when to uncover banana tree

glazed(5b)March 15, 2009

I bought two banana trees from Lowes that said they were hardy in this area. Zone 5b. They did well last year and in the fall I cut them down and put a cage over them and filled with straw. I am hoping they come back this year. When should I remove the Winter protection? Thanks for any suggestions.

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It's hard to tell without knowing your exact climate, but as long as there are no more overnight freezes, there's no need to protect the root-zone from a freeze.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 8:42AM
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Thanks for the info, but I believe its too late. I uncovered both of my banana trees that I mulched heavily with straw last fall and to my shock and horror, I believe they are toast. They were all soggy and gross. I am still in denial and hoping that they will snap out of it but I am sure its pointless. I guess I did something wrong last fall. I waited until the first frost, cut them down, put a wire cage around them, then crammed them with straw. And I do mean crammed. I thought for sure this would be enough. I uncovered them to find the mush. Our last frost date is not until the end of April, beginning of May but I thought I would uncover them to let some light and warmth in, and then recover lightly each night. Should I give up on them? Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 12:07PM
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Boca_Joe(zone 7A)


I am assuming they are hardy Musa Basjoo. If that is the case, sometimes the old corms are mushy and then they sprout through the center or bottom of the old corm. I would give them until mid- May at least.

If they are another type of banana, they are prob dead.

good luck

Boca Joe

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 11:07PM
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I am in Zone 7 and I uncovered my Basjoo and found the base of the stalk and it was completely full of water and mushy as well. This tree was purchased at Lowes last year and advertised it to be hardy to -25. I think the coldest this winter got to was 21 or so. I am just hoping for some babies to appear but I do not know when to expect them. At this time the Basjoo was supposed to be a remergent cornerstone in my garden so I was hoping to see them before June 1st since that is when I hang up the shovel until Mid October.

I know they grow in the ground here since I see them a few miles away from my house growing rampant between 2 homes much later in the summer.

Only time will tell I guess. If this one is dead I will buy another and plant it somewhere else just to try again.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 9:03PM
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I wouldn't give up. I don't have hardy bananas but do have a tropical variety that froze when I lost power to the GH for 3 days last winter. The plant turned into mush so I cut it back. The corms were also mushy. I just stuck it in the back of the GH intending to toss it in the compost pile. I finally got around to clearing out the dead plants a couple weeks ago and noticed new growth.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 8:23AM
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We've only shopped at Lowes once, since the nearest store is about 25 miles away. So, I really don't know whether or not plant tag ID's are accurate.

Living in zone 5, I find the most hardy banana is Musa Basjoo. There are a few others they call hardy, but hardy to where? Fl? GA? For those of us who live in z6 and under, our best bet is Basjoo.

I think it's best to uncover leaves when days are longer and night temps are 40F and higher. They'll grow under mulch, but foliage will be limp and pale.

2008/9 has been really icy. I'm praying my banana grows this year. So far nothing, but they are late sprouters. I know not to expect growth until, at the miniumum, mid-May. So for those who removed mulch and found limp growth, if temps are above freezing, might as well keep it off.
BTW, bananas, even though they have inedible fruit, are sun-lovers. If your temps are higher than 50F, perhaps a low-dose of fertilizer might promote new, stronger growth.
I use a banana fertilizer bought at Ebay. It's slow-release. Just sprinkle and water. Toni

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 3:34PM
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