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Author Topic: banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat  (Read 572 times)

rtdrury

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banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat
« on: January 11, 2019, 12:57:02 PM »
After harvesting the fruit, how much nutrients return from the dying banana stalk back to the root mat to benefit the next generation?  Has anyone done a comparison where one grove gets all its stalks cut and another where the stalks are left uncut?  If enough nutrients return to be stored in the root mat, this can save us some labor, and perhaps less exposure of roots to disease, and perhaps less evaporative loss of nutrients too?  Does it all add up to a net benefit to leave stalks uncut?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 12:58:36 PM by rtdrury »

pineislander

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Re: banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2019, 02:35:58 PM »
I split the difference by topping high, about 3 feet, and laying the cut parts down around the mat for mulch. I place the leaves down first and cover with pieces of pseudostem to keep them in place. Whatever is stored there returns via decomposition and builds soil, what may be in the trunk might return to the mat. Lastly, older leaves generally have some level of disease and putting them to ground should reduce the innoculum that would be airborne.

In my orchard I put a banana or papaya between almost every fruit tree when planted. As the mat grows I have seen the root mass and biomass produced has been building soil and the partial shade is a blessing to keep orchard temps lower. Bananas gather quite a bit of water on foggy/humid nights you will find a 1/2 cup every morning in each leaf axil. Yes there is some competition but the long term and overall benefits seem worthwhile.

rtdrury

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Re: banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2019, 10:11:09 AM »
Sounds like a good balancing act to leave 3 feet of stalk.  Leaving everything on the stalk means slow decomposition, giving opportunity to pathogens.  Fast decomposition by chopping it up allows proliferation of aerobic bacteria, crowding out pathogens, also traps nitrogen/water that might have evaporated.  Simple A-B test remains potentially informative, comparing root mat size after several seasons for two cases: no cutting of fruited stalks versus cutting them up.  If the root mat absorbs most nutrients/water from uncut stalk, we save labor as a bonus.

As an aside, our Gran Nain yard bananas taste better than industrial bananas.  We think because we mulched with lots of tree leaves/branches, etc.  People around here are experimenting with big mulch piles (for everything, not just bananas), not even bothering with compost anymore.  I think this ensures nice ecosystem under there with abundance of all nutrients except possibly nitrogen.  And like you, the companion plantings and ground covers never seem to compromise the fruit trees.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 10:30:27 AM by rtdrury »

pineislander

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Re: banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2019, 07:33:20 PM »
I have been collecting yard waste in nearby neighborhoods. Homeowners begin putting prunings, palm fronds, etc by the roadside on weekends and the county waste contractor picks up on Wednesday. The stuff is rough even though the pickup people have specs for what they will take. I usually pass on huge piles and pick up stuff bundled with string, in trash bags, or easy palm fronds. Sometimes I get 4-8 pickup truckloads in a week. It doesn't look 'neat' like chipped mulch, but I hope it will last and cover soil. I realy have found that a banana mat, after the suckers proliferate generates a lot of organic matter. 

venturabananas

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Re: banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2019, 12:25:58 AM »
My recollection is that there have been properly replicated, controlled studies on this question, and that leaving 4-5' of "trunk" (pseudostem) performed measurably better than removing the shoot that fruited near ground level.

Frog Valley Farm

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Re: banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2019, 04:29:08 AM »
I have been collecting yard waste in nearby neighborhoods. Homeowners begin putting prunings, palm fronds, etc by the roadside on weekends and the county waste contractor picks up on Wednesday. The stuff is rough even though the pickup people have specs for what they will take. I usually pass on huge piles and pick up stuff bundled with string, in trash bags, or easy palm fronds. Sometimes I get 4-8 pickup truckloads in a week. It doesn't look 'neat' like chipped mulch, but I hope it will last and cover soil. I realy have found that a banana mat, after the suckers proliferate generates a lot of organic matter.

Glad to know Iím not the only person longing for roadside yard waste.  Carbon is gold to me.  This is an organic gardeners slow release fertilizer.  I spread any and all yard waste thruought my landscape.  Definitely helps with so many things, soil health, soil fertility, soil texture, soils water holding capacity.  My neighbors finally got up the nerve to ask why?  I point out all the standing water on their side of the fence then show them our side with no standing water.  They now throw debris over the fence for us.  Most people clean all this up, throw it out, then go buy some industrial fertilizer, which here in Florida winds up in our water.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 04:49:39 AM by Frog Valley Farm »

pineislander

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Re: banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2019, 06:24:28 PM »
I had a good laugh last time I picked up. On the roadside were six bags of nice live oak leaves raked up. The oak leaves were stuffed into a used plastic bag of purchased mulch. To me, the bags had been refilled with mulch for free.

rtdrury

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Re: banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2019, 11:06:39 PM »
They say it's only carbon, but the dry stuff people put into the compost pile is infinitely more than carbon.  It contains all the macro/micro-nutrients, except nitrogen, to my knowledge.  I'd really like to see something posted online that lays out the nutrition percentages for each class of plant material, e.g. roots, stalks, branches, tips, leaves, fruit.  And different species.  Isn't this fundamental? 

zands

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Re: banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2019, 01:22:43 AM »
I have been collecting yard waste in nearby neighborhoods. Homeowners begin putting prunings, palm fronds, etc by the roadside on weekends and the county waste contractor picks up on Wednesday. The stuff is rough even though the pickup people have specs for what they will take. I usually pass on huge piles and pick up stuff bundled with string, in trash bags, or easy palm fronds. Sometimes I get 4-8 pickup truckloads in a week. It doesn't look 'neat' like chipped mulch, but I hope it will last and cover soil. I realy have found that a banana mat, after the suckers proliferate generates a lot of organic matter.

I don't have a pickup up truck to gather yard wastes into but you are on the right track to the ultimate recycling. You are correct on banana mats. Their roots generate organic matter and Mycorrhiza friendly.

zands

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Re: banana plant nutrients from stalk return to root mat
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2019, 09:13:50 AM »
I had a good laugh last time I picked up. On the roadside were six bags of nice live oak leaves raked up. The oak leaves were stuffed into a used plastic bag of purchased mulch. To me, the bags had been refilled with mulch for free.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JnEyHDOkQU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5hATTxwBaE



 

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