Banana is a fruit that is widely present around the world and is rich in multiple nutrients. Banana trees are mostly grown in tropical areas.
They belong to the Musaceae family and more than 50 species of banana are present in Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Taking proper care of a banana tree is vital for a thriving banana tree. Pruning becomes an integral part.
How to prune banana trees?
A sharp and clean knife or blade is needed to prune banana trees. The best time to prune is after harvesting the fruit. Prune the yellow and diseased leaves while starting from the outer side of the banana tree. Then move gradually towards the inner leaves. Only the main stalk should remain intact and all the suckers and lower leaves should be removed with a clean knife or blade.
3.Main Reasons Why You Have to Prune a Banana Tree?
There are several reasons why banana trees need to be pruned such as:
- It gets infected by some disease or fungus
- Leaves turn yellow because of frost or an excessively cold environment
- The banana tree starts to change the color because of dehydration
Though it’s rare, there is a possibility that banana gets infested by insects. These infections usually occur in the spring and summer seasons.
As a result of the infection, the leaves of the banana tree start turning yellow. Thus, the removal of these leaves is necessary for the better growth of the tree.
Look carefully before pruning. If there are any holes on the stalk of the banana tree, it may lead you to the actual part that is infected.
Pesticides might be necessary to get rid of nasty insect infestations.
While banana trees are typically grown in tropical areas, they are also grown in colder climates. In such cases, it is necessary to save banana trees from frost in winter.
If the tree is exposed to direct frost, there are greater chances for the leaves to turn yellow. Thus, pruning is required and it is advised to remove all the leaves that turn yellow.
3.Lack of Water
Banana trees require plenty of water for their development. If you are growing a banana tree in an area where it rains a lot, it’s fine if you don’t water it regularly.
However, if the conditions are dry, you need to regularly water a banana tree to help it grow. If the banana tree is not getting enough water, the leaves will start to change color, and pruning will become necessary.
Pruning Banana Trees
If the banana tree is grown for decorative purposes, it’s fine to prune it at any given time. However, if you are cultivating the tree for its fruit, you are advised to prune a banana tree at appropriate times.
You should only prune the tree after you have harvested the fruit. Pruning before harvesting will directly affect the fruit and may decrease the yield.
Pruning will lead to better growth and development, but only if it is done correctly. Banana trees differ from other trees in that they lack a proper trunk or branches.
Fruits on the banana tree grow in the downward direction and are fully covered.
The following steps should be followed when pruning a banana tree:
- Use a sharp and clean knife or blade for pruning as the leaves of the banana tree are large and thick. It is usually not possible to remove leaves by the hands.
- Leaves that are turning yellow must be removed for better growth and an attractive look of the tree.
- Start removing the outermost leaves and gradually move towards the inner leaves.
- Do not cut the stalk of the banana tree as it can affect the growth and yield of the banana tree.
- Make sure that plant has flowered before you start pruning to not affecting the yield.
- The main banana tree is known as the mother plant and it must be kept intact.
- Remove the suckers if there are any sprouting away from the main trunk as they can grow into new stalks that are not desired.
Why Should You Prune Banana Trees? 4. Benefits
1.Ripening of fruit: Pruning banana trees from time to time is essential as the developing bananas need sunlight for ripening. If any leaves are rubbing the young fruits or covering them, the process of ripening will be affected.
2.Nutrient Consumption: If dead and decaying plant parts are not removed, they will be getting the nutrients that could be used to grow new banana tree parts. For better utilization of essential nutrients, pruning yellow and dead leaves is a must.
3.Better yield: Regular pruning of leaves can increase the yield of a banana tree.
4.Encourage growth and appearance: Dead leaves should be trimmed to encourage new growth. This will also help the planted banana tree to look its best as you may have planted it for ornamental purposes.
Tips for Pruning Banana Trees
There are several ways to prune banana trees without causing any damage to the tree itself.
Letting the primary stem or mother part of the banana tree grow will lead to the better overall development of your plant. You should keep pruning the tree to remove excess shoots or yellow leaves as soon as they appear.
Once you notice that the older stalk reaches the age of 7-8 months, it’s time to let another stalk grow in its place. The reason behind this is that each stalk bears fruit for a single time.
Let a sucker grow for the upcoming season to yield the fruit and then prune it. Because, once a stalk bears fruit and you harvest the fruit, that stalk will not produce fruits for another season.
So, it’s always better to cut it down to be replaced by a newer one.
Once you harvest the fruit, you should always cut the fruit stalk back 30 inches and remove the stub after a few weeks.
You can also cut the stalk into several smaller pieces to be utilized as mulch.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pruning Banana Trees
Should I cut brown leaves off my banana tree?
It would be better to trim the dead leaves that have turned yellow or brown to encourage growth and fast development with a better yield. Cold weather, infection, or water deficiency are the main factors that can turn the leaves brown or yellow.
Do you cut down a banana tree after fruiting?
A single pseudostem of a banana tree produces fruit only once. After harvesting the fruit, it’s a good practice to cut that pseudo stem because there are no chances for it to produce fruits again.
How long do banana trees live?
The average life span of a banana tree is 6-7 years.