Now is the time to winterize your hardy palms (windmill variety) and bananas. Bananas should always be protected regardless of age or size. Windmill palms should be protected as long as they are still a manageable size to do so. Older, well established tall palms are nearly impossible to wrap but by this stage they are strong enough to withstand our winters.

Bananas

  • Cut the stalk underneath the lowest leaf. On tall bananas this could be quite high. Compost leaves.
  • Using rebar or wooden stakes, tall enough to go above the stalks, surround the banana.
  • Use chicken wire or strong plastic netting to go around the stakes making a round cage.
  • Back fill with dry straw or leaves raked from your property. Fill the cage all the way over the top of the tallest stalk.
  • Some people do this only and others will cover the whole cage with a tarp. If you use a tarp be sure to weight it down so it stays in place during strong winter winds.
  • You may opt out of building a cage and instead mound your dry filler over the stalks and underneath over the roots. Then use a landscape fabric over top to keep it all in place and again, weight it down to prevent it from blowing off.

Hardy Palms in the ground

  • Begin by gathering all the palm fronds together in your arms so they point to the sky. This means a great big bear hug! Often it can take two people. Tie them securely with a non-binding tie such as panty hose or a knitted scarf. This will prevent the tie from cutting into the fronds and damaging them.
  • Using long sections of burlap, begin from the bottom of the trunk wrapping doing 3 revolutions all the way up to the top including all the fronds. Secure the top well to prevent it from unraveling.
  • Mulch underneath around the roots with straw or lawn raked leaves. Cover this with landscape fabric to prevent it from blowing away.

Hardy Palms in containers

  • Move the pot to a spot sheltered from wind. In a corner or under deck roofs are good choices.
  • Fronds can still be gathered together and burlap wrapped.
  • Purchase a large sheet of bubble wrap and wrap the pot only. This helps insulate the roots from the effects of winter freezing.
  • Water only as needed over the winter months. This will be probably only 2 or 3 times. Water well when you do.

These steps should protect your plants in the months ahead. In early spring the wraps can be removed. Usually this is any where from late March to mid April weather depending.