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Old 02-20-2016, 02:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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We live in Pahoa the Big Island of Hawaii and several clumps of bananas. My question relates to mulching around the existing trees with the dead banana leaves. Over time, the mulched banana leaves have piled up to up to a foot in depth and I've heard various answers to appropriate depth. I would like to know if there is a maximum depth to which the leaves should be piled up.
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Old 02-20-2016, 08:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome "Bobnmits"!

I don't know that there is a definite maximum height. The mulch is used to control the evaporation of the moisture from the soil. If the leaves are not shredded they can be piled higher than if they were. Unshredded leaves will provide greater aeration through them than shredded leaves so they probably can be piled as high you can manage, considering watering cycles/rain frequency and wind factors. That consideration holds true for shredded leaves as well. Unshredded leaves may also shield rainwater from going through to the soil underneath and divert it away from the trunk. The wider leaves will be easily displaced by wind even if wet. You will need to gauge how high you can pile up shredded leaves. I would think that 3" to 4" would be adequate to start with. This can give you sufficient moisture control without completely blocking moisture all together. Please note the considerations stated earlier in regards to this.

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Old 02-21-2016, 05:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 02-21-2016, 10:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Welcome to the org! I hope you feel at home here.
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome neighbor! Interesting question. I stopped mulching with dead leaves and I think it has helped minimize sigatoka damage by not leaving that fungal reservoir all around the plant. I'd be thrilled to have a foot of mulch at all times. I have a neighbor who just brings truckload and load of the free County mulch and plants bananas in them. They seem very happy with that.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Welcome. As Rob stated, we have an issue due to humidity causing the Sigatoka to flourish. I try to use good practice & I take all my banana waste off the property. Because I get a decent amount of rain (Leilani), I spread my mulch about 2 feet wide & only several inches thick. Trial & error. Try out different techniques on different mats to see what works for you.
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Old 02-26-2016, 07:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I appreciate the responses to my post about mulching depth, especially the mention of sigatoka, a condition I'd not heard about. Thanks for the heads up. I checked my bananas and they don't show any sigtoka evidence. We live in Leilani and since moisture can be a problem, we'll be more careful with our mulching.
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