Question: My husband and I had two red leave banana trees planted. one of the trees rotted at the roots and died. It looked as though there was some type of worm or parasite on the roots when we removed the tree and the second tree was doing well this summer now that fall has arrived I've noticed that the branches are soft and limp also the exsiting and new leave have holes in them. We are wondering what could be wrong and what can we do? Should we cover the plant since it's getting colder; the landscaper mentioned that these trees respond better to hot weather. Help Thanks Ollie Shepherd

Answer: Banana trees are actually herbaceous shrubs, with a large stem that resembles a trunk, and large, frond-like foliage. True bananas grow from the species 'Ensete', but most commonly grown Banana trees are 'Musa', which do not produce edible fruit. Culture for both Ensete and Musa are the same; give full sun and lots of water. The tops of either plant may die down in cold weather, but new growth will begin in the spring. Both are very fast growing and need frequent, deep watering during the growing season (spring - summer). Because the leaves are sensitive to cold weather, it might be that your plant is showing stress from winter weather, or from wind, which tends to dry the foliage out. Cut the brown leaves off and destroy them. Then keep the plant well watered and wait for new growth in the spring. If your plant dies down to ground level this winter, cut away the old, dead portion of the plant and allow the new shoots to grow into a new banana tree.

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