Overwintering Basjoo Pseudostem in ground in zone 6b?

palmpunk(z6b SE MI)September 21, 2006

I was wondering if anyone has attempted and succeeded in overwintering the pseudostem of Musa Basjoo in the ground in zone 6. I would like to try this, so that mine can reach its full potential height of 12-15 feet next summer. Right now, my larger basjoo is about 7 feet tall, and I'm figuring it will max out at no more than 7.5 to 8 feet tall before the frost hits. Is this possible, and what method does one use? Will it be taller next year even if I decide to cut it down to the ground and mulch just because it will have a bigger root system?

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Musa basjoo is one of the hardiest of the bananas, surviving down to -20C or more, depending on how well it is protected.

Some people recommend cutting the trunk down to 3-4 feet and covering with heavy mulch or wrapping with pipe insulation, covering the top as well. Leaves would have been removed as well.

I'd Google for other ways of protecting it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Basjoo.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 12:06AM
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palmpunk(z6b SE MI)

Thanks for the info and the link, raydio. But my dilemma is, we get much colder here than people on the west coast. I'll give it a try anyway.
Thanks again

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 11:12AM
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I successfully overwintered my basjoo last winter in ground here in SE MI. I cut the stem down to about 18-24", used an old rubbermaid trash can and cut out the bottom, placed it over the banana and packed it full of dry shredded leaves. Then I replaced the trash can bottom and duct taped it back in place, making sure there would be no leaks. I left it covered until Spring, uncovered it and it began pushing up a new shoot shortly thereafter and also a number of pups. The plant's at least 15' tall now with leaves that are probably 6' long and a couple of feet wide. I plan to do the same again this winter. Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 8:46PM
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ohio_banana(z5 Ohio)

Last summer my basjoo got up to about 8' and I thought I'd be able to get a head start this year by heavy mulching - I cut the p-stem down to 3', surrounded it with chicken wire, packed garbage bags around the base to keep it dry, filled the thing with leaves, and covered everything with a tarp. Right before Christmas the temps dropped to -12F, but the rest of the winter was mild. When I uncovered it in April, the p-stem and corm was mush so I rather gave up on it. But at the end of May, 5 pups had sprouted. Now I have a clump of 5 basjoo about 6' and I'm about to start the same thing all over since temps are dropping into the low 40's - 1st frost date here in Columbus is Oct 3. I'll try again, but I think I'll give up on the 'head start' idea - with a 5 month growing season, just making it through to next year is a success in my book! Good Luck! Donn

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:30PM
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montyburns(z6a MA)

This may sound stupid, but does the amont of pseudostem you cut away affect the next years height?? If I cut my 8' stem down to 2 feet, will the new growth resume at the 8' height or will it regrow from the 2 feet. In other words, will the new midrib and stem grow up to the previous height or will it flop open once it grows above the height ofthe cut stem??

I am debating on how to mulch my Sikkimensis, do I try to save as much of the cane height as I can (more work) or do I justcut it down to amanagable height and mulch(less work)??

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 7:31PM
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palmpunk(z6b SE MI)

Thank you to everyone for the feedback. I do intend to save the whole pseudostem, and if any of it rots, I'll just cut it away in the spring and start from there. However, I do have one more question: When cutting the pseudostem, what type of tool does everyone use? A knife or a saw?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 9:51AM
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gardenguy_(z6b PA)

Anything sharp. I used large garden shears on mine last fall. The stem wasn't that big.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 1:04AM
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