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Old 08-20-2013, 04:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default banana plants all dying

Haven't been here for awhile. Live in Phoenix. Temperatures at my house ran from 17 degrees this last winter to 118 degrees in June. My banana plants survived the winter, growing good through May. A new leaf about every 1 & half weeks. June heat hits, not so good. Using screen on smaller plants. Older plants 5 to 8 feet tall on their own. All plants stopped growth or slowed down. High mineral content in water too. Too much water, the plants die from the center...from the corm up through new emerging leaf. This was different. Leaves started choking & stem not emerging. Then the largest plants were first. They were closest to potatoes & tomato plants in the ground. They started having large brown spots on the main stem & leaf stems, but not the leaves.. This turned into wholesale rot of the affected areas with outside stems falling away from plant. Grew worse, each layer from the outside affected. Insecticides, fungicides, nothing helped. Then the main stem started rotting from outside & top downward. Cutting stem back didn't help. Started spreading to other plants. Usually at bottom of stem below the leaf at main stem. Then on main stem looking like it was frozen or bruised. Some pups survived others died. One plant mother & pups all died at once. Had ice creams, goldfingers, orinocos, african rhino horn, kandarian & others...all affected. Smaller plants died within a week & a half. I have pineapple plants, apple tree, guava, Brazilian cherry tree, mango, bamboo among my collection in various parts of yard. One pineapple plant is three years old in a pot in full sun. Last summer in the ground & all winter in the ground with only leaves & a cloth sheet over it through the below freezing weather. I haven't contacted the agriculture dept yet. but I lost $ in banana plants...about 15 plants. Only one banana plant not affected yet as was never in close contact with others & in a different part of the back yard. Even the plants in front yard died.The question??? What is killing my plants so fast. Not the sun or water, which in June is hard on them . Bacteria, virus or insect?? Any ideas? Also, I tried withholding water on some plants to see the effect. Didn't see in difference on spread of the dying. Watering or not watering...all the same.

Last edited by rwood1754 : 08-20-2013 at 04:09 AM. Reason: additional info.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

I believe, that it is definitely the heat. The tropics never get as hot as the subtropics. Even
here in the “frigid” Canada (HZ6, but arid and hot in summer) it gets hotter than the tropics.
There it is just sometimes uncomfortably humid.

I have posted the following in another thread in this forum yesterday:

QUOTE
Because Ornatas are quite small I have wintered a couple of them near a window indoors,
where they did quite well.

One of them had spent the last summer in my “tropical planter and was completely
overwhelmed by New Zealand Purple Castor Beans and Canna Australia. Out of sight, out of
mind it rotted away in the shade. After I brought it in the mother would not recover, but
sprouted two pups. They grew nicely, but when moved outside into full daylight they
deteriorated for a while, until they had grown accustomed to the bright light, and started
sprouting again,. – for a while. Then I believe the full sun shining on the pot “cooked” the
corm as the temperatures rose and it crumbled again, until I moved it into partial shade.
Now it is perking up once more.

The other one, with the pot shaded all the time and the leaves in sunshine, has meanwhile
grown into a beautiful plant. It is now taller than any of the ornatas I have seen abloom in
Vietnam, where I got mine from and it still is not showing any flag leaf. I am hoping, that it
will have a flower, before I have to bring it inside. UNQUOTE


If I had planted that Ornata in the ground, I probably would have been spared this
problem, but since it will be small enough to bring back in, I left it in the pot. If this
experience has any relevance to your situation, the problem might well lie in the heat
that the corms have been exposed to, rather than the ambient temperature of the air.
If the bananas are right now in bare soil, it may well help, to mulch heavily with leaves
and similar around them. If you then apply some water repeatedly on that mulch, it will
cool down the corms significantly in your arid environment

Good luck,
Olaf


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Old 08-20-2013, 11:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwood1754 View Post
Live in Phoenix.
That says it all.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Agreed with above. Way too hot, likely way too dry of air, and when it comes to that much heat bananas really do need a lot of water. Sounds like a lot of extremes and stress.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Agreed, certainly a lot of stress. Not a good of location as I used to have about 5 miles from here with irrigation, full grown trees for protection,10 + foot oleanders perimeter protections & slightly warmer in winter. There I had trouble controlling them they grew so well. Phoenix is not created equal. There are microclimates because of different vegetation, soil & other things. My other house seemed to be the perfect location for growth & fruiting.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Oh, I know this may sound strange, but water was something at this location I had to be careful with. Watering more than once a week during hot weather & I had trouble. I had to use cactus palm mix soil to make sure they had good drainage. The only ones still doing okay, I water about every two weeks right now. Any more often & they start looking bad. ??? I know, it doesn't make sense.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwood1754 View Post
Oh, I know this may sound strange, but water was something at this location I had to be careful with. Watering more than once a week during hot weather & I had trouble. I had to use cactus palm mix soil to make sure they had good drainage. The only ones still doing okay, I water about every two weeks right now. Any more often & they start looking bad. ??? I know, it doesn't make sense.
Actually it does make sense. The plants have stopped growing due to extreme heat. No growth requires little to no water.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

I was thinking last night in bed about the difference of protecting bananas from cold
(my problem) as opposed to heat, your problem. What would I do, if I lived in AZ?

First of all I would, as I said previously, protect the corm from hot sun hitting the bare
ground. Second I would bunch them closely together, so that they would benefit from
each other’s shade and humidity. I know that most here, who want to produce fruit,
like to space them, but that does not appear necessary. As PR-Giant states in this
thread:

When will it flower?
QUOTE:
I cut down a tree in the jungle in order to make a hole in the canopy and planted 8
bananas in an 8' x 8' plot. I did not account for the trees to the North, South, and
East being so much taller, so now I have huge plants growing on a 75 degree Westerly
angle.

It looks a little odd, but they should be fine.
UNQUOTE

In other posts in the same thread he also states, that he gets good production
that way. If he can do that in the relatively muted light in the jungle, you can certainly
do that in the bright AZ sunshine.

Olaf



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Old 08-21-2013, 11:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

[quote=rwood1754;226764]Haven't been here for awhile.

What fertilizers and soil amendments are you using ?
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by momoese View Post
Actually it does make sense. The plants have stopped growing due to extreme heat. No growth requires little to no water.
Sorry, Mitchel I have to disagree with you on this one. The water loss in the Arizona desert
due to evapotranspiration during summer has to be somewhere between significant and huge,
especially in a plant, which is genetically not equipped for arid conditions, even if the heat
stifles growth. That water has to be replaced. The reasons have to lay elsewhere: Temperature
shock when the water is much colder than the ground?, day-night temperature fluctuations?
Keep in mind, that those are much more moderate in the tropics; or maybe
it has a fertilizer or nutritional cause as Tony suggests?

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Old 08-21-2013, 01:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olafhenny View Post
Sorry, Mitchel I have to disagree with you on this one. The water loss in the Arizona desert
due to evapotranspiration during summer has to be somewhere between significant and huge,
especially in a plant, which is genetically not equipped for arid conditions, even if the heat
stifles growth. That water has to be replaced. The reasons have to lay elsewhere: Temperature
shock when the water is much colder than the ground?, day-night temperature fluctuations?
Keep in mind, that those are much more moderate in the tropics; or maybe
it has a fertilizer or nutritional cause as Tony suggests?

Olaf



That's ok Olaf, we can agree to disagree. Imo when growth stops the plant stops taking water. The ground being super hot could also be literally cooking the roots making water uptake difficult. He did say that things get worse when he waters so it's either the plant doesn't want water, the water is bad (ph, minerals, chemicals maybe?) or the water allows the temp to travel down the soil killing roots? I don't think holding water is the solution, but I do think adding water is the problem. Maybe a misting system would help. When it's baking hot here I wet down everything creating humidity under the leaves and it seems to help.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:03 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

[quote=sunfish;226890]
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwood1754 View Post
Haven't been here for awhile.

What fertilizers and soil amendments are you using ?
Bump
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Sorry to hear this,but the ground getting so hot and your ph of your water I feel is the issue. Have you ever tried putting a bunch of mulch chips around them? They would keep some heat off and keep them damp. If the ground is getting so hot then the roots are dieing off and the plant can't get any water. Go to a pet store and get a freshwater ph and alkaline test kit. Or maybe even a pool store.
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by blownz281 View Post
Sorry to hear this,but the ground getting so hot and your ph of your water I feel is the issue. Have you ever tried putting a bunch of mulch chips around them? They would keep some heat off and keep them damp. If the ground is getting so hot then the roots are dieing off and the plant can't get any water. Go to a pet store and get a freshwater ph and alkaline test kit. Or maybe even a pool store.
Good advice, that sounds to me a reasonable and prudent approach to the problem. The next
question is of course, what the desired base values are.




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Last edited by Olafhenny : 08-21-2013 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:56 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

[quote=sunfish;226890]
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwood1754 View Post
Haven't been here for awhile.

What fertilizers and soil amendments are you using ?
This could effect soil ph creating uptake issues.
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Old 07-04-2014, 04:01 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Well, here it is a year later. Mild winter. The ice cream pups that survived all the dying were doing great (about 7 feet tall) until about 3 weeks ago. Thought it was heat stress even though other people in Phoenix I know have no such problem. I thought it started with the stems, because I thought the drying on the edges of the leaves was heat stress until I read some articles from Australia on Panama race 4 fungus disease. The leaves sort of become weather worn, then a couple weeks later ( and this progresses fast) I notice brown spots on the stems like they were frozen. Tear the stems back & there is all these little brown looking pieces of residue from ? And there are small brown circles throughout the vascular areas. Strip & cut these stem off & sometimes by the next day the next inner stem is the same way. Within 5 days the stem is falling over & cutting through it, nothing but rot from the outside inward with the center usually still green & healthy, but showing stains. I've been working 70 hours a week, so unfortunately, I didn't realize the problem from last summer was back. I started soaking the plants with fungicide & some insecticide at first as that is what finally saved a few plants last summer. In a weeks time some plants are dead to the ground. One of the first ones that was affected seems to have recovered ( a plant from Florida that a plant seller brought back several months ago). My saba that was growing great about two weeks ago & the pups seems to be in bad shape. My banana plants planted in only store bought soil in an outside open nursery cloth covered greenhouse still look fine. Two plants in the front yard in a raised garden planted in store bought soil, so far look good & just recently in the last week started growing & putting out new leaves. The plants affected in the back yard are all in areas or soil where everything died last summer leading me to believe it is a soil borne & possible insect helped fungus somehow that was brought in on one of the plants from out of state or it could be something already here? We are going into our monsoon season now with hot weather & increased humidity. Had our first dust storm tonight! And some rain sprinkles. Been 121 days without rain here now. That seems to be the trigger that starts this. Beautiful healthy plants, then two weeks later, they are all dying. Unfortunately with working 70 hours a week & not having the time to realize I had a problem....too late. I am only hoping soaking the plants and soil with the fungicide has saved the corms. I've had bananas with nothing showing for months, then all of a sudden a plant comes peaking through the soil? I am calling the Agriculture dept tomorrow, even though bananas aren't a crop here, there are nursery growers here of banana plants & if this is indeed one of the Panama race diseases, it is important to find out. I was just thinking it was an insect problem until I read some of the Australian articles & looked at the photos, now I am afraid it is what I think it is. This has affected my ice creams, goldfingers, saba & several others. Some of the unaffected plants & some which are clones include a couple sweethearts, a seminole, a mekong giant, another giant (forget the name at present).....all in pots in store bought soil. My 5 year old pineapple plant still doing great. It started sending out new plants ??? It has survived 118 degree (with nursery cloth shading) desert heat in the ground, temperatures in my back yard of 17 degrees (covered with leaves & a sheet next to a west facing wall). It was just a pineapple top when I first planted it. This year the bamboo is growing like crazy. A year ago I couldn't keep any of it alive. My dwarf Anna apple did great in the summer heat last summer, went through the winter with only a slight leaf loss & then bloomed for two solid months. The apples been getting ripe the last couple weeks. Large apples too. Hard to believe an apple tree doing that well in the desert. Well, just a little update on some of my plants since I hadn't been on the site since last summer.
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Old 07-04-2014, 04:21 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Oh, I just read some of the replies ( a year later). About water, etc. Thanks The water has too much salt in it. Some plants like my elephant ears died, but this year I only use bottled water & my plant is doing great. I am careful not to get city water on the banana leaves as it will cause burn spots at my location.. In Glendale water on the plants wasn't a problem. They grew so fast I had to step away & I also had irrigation service there twice a month. That made a big difference .This year I do have wood mulch around the banana plants in the raised garden in the front yard. But last summer, it didn't matter where the plants were, in the ground under the hot sun, in pots under a shade tree....they all died of similar symptoms......outside stem or stalk developing brown freeze looking or sunlike burn spots & spreading inward it seemed until the whole plant just fell over from no support. Oh, I use manure, a 16-16-16 fertilizer mostly now.

Last edited by rwood1754 : 07-04-2014 at 04:27 AM. Reason: update
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Old 07-04-2014, 07:14 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

Do you have some pictures?
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Old 07-04-2014, 08:47 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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I'll try to post some.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:42 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: banana plants all dying

I am growing bananas on the other side of town on the Mesa/Tempe border and I was also having a hard time with my plants until recently when I started using a different fertilizer. For over a year I was using a banana fert. from Wellspring and was not getting good results. I am not going to mention the name because Richard also sells a fert. that goes by the same name. I want to be certain that no one confuses the two of them. Most of you probably already know which one I mean, the rest of you can go to the Wellspring site to find out the name. Please make sure that no confusion is created, I do not want to cause Richard any problems. I am sure someone will mention it in a reply and that's OK but make sure you hang the Wellspring name on it. I plan on sending Wellspring an email and ask them if they want to pay to have a lab here analyze one of the unopened bags I have left. I want to post some lab reports to back up the poor performance I have experienced. I don't have $150+ to spend getting it analyzed, maybe they do. I used a double dose of it a couple times to get some better growth. The fertilizer that is working so well is Classicote 15-8-23, it is a 4 month time release that is great for small plants that need frequent watering but should probably not be used less than 4 months before cold weather starts. I am going to get some fert. from Richard soon that is water soluble and it will allow me to have better control of nutes during flowering after the time release has been used up. Our water here is very hard and with our severe lack of rain recently salts can build up easily. A heavy flushing watering may help until some rain arrives. Our meager rain will never flush container grown plants very well unless you collect it in buckets and run it through the pots.
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