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BANANA (Musa spp.)



 Banana prefers tropical humid lowlands and is grown from the sea level to 1000 m above MSL. It can also be grown at elevations up to 1200 m, but at higher elevations growth is poor. Optimum temperature is 27ºC. Soils with good fertility and assured supply of moisture are best suited.

Rain fed crop: April-May
Irrigated crop: August-September

Adjust planting season depending upon local conditions. Avoid periods of heavy monsoon and severe summer for planting. Adjust the time of planting so as to avoid high temperature and drought at the time of emergence of bunches (7-8 months after planting).



Selection of suckers
Select 3-4 month old disease free sword suckers from healthy clumps. In the case of Nendran variety, cut back pseudostem to a length of 15-20 cm from corm and remove old roots. The rhizomes are to be smeared with cowdung solution and ash and dried in the sun for about 3-4 days and stored in shade up to 15 days before planting.


Nendran (Clones): Nedunendran, Zanzibar, Chengalikodan

Table varieties: Monsmarie, Robusta, Giant Governor, Dwarf Cavendish, Chenkadali, Poovan, Palayankodan, Njalipoovan, Amritsagar, Grosmichael, Karpooravally, Poomkalli, Koompillakannan, Chinali Dudhsagar), BRS-1 and BRS-2

Culinary varieties: Monthan, Batheesa, Kanchekela, Nendrapadathy

Njalipoovan, Robusta, BRS-1 and BRS-2 are particularly suitable for intercropping in coconut gardens both under rainfed and irrigated conditions Dudhsagar is highly resistant to major pests and diseases. The variety Boldles Altafort is recommended for high range region (ad hoc).




Preparation of land
Prepare the field by ploughing or digging and dig pits for planting. Size of pits depends upon soil type, water table and variety. In general, pit size of 50 x 50 x 50 cm is recommended. In low-lying areas, take mounds for planting suckers.

Spacing may be provided as indicated below:

Spacing, m
2.1 x 2.1
2.1 x 2.1
2.1 x 2.1
2.1 x 2.1
2.0 x 2.0
2.4 x 2.4
Robusta, Monsmarie,Dwarf Cavandish
2.4 x 1.8

Plant suckers upright in the centre of pits with 5 cm pseudostem remaining above soil level. Press soil around the sucker to avoid hollow air spaces.

Remove side suckers produced till the emergence of bunch. Retain one or two suckers produced after the emergence of bunch.

Intercropping in Nendran variety
Cucumber and amaranth can be cultivated profitably with banana raised in September-October without affecting the bunch weight. For vegetable purpose, cucumber may be harvested within 95 days and for seed purpose the duration may be about 130 days. Greater yam and elephant foot yam can be profitably intercropped with Nendran.

Tissue culture Nendran banana (Ad hoc recommendation)
Tissue culture offers a rapid method of multiplication of quality, uniform, pest and disease free production of planting materials in large quantities in banana. The productivity of banana can be increased by cultivation of tissue culture plants of selected elite ecotypes of different varieties.

Give spacing of 2 m x 2 m (2500 plants/ha)
Tissue culture plants can also be used for high density planting in Nendran banana to achieve higher returns. The spacing recommended for high density planting is as follows:
(a) 2 m x 3 m with two plants / pit (3332 plants in 1666 pits per ha)
(b) 1.75 m x 1.75 m with one plant per pit (3265 plants / ha)

Pit size
50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm

Method of planting
Prepare pits 15 days in advance of planting. Fill the pits with topsoil and FYM 15-20 kg per plant per pit. Plant the tissue culture plants on the top of the pit at ground level. Remove the polythene cover completely before planting without damaging the roots. Planting may be done preferably during evening hours. Provide partial shade to plants to protect against sun scorching for about two weeks. Irrigate the crop daily during initial days of establishment.

Plant Protection
Apply carbofuran 30 g/plant at planting, 15 g each at 60 and 90 days after planting.
Adopt integrated plant protection measures to control major pests and diseases.

Manures and Fertilizers
Apply FYM @ 15-20 kg per plant at the time of land preparation.
Apply lime 1 kg/plant with the organic manure at the time of land preparation.
Apply N:P2O5:K2O @ 300:115:450 g/plant in six split doses as shown below.

Time of application



1 month after planting
2 months after planting
3 months after planting
4 months after planting
5 months after planting
7th month (i.e. after bunch emergence)



1. During summer months, irrigate once in three days.
2. Ensure good drainage and prevent waterlogging.
3. About 6-10 irrigations per crop may be given depending upon soil conditions.
4. Banana var. Nendran (October planting) grown under deep water table conditions (below 2 m from ground level) needs 10 mm (40 l/plant) irrigation once in two days during summer season to ensure higher bunch yield and better water use efficiency. Mulching the basin with 3.5 kg paddy straw (waste quality) will considerably improve the bunch yield





1. Apply compost, cattle manure or green leaves at the rate of 10 kg/plant at the time of planting.
2. Apply N:P2O5:K2O at the following dose (g/plant/year).
Nendran (irrigated): 190:115:300
Other varieties depending upon soil fertility level: 60-200 : 160-200 : 320-400
Palayankodan (rainfed): 100:200:400
Palayankodan (reclaimed alluvial soils of Kuttanad)Plant crop: 100:200:400First ratoon: 150:200:800Second ratoon: 150:200:800
Plant crop followed by two ratoon crops gives maximum yield. Two suckers per clump should be retained for ratooning.

Apply the fertilizer 60-75 cm around the plant in two equal split doses; the first, two months after planting and the second, four months after planting. For ratoon crop, the entire fertilizers have to be applied in a single dose immediately after the harvest of the preceding crop. Irrigate immediately after manuring.

Note: For Nendran, apply the fertilizers in six split doses as detailed below which will be beneficial to improve the finger size and bunch weight, provided the farmers can afford the cost of application.

Time of fertilizer application



One month after planting
Two months after planting
Three months after planting
Four months after planting
Five months after planting
Just after complete emergence of bunch

For Palayankodan (rainfed), planting may be done in January and the suckers may be given pot irrigation @ nine litres of water once in 15 days until April-May.

After planting banana, sow sunn hemp / daincha / cowpea adopting a seed rate of 50 kg/ha. Incorporate the crop into the soil 40 days after sowing. Repeat sowing of green manure crop and incorporate into soil 40 days after sowing.


During early stages, complete control of weeds could be obtained by raising cowpea in the interspaces. In gardens where this is not possible, pre-emergence application of diuron 1.5 kg/ha or oxyfluorfen 0.2 kg/ha is effective. Weeds emerging later could be controlled by the application of paraquat 0.4 kg/ha or glyphosate 0.4 kg/ha. If hand weeding is resorted to, give 4-5 surface diggings depending on weed growth. Avoid deep digging. Do not disturb soil after plants start producing bunches. If green manure crop is grown, weeding operations can be reduced to 1-2 diggings.


Banana pseudostem weevil (Odoiporus longicollis) (ad hoc recommendation)
The weevil resembling the rhizome weevil of banana is becoming a serious pest in recent years. Adult female weevil punctures and inserts eggs into the pseudostem. Grubs emerging out feed extensively on the pseudostem and thereby the entire plant collapses.


1. Field sanitation is the most important factor in the prophylactic and curative control of this pest.
2. Remove affected plants along with the rhizome in full and destroy them by burning the life stages of the insect using kerosene or by burying the material in deep pits in soil.
3. Destroy the parts of rhizome and pseudostem of harvested plants in the field and destroy them as described above.
4. Remove the dry outer sheaths of the pseudostem of all infested and un-infested plants in the endemic areas and spray any of the recommended insecticides. Drenching all the leaf axils, rhizome and surrounding soil and all round the entire pseudostem inserting the nozzle through the bore holes made by the larvae if any and also within the outer sheathes by slightly raising the same at different spots is also effective. Apply quinalphos 0.05% or chlorpyrifos 0.03% or carbaryl 0.2%. Repeat the treatment after 3 weeks if the infestation persists.

Banana rhizome weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) (ad hoc recommendation)
The attack by this pest is reported to be serious in all localities where banana is cultivated. Female adults puncture healthy rhizomes and insert eggs through it. Grubs tunnel within and feed resulting in the stunting of rhizome development. If the infestation occurs on a mature rhizome, damage symptoms appear through the reduction in leaf number, bunch size and the fruit number.
1. Adopt strict field sanitation.
2. Select only healthy planting material.
3. Deep plough the land so as to expose the inner soil layer to sun.
4. Cut and remove the outer layer of the rhizome and sundry for 3-4 days after smearing it with slurry of cowdung and ash.
5. Set traps using pseudostem of approximately 1/2 m length, which are split lengthwise and laid in the field. Adults attracted to it during nights may be collected and destroyed.

Aphid (Pentalonia nigronervosa)
These act as vector for the transmission of the dreadful bunchy top disease in banana.


1. Apply 25 g phorate 10G or 20 g carbofuran 3G 20 days after planting around the rhizomes in soil.
2. Apply 12.5 g phorate 10G or 10 g carbofuran 3G per plant in the leaf axils or 25 g phorate or 20 g carbofuran per plant in the soil 75 days after planting. This may be repeated 165 days after planting.
3. For variety Chenkadali, apply 25 g phorate 10G or 20 g carbofuran 3G per plant as soil application, first at 20 days after planting and again at 95 and 165 days after planting.

Spindle leaf miner (Assuania sp.)
Spray dimethoate 0.05% on the spindle for controlling the leaf miner.

Major species are burrowing nematode (Radopholus sp.), root knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita), root lesion nematode (Pratylenchus coffeae) and cyst nematode (Heterodera oryzicola).

In case of severe infestation there will be high reduction in the number of leaves, total bunch weight and the number of fruits.


Pare the rhizomes and apply neem cake @ 1 kg/plant and carbofuran @ 0.5 g ai/plant at the time of the planting (ad hoc recommendation).

When granules are applied around the base of plants, there should be sufficient soil moisture; otherwise, the plants should be watered after broadcasting granular insecticides.



Bunchy top disease
This is a virus disease transmitted by aphids.


1. Use insecticidal treatments recommended for insect vector control.
2. Eradicate disease affected plants.
3. Use disease free suckers for planting. Karpooravally, Kanchikela, Njalipoovan and Koompillakannan are less susceptible varieties.

Panama wilt (banana wilt) (Fusarium oxysporum f. cubense)
1. Dip suckers of susceptible varieties in 0.1-0.2% carbendazim solution to prevent spread of the disease.
2. Drench the soil around affected clumps with 0.2% carbendazim solution to prevent spread of disease.
3. Remove and destroy affected clumps along with corms.
4. Apply lime @ 1 kg/pit and allow to weather. Varieties such as Palayankodan, Robusta and Nendran are resistant to the disease.

Sigatoka leaf spot (Mycosphaerella sp.)
1. Cut and burn all severely affected leaves.
2. Spray 1% Bordeaux mixture soon after the appearance of the initial symptoms of the disease. The disease appears with the commencement of southwest monsoon. Five to six sprayings at fortnightly intervals are to be given depending upon the severity of the disease.
3. Power oil (mineral oil) 1% emulsion is also effective in controlling the disease.
4. Spray carbendazim (0.1%) or give alternate sprays of tridemorph (0.05%), mancozeb (0.2 %) and carbendazim (0.1%) soon after the appearance of initial symptoms of the disease. Three to four sprayings at fortnightly intervals are to be given depending on the severity of disease.

Kokkan disease (Banana bract mosaic virus)
Kokkan disease was first reported from Thrissur district in the variety Nendran. Later on, the disease was found to affect other varieties like Palayankodan, Kodappanillakunnan, Monthan, Kanchikela, Poovan (Rasthali), Karpooravally and Chenkadali. Nendran is the highly susceptible variety.

During the young stage of Nendran banana plant (two months old), pinkish streaks can be seen on the pseudostem. All the kokkan affected plants need not show this symptom, but once this symptom is expressed there is no doubt that the particular plant is affected with kokkan disease. Necrotic streaks are another important symptom of the disease. The necrotic streaks are initially brown, which later turn black. It occurs on all aerial parts of the affected plant except on lamina, the length being a few mm to 10 cm. All the kokkan-affected plants will exhibit the necrotic streaks from third month onwards at one stage or other. Some of the affected plants retain the necrotic streaks throughout the growth period. In certain cases it disappears with the senescence of the affected portion.

The affected plant produces only a small bunch. The fingers are small, curved and widely divergent with pale green to ashy green colour as compared to healthy. The abnormal colour and reduction in the size of the bunch depend upon the severity of the disease.

Suckers should not be taken from affected plants, which show necrotic streaks or abnormal colour of the pseudostem.
When the young plants show the symptom of pinkish streaks, they should be uprooted and destroyed.

Infectious chlorosis (Cucumber mosaic virus disease)
The disease is noticed in varieties such as Nendran, Palayankodan, Karpooravally, Kosthabontha, Peykunnan, Bhimkhel, Mottapoovan, Dakshinsagar, Madhuraga (Rasthali) and Musa ornata.

The most characteristic symptoms are the loss of leaf colour in patches; appearance of parallel chlorotic streaks on the younger leaves, giving a striped appearance on the leaves. As the disease progresses, leaves emerge distorted, margins become irregularly wavy, often with blotches of necrotic tissues and the leaf lamina is reduced in width. In severe cases, rotted areas are found throughout the leaf sheath and pseudostem. The affected plants produce only small bunches. This is a virus disease transmitted by aphids.

1. Use disease free suckers for planting.
2. Eradicate disease affected plants.
3. Use insecticides recommended for insect vector control.
4. Avoid growing leguminous and cucurbitaceous vegetables as intercrop in banana.






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