Backtrack: bananas

I realized recently that in my flurry of pre-freeze activity last month I never posted about my banana overwintering preparations. I let my Musa basjoo do whatever it will until a really hard freeze is forecast -- usually that means a low temperature below 25ºF (-4ºC) or so.

This year that condition was not forecast until December 6, so that's when I had to get moving on this. (Note that there had been a few nights of below freezing temperatures so the foliage was already fried, but the thick pseudostems can handle those temps without damage.)


A closer look at the foliage, one last time:

The tool of choice for this task is a machete:

With a good swing it slices right through in one go, even when they are several inches in diameter:

So satisfying! (The fun part of the process)

I always like seeing the structure of the pseudostem:

Almost all cut now -- there were so many this year! (over 2 dozen):

I left this one to last...

...because it contained the flower...

...which snapped off when the pseudostem fell. I tried to slow its fall but those things are pretty heavy!

Tiny bananas:

Plus great macro details:

The cut parts oxidize so quickly, in order to protect the wound I suppose?

This is why banana "juice" (sap?) stains clothes so readily I think.

It's all cut down now, with just some cleanup remaining:

I usually don't have so many dried leaves, but there was so much time between the first freeze and the first hard freeze that those big, beautiful things had a chance to dry out. That's to my advantage since I can use them as mulch now!

The "trunks" got chopped into manageable sizes to make transport easier (and it's so much fun!):

Here's the pre-mulched shot:

And here's after mulching:

I didn't want to mess with the fencing and deep leaf pile this year, so I went minimal. I covered the outermost stumps with nursery pots. If those survived our long, hard cold spell I will be surprised (but will have learned that minimal protection is fine).

In case you're feeling down that the magnificent banana greenery is gone now, here's a wider view showing that as far as winter greenery goes, I'm doing pretty well:

So that's it for the banana overwintering procedure, 2017 version. I wonder how the plant will respond in 2018?

Need a reminder of what this plant looked like before the first freeze? Click here.


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outlawgardener  – (January 11, 2018 at 9:21 AM)  

I miss the banana foliage but you've still got quite a bit of green in that last shot. Always sad to see these go for the season but now the excitement can build for next year.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (January 12, 2018 at 10:53 AM)  

It was so cool to see actual bananas, no matter how tiny!

chavliness  – (January 15, 2018 at 10:31 AM)  

This seemed a more minimal approach to protecting the banana then in previous years. Fingers crossed.

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