Bananas are a type of fruit that grow on large herbaceous plants of the Musa genus, which is native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and South Asia. They are widely cultivated and consumed throughout the world, and are a staple food in many countries.
Bananas are rich in a number of nutrients, including potassium, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and several B vitamins. They are also low in calories and have no fat, cholesterol, or sodium. In addition to being a healthy snack, bananas have a number of potential health benefits, including improving heart health, aiding in weight loss, and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.
There are several different types of bananas, including Cavendish, Plantain, and Red Dacca, among others. Each type has a slightly different flavor and texture, and is used in different ways in cooking. For example, plantains are often used as a starchy vegetable, while Cavendish bananas are typically eaten raw as a snack.
Bananas are a popular choice for snacks and desserts, and can be eaten fresh or used in a variety of dishes, such as cakes, smoothies, and ice cream. They can also be dried and ground into flour, which is used to make bread and other baked goods.
In addition to being a tasty and nutritious food, bananas have a number of environmental benefits. They are grown in a number of countries, including Ecuador, the Philippines, and Costa Rica, and provide a vital source of income for many small farmers. Bananas are also relatively easy to grow, and can be grown in a variety of climates, making them an important food crop in many parts of the world.
Growing Banana: Musa sp; Musaceae
Varieties – Dessert: Robusta, Dwarf Cavendish, Grand Naine, Rasthali, Vayal vazhai, Poovan, Nendran, Red Banana, Karpooravalli, CO 1, Matti, Sannachenkadali, and Neypoovan. Cavendish groups are generally preferred for export.
Culinary: Monthan, Nendran, Vayal vazhai, Ash Monthan, and Chakkia.
Hill areas: Virupakshi, Sirumalai and Namaran, Red Banana, Manoranjitham (Santhana vazhai), and Ladan.
Soil and Climate: Well-drained loamy soils are suitable. Alkaline and saline soils should be avoided.
Season of planting
Wetlands: Feb – April: Poovan, Rasthali, Monthan, Karpooravalli, and Neypoovan.
April – May: Nendran and Robusta
Garden lands: January – February, and November – December.
Padugai lands: January – February, and August – September.
Hill Banana: April – May (lower Palani hills), June – August (Sirumalai)
Selection and pre-treatment of suckers: Select sword suckers of 1.5 to 2.0 kg weight, free from diseases and nematodes. Trim the roots and decayed portion of the corm, cut the pseudostem leaving 20 cm from the corm and grade the suckers to size.
To avoid wilt disease, infected portions of the corm may be pared and dipped for 5 minutes in Carbendazim 0.1% (1 g in 1 lit of water) for Rasthali, Monthan, Neyvannan, Virupakshi, and other wilt-susceptible varieties.
Praline with 40 g of Carbofuran 3 G granules per sucker. (Dip the corm in a slurry solution of 4 parts clay plus 5 parts water and sprinkle Carbofuran to control nematodes). Alternatively, dip the corm with 0.75% Monocrotophos, shade dry for at least 24 hours, and plant.
Sow Sunhemp on the 45th day; incorporate it after about a month. This operation reduces nematode buildup.
Use tissue-cultured banana plants with 5-6 leaves. At the time of planting, apply 25 g Pseudomonas fluorescence/plant.
Wetlands: No preparatory cultivation is necessary.
Garden land: 2 – 4 ploughings.
Padugai: One deep mammutti digging.
Hill Banana: Remove scrub jungle and construct contour stone walls.
Wetlands: Place the suckers at ground level and the earth up at stages.
Garden land, Padugai, and Hill Banana: Dig pits of 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm size. The pits are refilled with topsoil and mixed with 10 kg of FYM, 250 g of Neem cake, and 50 g of Lindane 1.3 %.
Adopt high-density planting for higher productivity – Plant 3 suckers/pit at a spacing of 1.8 x 3.6 m (4600 plants/ha) for Cavendish varieties and 2 m x 3 m for Nendran (5000 plants/ha).
Irrigation: Irrigate immediately after planting; give life irrigation after 4 days; subsequent irrigation are to be given once a week for irrigated plantations of garden lands and once in 10 – 15 days
For wetlands. Irrigate the fields copiously after every manuring. Use drip irrigation @ 15 liters/plant/day from planting to 4th month, 20 liters/plant/day from 5th to shooting, and 25 liters/plant/ day from shooting till 15 days before harvest.
Application of fertilizers
Apply N as Neem coated urea. Apply N and K in 3 splits on the 3rd, 5th, and 7th month, and Phosphorous at the 3rd month of planting.
Apply 20 g in each of Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria at planting and five months after planting. (This should be applied before chemical fertilizer application).
For Tissue, culture bananas and apply 50% extra fertilizers at the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th months after planting.
For maximizing productivity follows the fertigation technique – Apply 25 liters of water/day + 200:30:300 g N: P2O5: K2O / plant using water soluble fertilizers.
For economizing the cost of fertilizers,
fertigate using normal fertilizers (Urea and Muriate of potash) with 50% of the recommended dose along with a recommended dose of phosphorus as basal at 2nd month after planting.
Fertigate at weekly intervals as per the following schedule.
After cultivation – Garden Land: Give mammutti digging at bi-monthly intervals and earth up. Prune the suckers at monthly intervals. The dry and diseased leaves are removed and burnt to control the spread of leaf spot diseases. Male flowers may be removed a week after the opening of the last hand.
In Robusta banana to avoid ‘fingertip disease’, floral remnants may be removed a week after the opening of the last hand. The plants at flowering may be propped. Cover the peduncle with flag leaf to prevent main stalk end rot. Cover the bunches with banana leaves to avoid sunscald.
Wetland: Form trenches in between alternate rows and cross trenches at every 5th row. The trenches are periodically deepened and the soil is spread over the bed.
Surface diggings may be given at bi-monthly intervals and desuckering at monthly intervals. Remove the male flower
a week after the opening of the last hand.
Prop plants at or before flowering. Cover the peduncle with flag leaf and the bunch with leaves to avoid sunscald.
For ratoon crops in respect of Poovan,
Monthan and Rasthali allow the follower to the flowering the mother plant and remove the other suckers at harvest.
Perennial banana: Give surface digging with mammutti once in two months. Give one deep digging with mammutti during January – February. Other operations as in garden land.
Hill banana: Give four forkings in January, April, July, and October. Remove outer sheaths to keep the corm inside the soil and ward off borer. Maintain two bearing plants and two followers per clump along the contour.
Growth regulators: To improve the grade of bunches 2,4-D at 25 ppm (25 mg/lit.) may be
sprayed in Poovan and CO 1 banana after the last hand has opened. This will also help to remove seediness in the Poovan variety.
Spray CCC 1000 ppm in the 4th and 6th month after planting. Spray plantozyme @ 2ml/lt at 6th and 8th month after planting to get a higher yield.
Micronutrients: Spray micro nutrients viz., ZnSO4
H3BO3 (0.1%) at 3, 5, and 7 MAP to increase yield and quality of banana.
Bunch cover: Use transparent polyethylene sleeves with 2% (during the cool season) – 4% (during the summer season) ventilation to cover the bunches immediately after the opening of the last hand.
Intercropping: Leguminous vegetables, Beetroot, Elephant foot yam, and Sunhemp. Avoid growing Cucurbitaceous vegetables.
Plant Protection (PEST & DISEASES)
Corm weevil: Apply lindane 1.3% @ 20 g/plant or carbaryl @ 10 – 20 g/plant in the soil around the stem.
Stem weevil (Odoiporus longicollis): Remove dried leaves periodically and keep the plantation clean. Prune the suckers every month. Spray monocrotophos 36 WSC @ 1 ml/lit of water.
Alternatively, dilute 54 ml of monocrotophos 36 WSC with 350 ml of water and inject 4 ml (2 ml at 45 cm from the ground level and another 2 ml at 150 cm from the ground level) in the pseudostem at a monthly interval from 5th to 8th month.
Do not dump infected materials in the manure pit. Infected trees should be uprooted, chopped into pieces, and burnt.
Banana aphid: Aphid is the vector for Bunchy – top virus disease. Spray any one of the following systemic insecticides to control it. Phosphamidon 2 ml/lit, methyl demeton 2 ml/lit, monocrotophos 1 ml/lit, or dimethoate 30 EC 2 ml/lit.
The spray may be directed towards the crown and pseudostem base up to the ground level at 21 days intervals at least thrice.
Injection of monocrotophos 36 WSC 1 ml/plant (1 ml diluted in 4 ml of water) at 45 days intervals from the 3rd month till flowering is very effective.
Use the ‘Banana injector’ devised by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, and avoid injection of monocrotophos after flowering.
Thrips and Lacewing bugs: Spray methyl demeton 20 EC 2 ml/lit or monocrotophos 36 WSC 1 ml/lit or phosphamidon 40 SL 2 ml/lit.
Nematode: Pre-treat the suckers with 40 g of Carbofuran 3G. If pre-treatment is not done, apply 40 g of Carbofuran around each plant one month after planting (refer to selection and pre-treatment for alternate technology) or pare and dip the corm into 0.75% Monocrotophos solution; shade dry and plant.
Then grow Sunhemp after the 45th day and incorporate it one month later. Press
mud application @ 15 t per ha one month after planting and neem cake 1.5 t per ha one month after planting.
Sigatoka leaf spot: Remove affected leaves and burn them. Spray any one of the following
fungicides commencing from November at monthly intervals. Carbendazim 1 g/lit., Benomyl 1 g/ lit., Mancozeb 2 g/lit., Copper oxychloride 2.5 g/lit., Ziram 2 ml/lit, Chlorothalonil 2 g/lit.
Alternation of fungicides prevents fungicidal resistance. Always add 5 ml of a wetting agent like Sandovit, Triton AE, Teepol, etc. per 10 lit of spray fluid.
Bunchy-top: The Banana Aphid Pentalonia nigronervosa is the vector of the Bunchy-top virus disease. Spray any one of the following systemic insecticides to control it. Phosphamidon 1 ml/lit or methyl Demeton 2 ml/lit or monocrotophos 1 ml/lit.
The spray may be directed towards the crown and pseudostem base up to the ground level at 21 days intervals at least thrice. Injection of monocrotophos 36 WSC 1 ml/plant (1 ml diluted in 4 ml of water) at 45 days intervals from the 3rd month till flowering is very effective.
Use the ‘Banana Injector’ devised by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, and avoid injection of Monocrotophos after flowering.
To prevent the disease;
i) Use virus-free suckers
ii) Paring and praline
Pare the corm and sprinkle 40 g of Carbofuran 3 G over the Corm (Before sprinkling, the corm should be dipped in mud slurry).
iii) Destroy virus-affected plants.
Insert a gelatin capsule containing 200 mg 2,4 – D into the corm 7 cm deep using a capsule applicator or inject 5 ml 2,4 – D solution (125 gm/lit of water) into the pseudostem by using the injection gun. The plant collapses and topples in 3 – 5 days.
Panama Disease: Uproot and destroy severely affected plants. Apply lime at 1 – 2 kg in the pits after removal of the affected plants. In the field, Panama wilt disease can be prevented by corm injection methods. A small portion of soil is removed to expose the upper portion of the corm.
An oblique hole at a 45° angle is made to a depth of 10 cm. Immediately, a gelatin capsule containing 60 mg of Carbendazim or 3 ml of 2 % Carbendazim solution or 50 mg of Pseudomonas fluorescens is inserted/injected into the hole with the help of a ‘corm injector’ on the 2nd, 4th and 6th month after planting. The application of press mud at 5 kg per tree reduces the wilt incidence.
Kottaivazhai in Poovan: Spray 2,4 – D at the rate of 25 ppm within 20 days after the opening of the last hand (1 g/40 lit/200 bunches) or 1.2 g of a Sodium salt of 2,4 – D dissolved in 40 lit of water for 200 bunches.
Crop duration: The bunches will be ready for harvest after 12 to 15 months of planting.
Harvest & Yield
Harvest: Bunches attain maturity from 100 to 150 days after flowering depending on variety,
soil, weather conditions, and elevation.
Poovan: 40 – 50
Monthan: 30 – 40
Rasthali: 40 – 50
Robusta: 50 – 60
Dwarf Cavendish: 50 – 60
To conclude our article, here we mentioned various types of bananas and instructions for how to grow them. The varieties mentioned include dessert bananas such as Robusta, Dwarf Cavendish, and Grand Naine, as well as culinary bananas like Monthan and Nendran.
It is suggested that well-drained loamy soils are suitable for growing bananas and that alkaline and saline soils should be avoided.
We also mentioned that there are specific seasons for planting different varieties, and it is recommended to use tissue-cultured plants with 5-6 leaves. The field should be prepared according to the type of land it is on, and pits should be dug and refilled with topsoil mixed with FYM, Neem cake, and Lindane.
It is recommended to plant the bananas at high density, with specific spacing recommendations given for Cavendish and Nendran varieties. Irrigation and fertilization schedules are also provided, as well as instructions for controlling pests and diseases.
(This research was carried out directly at the Tamil Nadu University of Agriculture in India).