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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 12-05-2013, 08:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Winter mulch: Good idea or bad idea?

My banana plants have become victims of the cold snap that has washed over the western US. I want to do everything possible to keep the pseudostems alive this winter (lowest we'll get here is around 25), so I spread some wood chips and fallen leaves around the base of the pseudostems and pups to about 1.5 feet high. The pstems have dulled in color a bit, but I'm pretty sure the damage is only superficial because they are still firm and moist. Will the mulch get too hot, or promote rot?

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Old 12-06-2013, 06:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Winter mulch: Good idea or bad idea?

Hi Andreas,

Definite figures do not appear to be available, but all banana leaves freeze up. if exposed
to the upper twenties. Exactly where that point of freezing lies, depends very much on
duration and wind exposure.

Hardiness appears to refer to the survival of the corm only. The tops, leaves and PS
are as far as I can tell exactly the same for all varieties. I have experimented some
on the musa basjoo here: Experiment: How much cold can a banana take?.

What exactly makes the more highly rated varieties less frost hardy, would be subject
to experimentation, which is not available to me. Is it subject to rot at low, but above
freezing temperatures? Would relatively dry, well draining soil during the frigid period
help the corm survive? I cannot experiment in borderline temps here, because it gets
too cold.

I am fairly sure, that any frost, which is sufficient to kill the leaves will either delay or
nullify the fruiting process, more so, if it damages the PS. Maybe this is, where the
difference between some of the cultivars comes in?

Meanwhile to come to your question: I do not see, where mulching could hurt, unless
your region is subject to long and cool soggy periods. If so, just spread a plastic
"apron" over the mulch..


Best,
Olaf



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Old 12-06-2013, 10:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Winter mulch: Good idea or bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olafhenny View Post

Meanwhile to come to your question: I do not see, where mulching could hurt, unless
your region is subject to long and cool soggy periods. If so, just spread a plastic
"apron" over the mulch..
Thanks for your input. It was a pretty hard freeze, I've already lost at least one pup and I may end up losing the tops of the p-stems. Our winters here tend to be cool and wet, it's when we get most of our rainfall. Daytime temps generally hover in the 50s to 60s and nighttime temps in the 40s to high 30s, with the occasional cold snap to the low 30s or high 20s. The current weather that accompanied this hard frost down to around 25 degrees is a freak event here. Rainfall is approximately 11 inches a year. It would be pretty easy to get a tarp to cover the base of the plants, but I'm wondering if once decomposition of the leaves and mulch starts it will be warm enough to stave off rot?
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Old 12-06-2013, 11:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Winter mulch: Good idea or bad idea?

I doubt, that your leaves will rot, if they remain exposed as your weather allows. The
frozen parts of the leaves will more likely dry up more, as they have already done at
the edges. If there follows a period of no frost, you will probably notice signs of
recovery and emergence of new leaves. Just monitor the weather forecasts and cover
them up, when frost is threatening and they will be alright.

Once they have recovered, in February, you may want to slice all the dead parts of the
leaves off.





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Old 12-07-2013, 12:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Winter mulch: Good idea or bad idea?

Not much composting going on in winter
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Winter mulch: Good idea or bad idea?

Does that mean that I could get root rot?
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Winter mulch: Good idea or bad idea?

No









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Old 12-07-2013, 12:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Winter mulch: Good idea or bad idea?

Frozen Ice Cream
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Winter mulch: Good idea or bad idea?

I have always mulched around mine after wrapping them never had any problems. If you were in a area that has sitting water after hard rains then of course don't mulch during cold whether otherwise go for it.
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