The Q&A Archives: Cutting Back Banana Trees

Question: I have a small clump of "ladyfinger" banana trees on the South side of my Central Florida home, which have survived three winters unscathed. They've gotten quite tall as a result (about 11 feet high), but look kind of spindly. I prefer a shorter, fuller, look - Can I just cut these trees off at the midpoint? Will they grow new leaves from the trunk? Any recommendations would be much appreciated!<br>

Answer: Rather than cutting them off at midpoint, cut the tall spindley stalks down to ground level. A banana<br>stem produces fruit only once. After harvest the stalk is cut off and chopped into small pieces, which are left on the ground and incorporated in as mulch. New stalks will form from base of plant. Choose the best of these stalks to fruit and cut the others back to ground level. Too many stalks lead to small bunches of low quality fruit and encourage disease development.<br><br>Banana plants need fertile conditions and adequate soil moisture. They require plenty of potash. Fertilize with a 6-2-12 mixture. Apply 1 lb. for young plants every 2 months and increasing gradually to 5 lbs at flowering and fruiting time, 10 to 15 months later.<br><br>One nutritional spray containing manganese and zinc is <br>recommended annually. Copper should be included in the <br>spray if no copper-containing fungicide has been used. Follow label directions carefully when using these sprays.

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