How do I winterize banana trees in North Carolina?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by probst, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. probst

    probst Member

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    hampstead nc
    Hi - I'm new to this forum and would appreciate your help. I have banana trees in my back yard garden and am unsure how I should winterize them. Any help will be appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    I'm pretty new to growing banana myself and hopefully "Gros Michel" and "Lorax" will join this thread soon, and offer their expertise ~ but I am pretty sure you must dig up the corm and pot it up over Winter. It will have to be brought inside for protection.

    What kind is it, though? If it is a musa basjoo, it may well be fine left in the ground...

    : )
     
  3. Gros Michel

    Gros Michel Member

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    If you could identify the variety of banana as well as your hardiness zone it would be easier to give a more accurate answer. Also, is it your goal to produce edible fruit or just keep the plant alive?
     
  4. probst

    probst Member

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    I'm not sure what kind banana tree it is. I know that it bears edible fruit.
    thank you for any help.

    Probst
     
  5. Gros Michel

    Gros Michel Member

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    Assuming you are in zone 8 (meaning your average winter lows are between 10 and 20 F) if you want to give your plants the best chance to bear fruit I would consider wrapping the psuedo stem with an insulating fabric , and or providing a very thick layer of mulch around the base of the plant. You could even cut the plant down to a manageable height ( don't be afraid to cut right through the "trunk"( psuedostem) , mulch heavily and cover with a tarp for the coldest months. This is what growers of M. Basjoo and M. Sikkimensis for example do to protect these ornamentals in colder climates. Posting a picture of the plants may help with identification.
     
  6. jpasquini

    jpasquini Active Member 10 Years

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    We had a mini-golf course here in town (Springfield, IL) that had banana trees for many years in a row.
    What I heard they did was they left the roots in the ground, grafted the trees off at about 6" from the ground in V's and then covered the roots in mulch so they didn't freeze.

    The rumour was they kept the shafts indoors in their basement and then reattached them in the spring by 'plugging them back in' and staking, but I never talked to them personally or saw them do it. It was all a very interesting story. But the trees most certainly were there, year after year and quite large.
    May be all hearsay and nonsense, but if it helps, so be it.
     
  7. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I definitely wouldn't advise the v-grafting method.... Sounds pretty dodgy to me, since while bananas can be grafted it is very very difficult to get them to heal properly and without infection. Kind of like trying to graft grasses.

    Gros Michel has given excellent advice on how to overwinter for Z8. I'll add that if cutting into the pstem freaks you out too much, you can also simply remove the leaves, and build extruded polystyrene (styrofoam) boxes to go around the pstems. Wrap the pstems in burlap or freeze cloth, then place the boxes around the pstems and fill these with dry mulch and cap it all off with a final chunk of EPS. This way, even if you get high winds or a harsh winter, they're well protected. With bananas outdoors in northern climes, I'm always one for a bit of overkill in winter protection.
     
  8. jpasquini

    jpasquini Active Member 10 Years

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    Too bad they (the golf course) closed down quite a long time ago. They did that way back when I was a teenager. Whatever they did worked! Its definitely possible.
    They are an unusual sight in our neck of the woods. So as you can imagine, the town was talking lol.
     
  9. Gros Michel

    Gros Michel Member

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    It seems likely that the rumors were just that. More probable is that the plants were stored bare root. Dug up and placed in a cool basement or other area that doesn't freeze some banana varieies will reliably come back and pretty much start where they left off with the short season advantage of increased initial height. "Orinoco" is a good candidate for this type of overwintering in a colder area.
     

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