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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 04-04-2011, 04:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Suggestions for protecting my plants

Hi, I've read a bit on this section regarding frost protection. There seems to be suggestions to trim (I think) leaves back to the pseudo-stem or to wrap them or both. I'm not sure how to got about that and still have the pseudo-stem grow and fruit (hopefully) when winter is done.

Last year I covered my plants with a tarp. You can see in the photos I've included the black poly-pipe that supported the plastic tarp after the first frost hit and did some damage to the plants. The tarp was an OK solution last year, as the tallest pseudo-stem wasn't much more than a meter high. Now the tallest is above the high-point of the poly-pipe. For reference, the fence is about 2m high, so the high point of the pipe is a bit above 2m.


It never snows or freezes where I am, just has some good frosts. I've read that if you spray water on plants that can help because the state change of water when it becomes ice releases heat which keeps the internals of the plant from freezing. I'm not sure if I want to get up at 5 am with a spray can and do this. I guess I'll have to cut back the leaves of the larger stem to the height of poly-pipe and tarp again unless there's a better (easier) way. I don't want to do this as I like the look of the bananas. Also, they're way to closely spaced, and suckers everywhere, but I thought this might provide frost protection as well as I like the look of them this close together.


Any suggestions regarding frost or whatever would be appreciated.





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Old 04-05-2011, 09:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

wrap them in Christmas lights throw some sheets over them and then the tarp. just an idea
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

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wrap them in Christmas lights throw some sheets over them and then the tarp. just an idea
Cool. Last year I cheated a bit. I tarped the plants, and had a small fan-heater at one end. My wife was usually up at 5am nursing our then new-born son, and she'd check a thermometer and if it was near freezing I'd go outside and switch on the heater. I guess it'd have a similar effect to xmas lights.
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

If you got a those plastic trash bins and storage totes, fill them up with water and set it down there. The mass of water should keep it slighltly warmer I think...
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Old 04-14-2011, 06:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

Update: Vandals have attacked my bananas. I was worried about frost damage. It still hasn't gotten cold enough for frost, but I didn't expect the plants to be damaged deliberately. This happened sometime yesterday while I was at work and my wife was out too.

Here's some photos of the damage. I had to alter the contrast and brightness because they were taken this morning and there was a heavy fog. At least I won't need to cut back so much of the leaves on the tall banana.

This gives you an idea to compare the damage with previous pictures I've posted:



A close up of the damage:



The vandals have been described as being 45-55 cm in length, white plumage, expressive yellow crest, a raucous call. Suspects are very intelligent, cute, and can bite.

A photograph of one of the suspected vandals (note the cocky disposition and beady eyes one associates with this variety of criminal ruffian):


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Old 04-14-2011, 07:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

did they do all that I live in nj my daughter has one but I didnt know yhey could do all that
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

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did they do all that I live in nj my daughter has one but I didnt know yhey could do all that
We used to feed wild cockatoos in the back yard and have seen them eat a leaf in a matter of minutes. In this case the leaves were chewed through near the pseudo stem and fell down. It was probably just one or two checking to see if we've started putting out seed for them again. We had to stop because on wet or cold days, we'd get a small flock on the back fence and neighbors roofs chewing plants and scrapping their beaks on mortar while waiting for food. They can chew through most anything (except metal) given enough time. The neighbors didn't like the birds messing about on their roofs.
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Old 04-15-2011, 03:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

Thanks for sharing the pictures. Thats an incredible looking cockatoo! You might need to build a chicken wire cage around the banana plants to protect them. We have to do that with some of our berry plants here. =)
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

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Thanks for sharing the pictures. Thats an incredible looking cockatoo! You might need to build a chicken wire cage around the banana plants to protect them. We have to do that with some of our berry plants here. =)
I have to confess that I didn't take the picture of the cockatoo, but they look exactly like that. We get 3 species of cockatoo here, plus half-dozen other parrot species. Very lucky.
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Old 04-16-2011, 03:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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I have to confess that I didn't take the picture of the cockatoo, but they look exactly like that. We get 3 species of cockatoo here, plus half-dozen other parrot species. Very lucky.
If you get any more pictures of Cockatoos or parrots, please post them in the Tiki Hut section, in the Share An Image thread. I really like birds like that. =)
I wish we had them here.
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

Skids, it appears that the Melbourne climate is similar to mine. I grow "cool tolerant" varieties such as: Dwarf Namwah, Dwarf Orinoco, Ice Cream (Blue Java), Goldfinger - with no covering and no problems.
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Old 04-16-2011, 04:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

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Skids, it appears that the Melbourne climate is similar to mine. I grow "cool tolerant" varieties such as: Dwarf Namwah, Dwarf Orinoco, Ice Cream (Blue Java), Goldfinger - with no covering and no problems.
I think Melbourne is a bit colder. San Diego is hot sub tropical isn't it? I would imagine Melbourne more like San Francisco. I do cover the plants with a tarp on nights when there is frost. I lost one pseudostem on a plant last year due to a frost for which I was unprepared.

It is strange however to compare the climate here with locations in the US that are a similar distance from the equator. We have ocean to the south (polar region) and a continent to the north (towards equator). So the ocean brings cold winds, and the occasional cold spell from Antartica, but it also moderates the cold (or heat in summer). There are no blizzards, and snowfall away from the high country is so infrequent (every 20 years or so) and so sparce that when it does fall near the city it is a lead story on the news. When the wind blows from the north, in summer it brings very hot air, and even in winter the air isn't freezing, whereas I understand in the US the situation is different. There are many places that have no moderating ocean influence and have all of Canada, mostly polar, acting like a freezer and providing sub-zero air and blizzards.

Of course, that's just my understanding from very limited information.

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Old 05-09-2011, 11:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

Here's an update on my plants.

The bananas have grown since the last photos. Until a few days ago we had quite warm conditions with new leaves all over the place. Last night was the first frost of the winter. A bit early and apparently one of the colder may nights on record. I woke up early and sprayed the plants with water from the garden hose. I've build a small wood-fired heating thingy that is basically re-routes some of the heat from a small fire through some metal pipe which has holes in it. This pipe has been placed near the base of the plants. The original idea was a rocket heater that I saw on the internet.

Anyway, overall it seemed to work. The plants had grown so big that I couldn't cover them and being a pyromaniac I jumped at the chance to try fire. The only part of the plants that seems to have frost damage was a meter (3') above the ground where the air coming out of the pipe has no effect. The water here froze on the leaves here. The damage seems minimal. I've posted some photos below. I need to improve the system because I was up for 3 hours before sunrise this morning trying to ward off the frost. But I do love my bananas and won't let those pseudo-stems die without a fight.





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Old 12-08-2011, 06:51 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

Status update: All plants made it through winter without any major damage. The leaves suffered very minor burn, but basically just got old and weather damaged due to cessation of growth until the end of August. I spent a few nights outside with them tending small fires to keep the frost away in mid to late winter...
The plants are starting to look luxuriant again and are getting taller. Sadly, no flag leaf on any plant yet, so looks like another summer without fruit. I don't want any of them to start fruiting now as I understand it takes months for the fruit to develop and then ripen. Which would mean overwintering a fruiting body. Oh well, maybe next year.......
I snaffled a monkey-banana plant while in Cairns in June. So have something different to my collection of ducasses, pisangs, cavendishes and ladyfingers...
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:49 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

It seems nobody gives a fat rat's cloaca, so I'll thank you all for the help offered before last winter and wish you all a happy future.
Goodbye.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

I hadn't been on here for a while. but those sure are some pretty banana plants. I wish we could keep ours in good shape like that all winter without bringing them in. All of my basjoo even are already froze and thawed enough times that they are lying flat on the ground.
I have gotten out and sprayed mine with the water hose several times when I didn't cover them and it frosted. It really helps a lot. But you have to dress warm.
Glad to hear they made it though the winter safe though.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:56 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

Sorry for my last post. I guess when something is important to yourself, you just assume that it's important to all else...

Anyway, one of my bananas has done the flag-leaf thang , and is now looks read to show the fruiting bodies. Sadly, it's now early autumn/fall and I think there'll be no fruit because, whilst the weather at the moment is between 20-30C an 80% humidity in a few weeks it'll most likely be 15-20 and not much humidity....I hope the fruiting body goes to sleep and wakes up next September or October and plumps up...
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Old 03-22-2012, 04:53 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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The flower today:
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:43 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

Wow! That picture looks so cool.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:00 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Suggestions for protecting my plants

I just noticed these...not sure what they are, baby-bananas perhaps? Very cool. I shall consult the book of Wikipedia to find out.



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