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Banana Production; General production techniques

The Botanical name of Banana is Musa sp; it belongs to the family 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 preffered for export.
Culinary: Monthan, Nendran, Vayal vazhai, Ash Monthan and Chakkia.
Hill areas: Virupakshi, Sirumalai and Namaran, Red Banana, Manoranjitham (Santhana vazhai) and Ladan.

planting procedures 

Soil and Climate: Well drained loamy soils are suitable. Alkaline and saline soils should be avoided.

Season of planting

Wet lands: 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, 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.
Pralinage with 40 g of Carbofuran 3 G granules per sucker. (Dip the corm in 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 atleast 24 hours and plant. Sow Sunhemp
on 45th day; incorporate it after about a month. This operation reduces nematode build up.
Use tissue cultured banana plants with 5-6 leaves. At time of planting, apply 25 g Pseudomonas fluorescence / plant.

Field preparation

Wet lands: 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.
Wet lands: Place the suckers at ground level and earth up at stages.
Digging Pits Garden land, Padugai and Hill Banana: Dig pits of 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm size. The pits are refilled with topsoil, 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 irrigations are to be given once in 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 litres/ plant/day from planting to 4th month, 20 litres/plant/day from 5th to shooting and 25 litres /plant/day from shooting till 15 days prior to harvest
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 irrigations
are to be given once in 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 litres/plant/day from planting to 4th month, 20 litres/plant/day from 5th to shooting and 25 litres /plant/
day from shooting till 15 days prior to harvest
Apply N as Neem coated urea. Apply N and K in 3 splits on 3rd, 5th and 7th month, Phosphorous at 3rd month of planting. Apply 20 g in each of Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria at planting and five months after planting. (This should be applied prior to chemical fertilizer application).
* For Tissue culture banana apply 50% extra fertilizers at 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th month after planting.
For maximizing productivity follow fertigation technique - Apply 25 litres 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 recommended dose of phosphorus as basal at 2nd month after planting. Fertigate at weekly intervals as per the following schedule.
Aftercultivation - 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 opening of last hand. In Robusta banana to avoid ‘fingertip disease’ floral remnants may be removed a
week after 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 opening of last hand. Prop plants at or prior to 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 at flowering of 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 gardenland.
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 Poovan variety. Spray CCC 1000 ppm at 4th and 6th month after planting.
Spray plantozyme @ 2ml/lt at 6th and 8th month after planting to get higher yield.
Micronutrients: Spray micronutrients viz., ZnSO4
 (0.5%), FeSO4
 (0.2%), CuSO4
 (0.2%) and
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 cool season) - 4% (during summer season) ventilation to cover the bunches immediately after opening of the last hand.

Intercropping: Leguminous vegetables, Beetroot, Elephant foot yam and Sunhemp. Avoid growing Cucurbitaceous vegetables.

Banana Plant protection

Pests of banana 

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 another 2 ml 150 cm from the ground level) in the pseudostem at
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 or methyl demeton 2 ml/lit or
monocrotophos 1 ml/lit or dimethoate 30 EC 2 ml/lit. The spray may be directed towards crown and pseudostem base upto ground level at 21 days interval atleast thrice. Injection of monocrotophos 36 WSC 1 ml/plant (1 ml diluted in 4 ml of water) at 45 days interval from the 3rd
month till flowering is very effective. Use ‘Banana injector’ devised by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. Avoid injection of monocrotophos after flowering.
Thrips and Lace wing bugs: Spray methyl demeton 20 EC 2 ml/lit or monocrotophos 36 WSC 1 ml/lit or phosphamidon 40 SL 2ml/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 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 45th day and incorporate 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.

Diseases of Banana - 

Sigatoka leaf spot: Remove affected leaves and burn. Spray any one of the following fungicides commencing from November at monthly interval. 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 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 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 crown and pseudostem base upto ground level at 21 days interval atleast thrice. Injection of monocrotophos 36 WSC 1 ml/plant (1 ml diluted in 4 ml of water) at 45 days interval from the 3rd month till flowering is very effective. Use ‘Banana Injector’
devised by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. Avoid injection of Monocrotophos after flowering.
To prevent the disease,
i) Use virus-free suckers
ii) Paring and pralinage
Pare the corm and sprinkle 40 g of Carbofuran 3 G over the Corm (Before sprinkling, 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 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 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 of 50 mg of Pseudomonas fluorescens is inserted / injected into the hole with the help of ‘corm injector’ on 2nd, 4th and 6th
month after planting. 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 opening of last hand (1 g/40 lit/200 bunches) or 1.2 g of 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: Bunches attain maturity from 100 to 150 days after flowering depending on variety, soil, weather condition and elevation.
Yield (t/ha/year)
Poovan : 40 – 50
Monthan : 30 – 40
Rasthali : 40 – 50
Robusta : 50 – 60
Dwarf Cavendish : 50 – 60

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