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Banana Plant Health And Maintenance Topics This forum is for discussions of banana plant health topics such as coloration issues, burning, insects, pruning, transplanting, separating pups, viruses, disease, and other general banana plant health and maintenance issues.


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Old 12-04-2010, 05:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default slowly killing my banana tree :(

My banana tree seems to be slowly dying When I first got it in september it had 6 or 7 healthy looking leaves, now its down to 2 or 3 yellowing leaves. I've been treating it for spider mites by spraying it with water with a tiny bit of soap. Also, I tried adding coffee grounds to the soil per my dad's suggestion. I don't know if I may be over/under watering it? It has been looking sick for a while, but I left it over thanksgiving (monday to sunday) and it seemed worse when I got back, so I gave it lots of water. The soil seems pretty sad, and when I went to take pictures I realized I could just pull the plant out of the pot with no problem. That's when I discovered the yellow mold(?) and a pretty large grub thing. Maybe the bug is normal, but it looks pretty scary to me (haha). So yeah, this is alot of questions, but on the bright side, a pup sprouted around october and seems to be doing fine. To me, this suggests its not the soil because the pup seems happy, but I really have no idea.

that was a lot of info, so to summarize:
--yellowing, rapidly dying leaves.
--yellow mold on soil.
--spider mites.
possible causes?
--watering difficulties?
--spraying for spider mites?
--that wierd creepy bug?
--nutrients?
--something I have never heard of?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: slowly killing my banana tree :(

It appears to be water stress to me. I've seen it when rainfall is not ample in a large orchard. Bananas like to be no drier than MOIST. They prefer WET but not to the point where their roots are standing in water. If the soil around the corm gets dryer than moist, the plant will suffer and the usual symptom is yellowing along the leaf edges that turns to complete necrosis.

Hope this helps.

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Old 12-05-2010, 08:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: slowly killing my banana tree :(

Coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen but may be to st
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Old 12-05-2010, 08:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: slowly killing my banana tree :(

Sorry about unfinished last post (the cat walked across my lap top) as I was saying the grounds may be to strong to use on a potted banana. I use them out side as a side dressing,also I mix left over coffee 1 part to 10 parts water. New potting mix is a good idea. That new pup is a good sign,you may loose the main plant, but the pup will take over. Good luck. Stan
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: slowly killing my banana tree :(

Poor thing........What a mess!!.................IF you have spider mites on it, this is (maybe) the biggest problem out of all you mention. CUT each and every leaf off the larger plant. Be sure to cut the petiole as close to the stalk as possible. Take a paper towel soaked with IVORY soap and water and get down into the space as close as possible to wipe out any remaining spider mites. IF you leave the newest leaf on and it is still in the process of unfurling, make sure to wring out your towel with the ivory soap down into the middle of it to kill any mites hiding down there. DO NOT keep it near any other indoor plants that may also be infested with mites. Either that, or cut the mother plant down to the soil line and toss it. Thats what I would do. If the 'worm' you found is a banana corm borer, well, chances are he has already eaten tunnels through your corm which cuts off any distribution of water, food, etc., to the plant. It will die no matter what if this is the case. Whichever you decide, remove it from its pot, take it outside and hose off ALL the potting medium from the corm and roots.
If you have a mold or, more likely, a fungus, you'll have to dip it in a fungicide. Repot it in PROFESSIONAL POTTING MIX, not earth or dirt. This you can purchase at most garden centers. It contains peat, perlite, etc. This will allow for good drainage, aeration to the roots, and will not cake up like cement as dirt and earth would do. When re-potting corms like this, water once thoroughly when you are finished potting, then water only when its almost completely dry. It is much better to have them on the dry side than to have the roots rot when its too wet, which they will do. If it were me, Id just take the safest and easiest route out. Throw away the mother and remove the small sucker and re-pot it in the mix above, treat all the leaves with the Ivory soap, and just to be on the safe side, dip it in a fungicide. Since its winter, and probably the worst time of year to be doing this, don't bother giving it any ferts or coffee grains, etc. Again, easy on the water, do NOT keep it continuously wet! Once it starts to establish itself and produces new leaves, (probably spring) then you can water with fertz or coffee or whatever you like!

I had another look at your photos, and ya know what? You COULD cut the mother plant down to the top of the corm, cut off all the roots, dip it in a fungicide, and then re-pot it separately in another pot. This way IF it wasnt damage due to a corm borer, and it starts to grow again, you'll have 2!

Last edited by varig8 : 12-06-2010 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: slowly killing my banana tree :(

Thanks for all the great suggestions! I gave her a good watering and wiped down the whole thing. I've been afraid of overwatering because everyone always talks about root rot, but I may have gone to far towards dry. I'm planning a trip to the hardware store to pick up some new potting soil so I can do a little replacement and get it cleaned up. Hopefully she'll start to perk up soon.


I just googled images of banana corm borers and the larvae look kinda like this bug!!! AHHH!! I wish I could get a better picture of it. I guess the best bet woud just be to sacrifice mama tree and try to save the baby?? What kind of fungicide would you recommend? would I dip the roots or the soil in it?

Last edited by annabanana : 12-06-2010 at 11:01 PM. Reason: more information
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: slowly killing my banana tree :(

Do you actually have spider mites on it or are you just treating it for spider mites with the soap spray? There's no reason to soap spray it if they don't actually exist on your plant. I mean it's not preventative or anything like that. What kind of proportions of soap spray did you use on your plant and what kind of soap? Soap applied improperly can be quite drying on the leaves.
As far as the bugs go, it kind of depends on what kind of bugs they are. Most of the bugs you find in a potted plant are usually not all that detrimental to the plants. Most of the bugs you find are eating roots that are rotted, dead etc. and are more of a symptom of a plant problem than causing the problem to start with. In other words, you overwater, some of the roots die, then the bugs come to eat the roots because they are bugs that feed on rotting material to start with. So no, the bugs aren't the cause most likely but they are a symptom and a clue as to what's going on with your plant.
The picture shows that the plant is very dry, and most likely underpotted. It does look like it could use a larger pot or to be kept a little moister. Rootbound plants need more water than plants that are potted correctly. If this was my plant, I'd probably just start watering slightly more with a diluted fertilizer every second or third watering, and make sure it's in a nice warm sunny place. I'd say to repot it too in a larger pot, but for now you probably should let that go and try just getting it in a little better condition. If you do decide to repot it right away, repot it, water it in thoroughly, and don't water it again until the soil is almost as dry as in the picture, even if it takes a week or two. Is it in a 4 or 6" pot? if so take it just up to a gallon sized pot and no bigger this time of year.
Whatever you do don't divide it. That will most likely kill it for sure. If the pup is going to take over then the mother plant will continue to decline and the pup will use it for energy to grow with.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: slowly killing my banana tree :(

Well, I see that you are planning a trip to the hardware store for some potting SOIL???????? No No NO.........PLEASE re-read my earlier post. Use Professional Potting MIX. IF you even suspect that it was a Corm Borer, chuck the whole plant and re pot the baby by itself. If it was a corm borer IT WILL DIE anyway. Inspect the little corm on the baby to make sure you do not see any little 'tunnels'. ANY plant fungicide will do to control that nasty fungus you have growing on those roots. Don't fertilize til spring, and dont OVER water during the winter. Water thoroughly ONCE after re potting. Then allow to dry out ALMOST completely. If you arent sure when to water, heres another tip; stick your finger all the way down into the potting mix. If its at all moist on the tip of your finger, then dont water. IF its dry, then water again. Soil and potting mix will dry out at the top first, appearing as though it is totally dry, when in actuality the mix around the roots is still wet or moist!
OK, Lets review, what are you going to do?;
#1. Hose off all that infected rotten dirt mix COMPLETELY.
#2. Cut the baby off of the mother corm and inspect for Corm Borer tunnels.
#3. THROW THAT ALMOST DEAD MOTHER PLANT AWAY
#4. Dip the baby plant in a fungicide-(follow the directions on the package)
#5. Repot the baby in your new PROFESSIONAL POTTING MIX
#6.Water thoroughly, provide as much sunlight and warmth as possible.

Last edited by varig8 : 12-15-2010 at 09:14 PM.
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