Correct tools?

gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)July 20, 2006

What have you found to be the best tools to trim Banana fronds with? For dead, dry leaves, or narrow stems, I like Fiskars Scissors. But for wide, thick, juicy leafstems, that have bent downward, the scissors or garden pruners are too short.

Maybe my Bananas have a problem? They look very, very healthy to me, but the lower leaves eventually soften, get yellowish and flop to the ground, still attached to the pseudostem. At that point it detracts from the beauty of the plants.

I'm thinking a super-sharp knife or machete?

I can take photos of the backside of "Fruit Tree Hill" where I'd like to neaten up the "Nanas" if anyone does not understand my poor description.

How do you keep your Banana trees groomed?

Lisa

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microfarmer(z9 Sac-o-tomato)

I use a reagular 'ol boxcutter for mine but they are still small...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 7:42PM
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pitangadiego(San Diego, CA)

Chainsaw ought to handle it, but I just use a pair of scissors. It is is too thick, I just stab in the middle and cut half at a time.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 11:06PM
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dirt_dew(z9 az)

Lisa-
As new leaves grow the old ones fade and yellow. You may have as many as 14 green leaves or maybe much less. Never cut them when they still have green. When they are yellow and just hanging, cut them for mulch/compost.
I have a large folding(pocket) knife and a machete. I use a crosscut bow saw and a telescoping pole pruner, with saw attached, most often when cutting the juicy parts. Use VERY light pressure on the saw and it will slice right through with out drag or snag.
The saws are great for cutting the pseudostem after fruiting.
When the leaf stem is thin and dry and falling away from the pseudostem, Fiskars grass trimmer works good for me.
Your description is fine. Send beore and after pictures!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 2:03AM
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jetstream(Z9b)

I use a serrated kithen knife...about a 12 inch blade, attached to a telescoping pool brush handle that you can get at the depot. Works great and not too heavy. A machete works fine for the lower leaves and the trunks...Z

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 10:58AM
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floridaking

Using a serrated blade will cut through the leaves easier. Cutting them shortly after they are yellow is the easiest. It also keeps the "clean" look abot them.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 12:20PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

Thank you all for your helpful suggestions!

I like the serrated kitchen knife the best. It is big enough to cut even the widest leaf base, but small enough to get into tight areas. Much better than the scissors I was using! I bet an old fashioned straight razor would work too.

Lisa

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 1:13PM
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sfhellwig(6a SE Kansas)

Culinary scissors. Comes with most good knife block sets and works well for opening anything!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 2:38PM
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laterita(7b Holland (dr))

I use a salmon-filleting nife. Its long and very sharp and easier to handle than a machete.
Simon

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 4:55AM
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momo1(z10)

I use a machete that I sharpen with a medium flat metal file. It leaves enough serration on the edge that you can use it like a serrated knife or chop with it. For the leaves that are really high up
I found an old small sickle and sharpened it the same way, then attached it to a long wooden pole. I lay the sickle on top of the yellow stem where it attaches to the p-stem and pull down. The curve of the blade acts like a knife slicing right through! I put a link to a picture of sickle similar to the one I use.

Here is a link that might be useful: sickle

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 7:10PM
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mrbungalow(Z8, SW-Norway)

I bite them off! Arrggg

No, actually I use the biggest meat-knife I have in the kitchen. As long as it's sharp, it does the job.

I would imagine the ideal tool would be a japaneese ninja sword. Leaves a very clean cut. But then you have to make sure your neighbour is not standing next to the fence peeking over. Or you might get some very rich compost.

Erlend

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 10:01AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Do banana trees need to be groomed that much? Do the hanging leaves help protect the trunk from drying out in the wind? Bananas like mulch, maybe they are trying to make more for themselves?

Sometimes I'll cut off a few leaves. If they are green leaves, a flick with a sharp machete will take them off. Otherwise, I use sharp loppers or sharp pruning shears. Usually whatever is handy. Most any sharp tool will work well. Then most times the leaves are put at the base of the stem to provide mulch but our garden isn't very groomed at all.

I don't think which tool it is matters as much as the sharpness of the tool you use. I have a grinding wheel as well as several sharpening stones and sharpen all my garden tools. Shovel edges, hoes, machetes, scythes, sickels, shears, loppers - they all get sharpened.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 1:23AM
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socalboo

8" japanese small tooth pruning saw. has threads in handle for extension pole. works like a charm on leaves that aren't totally dessicated. for those, I just use a pair of old poultry shears.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 10:04AM
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momo1(z10)

"Do banana trees need to be groomed that much? Do the hanging leaves help protect the trunk from drying out in the wind? Bananas like mulch, maybe they are trying to make more for themselves?"

Any part of the p-stem that is green is still photosynthesizing so I believe it helps to remove any old hanging leaves that are block the sun from getting to the p-stem. I also like to keep my Banana plants looking nice so any yellow leaves or broken leaves get cut off, chopped up and left around the base of the plants where I throw some manure on top to help the decomposing process. They seem to really like it because I find lots of small feeder roots in the layer of decomposing matter. I also find lots of red worms in the layer helping to break it down too!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 11:42AM
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