up and lay down? and just replant next year..save cutting,not much growth now anyway..could dig up with minimal if any damage,whole root ball - way outer roots,would be better than cutting,and my PH and orinoco are 14 ft not so easy to insulate..thanks all
Sticks -Tampa area is much warmer than north coastal area - does it ever freeze? orinocos are very cold hardy - I have no experience with PH. Last winter was mild, I cut my orinocos to 8-10 ft and wrapped with frost cloth/insulate and plastic bags. Had 5 blooms in the mat this season.
I plan on doing the same this year.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:03 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: N. Fla. winter--to cut or not to cut?

thanks for input..yea its just my other nanners i am concerned about..again thanks
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