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Banana Plant Soil, Additives, and Fertilizer This forum is an area where you may discuss the soil to grow banana plants in, as well as soil additives such as teas, composts, manures, fertilizers and related topics.


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Old 05-15-2011, 12:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wink Good Fert

Hey so I want to get a new fertilizer and I'm not in the mood to order online. So does anyone know a good brand/formulation of fertilizer naners like that you can buy locally(nothing really uncommon). I was thinking of picking up some fish fertilizer and seaweed fertilizer because its organic but im not sure. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Fert

Fish emulsion is a great fert to use. Musa are high potassium feeders. Throw all your banana skins around the base of your P-stems. Older mature trees that have already bloomed should be allowed to stand in place until they have 'shrunk' back into the ground- all of its stored energy will return back into the mat! Any cut leaves or discarded parts of the plant can be used as a mulch or mixed back into the ground around the base of the P-stem also.
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Old 05-15-2011, 06:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Question Re: Good Fert

Wouldn't leaving old plant cuttings around the mat for fert. encourage disease say after periods of rain coupled & humidity? I've read that the surounding area should be kept clean especially from around the 12" dia from the base of the stem I used to put old cut stem down around the plants but after rain and humid conditions the leaves can easily pick up a sort of mould that spreads in these wet humid conditions ???There seems to be 2 theories about this.
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Old 05-15-2011, 06:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Fert

Fish Fertilizer is a good source of nitrogen. Seaweed extract is a hormone and not a fertilizer. If you are growing bananas for fruit, you'll need a significant source of potash, such as Sul-Po-Mag. Don't use muriate of potash, it is a significant source of chlorine which will harm your plants in the long run. Banana peels are impractical as a fertilizer, you'll need about 3,000 per per plant per year. See this prior thread for more details: Banana Peels.
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Old 05-15-2011, 06:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Fert

I would suppose that it would depend on your particular area where you are growing them. If it is continuously wet and high humidity and no breeze or wind, or inside a green house, you might have a problem with this. I keep mulch around all my plants including the bananas. I keep all the plant cuttings and trimmings in a big pile and return them to the earth around the trees digging into the earth. Mine are all outside in full Florida sun and sometimes it rains daily and in the summer no matter what it is ALWAYS humid. Ive never had any of these problems. I just read thru 'The Complete Book Of Bananas" by W.O.Lessard as I remember him mentioning something about this. He says once the tree is done fruiting, chop it up and spread it through out the mat. He also mentions this about fertilizing, etc. The use of mulch, manures and any type of organic fertilizers is recommended forhelping your banana to produce the most fruit possible. He recommends a fert of 9-3-27 as ideal. About a half a lb. per month for a tree 3'-4' tall with 6 leaves. Taller more mature trees, up to 2 lbs a month, and always to be kept moist. Sounds like a lot to me, but thats what it states in the book. The use of this discarded banana tree material may seem insignificant, but it is organic material and contains useful organics for the new trees in the mat. As Mr. Lessard also states "anything is better than nothing and this practice wont hurt!"
Personally I just plant mine in amended good organic soil and have never used anything but Fish Emulsion twice a year on any of my plants. And as I said, I ALWAYS keep the dead/dying material and grind it up in the soil, and have about 2+" of organic mulch on top of the soil everywhere I have my planted material. I suppose it is inevitable that no matter the subject you are bound to find conflicting opinions. I always tend to think back to "how does this plant grow in nature?" Ive been in lots of tropical areas in the world where bananas are growing wild in the rain forests. Guess what? Ive even seen them growing right in the middle of freshwater streams on the side of mountains! and I didnt notice any fungal or bacterial problems with them! LOL

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Old 05-15-2011, 07:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Fert

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Originally Posted by varig8 View Post
... I always tend to think back to "how does this plant grow in nature?" ...
It doesn't. The human-made fruiting banana hybrids we grow do not occur in the wild.

However, we do know from biological studies that fruiting Musa have the capacity for 1 net pound of Nitrogen and 1.5 net pounds of Potash per year, and the necessity for a wide range of minor- and micro-nutrients. Notice that the N-P-K's of 6-2-12 and 9-3-27 are unbalanced with respect to the 2:3 nitrogen-to-potash ratio desired by bananas (and a wide range of other fruiting plants). However, in mid- to south-Florida, you are in a near-tropic climate with plenty of available nitrogen in the environment. Consequently, your main concern is potash. To determine the maximum potash input from 6-2-12, simply divide 1.5 pounds by 12%, (1.5 / 0.12) to obtain 12.5 lbs. As always, it is a good idea to get a mineral analysis of your soil so that you know what you're starting with.
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Old 05-15-2011, 08:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Fert

Well, I do know enough about plants that there isnt much difference between Wild type bananas and hybridized banana plants, they are after all still Musa and have basically the same care as any of the regular varieties grown in the average landscape. I figure if it isnt broken, why fix it? Ive been growing Musa in Florida for the past 15 yrs and in the Caribbean for the prior 15. Have grown lots of the 'wild' types Ive collected in forests and islands, and pretty much close to all the available varieties commercially. Probably have one of the largest collections of variegated varieties too. I DO not grow commercially for fruit production, so I recognize there is a huge difference if that is your goal. Big farms will feed tons of chemical ferts to get a high yield. For the typical backyard collector, you can well get away without any fertilizers ever if planted in a a soil that isnt unusually deficient in some way. It sounded to me like you were originally interested in something organic vs. chemical.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Fert

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It sounded to me like you were originally interested in something organic vs. chemical.
If so, then Fish Emulsion plus Sul-Po-Mag is one way to achieve the 2:3 ratio and qualify for certified organic. Both are widely available -- probably at a nursery in your area. For Fish Emulsion products that are 5% Nitrogen (e.g., 5-1-1) use 3/4 cup Sul-Po-Mag for every 3 cups Fish Emulsion. Consider this dosage a maximum per plant per month for non-juvenile plants (base diameter greater than 1 inch).
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If so, then Fish Emulsion plus Sul-Po-Mag is one way to achieve the 2:3 ratio and qualify for certified organic. Both are widely available -- probably at a nursery in your area. For Fish Emulsion products that are 5% Nitrogen (e.g., 5-1-1) use 3/4 cup Sul-Po-Mag for every 3 cups Fish Emulsion. Consider this dosage a maximum per plant per month for non-juvenile plants (base diameter greater than 1 inch).
When you say maximum per plant per month do you mean that whole amount at once or spread out throughout the month?
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Fert

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Originally Posted by imclueless17 View Post
When you say maximum per plant per month do you mean that whole amount at once or spread out throughout the month?
All at once. After the plant uptakes the nutrients, it will take about 3 weeks for it to process them.
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