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Timtim 10-31-2014 04:48 AM

Monthly fertilizer promotes healthy, hearty banana tree
Tom MacCubbin

Question: What is needed to care for a banana tree? What fertilizer should I use and when do I pick the bananas?

Answer: Many gardeners are harvesting bananas this year due to the mild winter that allowed their plantings to survive with minimal damage. Many gardeners don't think of their plantings until the hands of fruits start to appear but they should be given constant care. Keep the soil moist especially during the dry times. Maintain a 3- to 4-inch mulch layer over the root systems. Bananas like to be fed regularly. Apply a general garden fertilizer once each month from March through early November to help promote quick growth and early fruiting.

Bananas tell you when the fruits are ready to harvest. Check the first hand of fruits that formed. When the bananas start to turn yellow, harvest the entire stalk and hang it in a shady spot to use the bananas as they ripen.

Q: It has been spring since I fed my azaleas. Can I feed them now and what should I use?

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A: Azaleas need regular feedings to stay healthy and produce their spring blooms. Normally they are fertilized once in March, June and October. You only missed one feeding, so why not apply a slow-release fertilizer now? These products can supply the nutrient needs for several months allowing you to skip the October feeding.

Q: Ball moss is destroying my bottlebrush tree. I cut out the declining branches but now it is taking over again. What can I do?

A: One might think ball moss is guilty of major plant decline but it's only another plant looking for a place to grow. Sometimes it is hanging in already declining trees and shrubs. Ball moss and its relative Spanish moss are epiphytes that take nothing from other plants. They do tend to flourish when their hosts are not growing vigorously.

Look for possible reasons your bottlebrush tree is not growing normally. Check for adequate water, seasonal feedings and maybe root or trunk problems. Controlling the moss is probably not going to help save your tree. Where needed, some copper fungicides are labeled for moss control. Follow the label for the plant you plan to treat.

Q: A friend gave me a papaya tree about a year ago that is not growing. It flowers but produces no fruit and the leaves are yellow. What's affecting this tree?

A: Plants with the stunted look normally have a root problem. Your papaya may still have its roots in a ball or pot shape as planted and is not sending new ones out into the surrounding soil. Dig down and take a look. If the root growth is limited, lift the plant from the soil. Loosen the roots and replant. Then keep the soil moist and feed lightly once a month with a general garden fertilizer March through November.

Q: I plan on starting a fall crop of tomatoes. Is it too early and hot to plant?

A: Even though it has been hot and humid, young tomato plants won't mind. They make good growth during the late summer weather to form bushes that can bear the next crop. Actually, you need to hurry to keep the plants on schedule and produce a fall harvest.

Buy larger tomato plants if you can so they are bushy and ready to flower in early October when the crop starts setting its fruits. Keep the soil moist and feed every three to four weeks to grow the best plants. Also, don't forget to give taller growing plants a trellis to keep the fruits off the ground and make them easy to pick when ripe.

Plant Doctor Tom MacCubbin: Monthly fertilizer promotes healthy, hearty banana tree - Orlando Sentinel
Fertilization - humans, body, used, water, process, plants, form, animals, system, cells, Fertilization in humans, Fertilization in other species
A new source for potassium fertilizer | MIT News

Richard 11-11-2014 10:58 PM

Re: Monthly fertilizer promotes healthy, hearty banana tree
I think this guy from Orlando is full of it. Bananas are not trees, they are tropical annuals, and bulbs for that matter.

Also, the climate in Orlando FL is different from most other places in the U.S. so the relevancy to readers from afar is low.

You might find this article helpful: Guide To Growing Fruiting Bananas In Temperate Climates

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