renewing banana 'grove'

godsdog(z10 LA ss22)May 2, 2008

about five years ago I planted a row of bananas.(they screen neighbors garage and 2 old cars - which are going to be repaired some day) they have done well, but now the new pups which I have allowed to mature have spead out in all direction, leaving the old stumps, and an empty space, in the center. Some stumps are decomposing and I am filling in the holes with soil. I would like visual effect to stay as a row of screening plants. I would like the pups to fill in the empty space but the plants aren't cooperating. I was thinking of transplanting a pup back into the center, but there is very little soil and I quickly run into viable root mass of the mother plant. Disrupting that doesn't seem like a good idea. Any hints on how to encourage new growth in the center?

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I think you need to reduce the mat (Grove). Yes, you probally could dig a few pups and place them into the center. I'm still a newbie so I would wait tell a oldhand answers this thread though.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 4:17PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

You probably don't want to hear this, but I don't think bananas are the best choice for a screen without putting in a LOT OF WORK to keep them managed. They are not like a tree or a shrub that stays in one place. They are really more like a perrenial, but the center always dies after flowering, and the pups always develop eccentric to the mother plant. Therefore you'll always get plants which develop in a greater and greater distance from the original plant. It can be very difficult to remove the center corm. They get almost woody -- almost like a humongus radish on steroids.

Your best bet is to remove as much of the old corms as you can and fill with soil, then replant pups.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 2:41PM
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nightrider767(San Antonio)

In very lose terms,,, bananas are bi-annuals that bloom after two years then die. After the plant fruits,,, that's about it, it's going to die.

I've found banana very easy to manage. Sure they grow quickly, but not that quickly. If an unwanted pups shoots up, dig it out when it is young.

Envision where you want them to grow and then make it happen. In your case, if you just want a screen with your neighbor, then let them fill it. Even in they get off center as the parents die, the new plants will grow quickly and fill in the space.

Now if it's a certain geometry you are looking for, them just simply dig out the pups, "new plants" as they emerge, leaving one healthy pup that is growing close to the parent to grow. After the main plant dies, this plant will be ready to step in and take it's place. This is the meathod used on plantations.

In your case I'd recomend digging up those old corms, add soil, place a healthy pup into it, move/give away other plants, and you should be right where you want to be.

One last note, there is, in general two kinds of pups. Keep in mind that the pups that grow close to the parent with narrow sword like leaves are the ones you want to keep to replace the parent. These sword pups will grow "true".

The other pups that have large leaves will be runty and unreliable.

Good luck

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 1:43AM
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godsdog(z10 LA ss22)

Thanks, I get the picture. I have a lot of work ahead of me.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 12:54PM
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nightrider767(San Antonio)

Sounds like you really have a lot of bananas. I've dug up plenty of bananas and the corms rarey get bigger than a basketball. They have big root systems but the roots are soft and will disapear once the corm has been removed/killed.

Don't be afraid to dig out a corm. It won't hurt the other plants in the bunch. Some may be actively feeding off of it, but they will adjust.

If I was in your shoes, I'd dig those corms up, cut them into peaces, replant the pieces for more plants.

But in the future, just lop off new pups as the begin to crowd the area and then let one grow to replace the main plant when it dies.

If you have too many plants,,, just let people know, lots of folks would love some free banana.

Either way, good luck with your banana patch.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 1:37AM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

I agree about lopping off the new pups. I have a mini-grove in a tight spot between my house foundation and my pond. When they spread too far, I take a big serrated kitchen knife and cut off the offending pups near the ground. They usually grow back, so you need to do this every few weeks when they are actively growing.

I used to feel obligated to dig them up and try to root them all and give them away, but I ran out of time and energy!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 9:26PM
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