The new house also has a couple of banana trees! What is the best way of over-wintering them? I am in USDA Zone 8a and we've just started to get frosts.
From the research/asking around that I've done, it sounds like there are two main approaches: dig them up (like dahlias in the UK); or cut them down and cover them up with leaves or burlap.
One tree is pretty small - less than six foot including leaves. The other is much taller - well over 12 feet with leaves. This latter one is already showing signs of frost damage and it is also too big to dig up - and even the smaller one might leave a large hole (I don't know how big the roots are).
So covering them up sounds the best approach. How far should I cut them back? To ground level? To a few feet? They're pretty hefty: Is there a recommended way of doing this? Time to sharpen the hatchet, or learn how to use a machete? (the latter would give the proper tropical feel to the exercise!) It might seem an odd question, but is there a particular way of burlap wrapping? Multiple layers, or just string & sacks?
I'm assuming they are a hardy variety of banana, but I really don't know if they are plantains or sweet bananas. The large one would imply they've been over-wintered before but my experience in Costa Rica is that bananas can grow very fast in the right conditions.
Although it would be very cool to have fruit, I think I'm resigned to them being purely ornamental plants - I understand they require a frost-free winter before they will have any chance of producing fruit.