Banana Tips

  • Bunch covers protect the fruit from bird, wind and sun damage, improve its quality and increase the yield. However they can encourage other pests such as rats to create nests within the bunch. The other problem with the commercial covers sold is that you can't see through them and for the home gardener, you need to!
  • Cut off the flower bell 100 mm below the last hand to increase fruit size. Do this once all the banana hands have set fruit. Leave only the two strongest suckers.
  • At a field day at Alstonville, the NSW Agriculture horticulturist Arthur Akehurst said that taking off diseased leaves of bananas while they were still green was more beneficial. It reduces the spore load and improves air flow which are both good for leaf disease control. Growers who have been using this method are also noticing a lesser incidence of other pests.
  • The books tell you to leave only one sucker with one banana bunch on the mother tree. This will give you a large bunch. What we have found is that we leave all the suckers because as there are only two of us, we can’t handle larger bunches unless we freeze them so we much prefer the smaller bunches.
  • Koalas eating Bananas! I was telling my elderly uncle about the wallabies eating mulberry leaves and he mentioned that when he was up north many years ago, there was a chap by the name of LJ Hoey at Brandon near Ayr who use to call koalas in from the wild and feed them bananas which they loved – he actually saw it happen and has given me a photo. Ref: Sheryl Backhouse
  • There is no treatment for Panama Disease. The only way is to grow a resistant variety of banana, e.g. in the West Indies in the past they flood the infected land with sea water for several years. When Lady Fingers are replanted it takes a few years but the disease eventually shows up again. Goldfinger has some resistance to PD and is suitable for backyards. Panama is a species of Fusarium which is specific to bananas while other species infect other plants. Ref: Don Gordon