View Full Version : Please help me? I've no idea what to do with my Banana tree
31-10-2006, 09:36 AM
My name is Vanessa, I'm currently staying at my single Mother's house.. We are both green-thumb-less if you no what I mean...
I was hoping someone had the time to explain STEP-BY-STEP, as you would a child on how to "Everything/Anything About A Banana Tree".
My mother has a lovely garden in the inner-west of Sydney, she also gets a gardener (I must say she's had quite a few come and go) but they all seem to be in such a hurry to go that nothing ever gets done properly (please forgive me for rambling). It's just, we have this beautiful banana tree which has a thick stem (remembering I truly have no idea of the correct "garden terms") coming out of a bunch of large leaves... this stem ends with an oval shapped bunch of deep purple leaves. In the middle of the thick stem there is a bunch of about 30 (approx) green bananas (slightly smaller than sugar bananas). My questions are, do I get up on a ladder and cut this stem? If so.. where do I cut it and with what tool/s? Do I do this now while the bananas a green or..... How do I know when they should be taken of the tree? I'm so sorry for being so childish about this, believe it or not, I'm 27 years old and really don't know a thing about gardening/pruning. On that note - does anyone know of a really good (not expensive) gardener that would come to the inner-west of sydney?? Because we have so many beautiful plants and trees that need professional and loving care.. Or perhaps someone out there knows someone who could teach me what to do???
I'd appreciate any or wishfully all of my questions answered, it would be such a shame to let this garden die away slowly.
Many many thanks to those who have taken the time to read this and especially to those who have sent me a few tips.
I hope my naievty hasn't offended anyone
Richard on Maui
31-10-2006, 10:08 AM
You know what they say Vanessa, there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Something like that. :)
Here's my stupid answer.
By the way, stem is the correct terminology I believe. :wink:
In Sydney, unless you have rogue fruitbats you can probably wait until the banana's start to go yellow before harvesting. The regular tool for harvesting bananas would be a machete, but anything sharp that will work is fine. If you can reach the bunch, go ahead and cut the bunch off. It will be pretty heavy though, so you might want to have a helper to make sure you don't drop your precious load.
If the plant is too tall, you can cut the whole stem down; cut out a wedge in the trunk about halfway up on the side that you want it to fall. If you can do this in such a way that the trunk falls over gradually, gently, all the better to not have the bunch crash into the ground and disintegrate. Perhaps start off with a small wedge. Depending on a number of variables, you might have to give it a good back cut to get it to fall all the way over. Once you have the bunch cut off, you can go wild with your machete chopping up the stem and using it to mulch the remainder of the clump.
Oh yeah, make sure you wear clothes that don't mind getting stained, because the banana sap will ruin your clothes. :D
31-10-2006, 10:48 AM
Wait until almost all the leaves are dead, then you know the fruit is full grown, then chop the stem (and, Richard, technically its called a pseudo-stem, and please don't ask me why, because I forgot! hahaha), but cut it only slightly, making slashing movements so that the weight of the fruit weighs the stem over and the fruit comes down to where you can grab the bunch of bananas slowly, and then chop the bunch off of the stem.
The Bruce Lee "So-I-hear-your-kung-fu-is-pretty-good" technique is certainly very satisfying, but... it often leads to damaged bunches.
Follow this up with a good chopping of stem on the ground, but try leaving 3 feet sticking up (the moisture in the stem helps the "pups"), and lay the stem pieces down in a pile to be mulch.
As Richard says: no stupid questions! I'm from NYC originally, and didn't know anything about bananas when i came here.
31-10-2006, 01:48 PM
Hey thanks so much guys, I'm very grateful for your replies. I will certainly take your advice.. I'm going to wait til the fruit ripens and the leaves start to die as you suggested.
I'll keep you both posted and thank you for making me feel welcome to this site and understanding my ignorance.
12-11-2006, 09:57 AM
Yes Vanessa... Dont go Bananas with your bananas.
Good luck finding a caring gardener for your place....Might be a cse of loving it by yourself
you could try a guy named Andrew at Rast Bros nursery in turramurra. 9144 2134. There is more than one Andrew, so ask to speak to the older one. He is quiting his job there this week but you'll be able to contact him through this nursery if you call after he has left.
really knowledgable, reliable gardener, knows his permaculture, lives in the inner west. About $ i don't know how much he would charge, would probably depend on the work he was asked to do.
he's taking the step of starting his own business so giving him a plug on here is the least i can do to help him out.
my name is nick by the way.
18-11-2006, 01:01 PM
Hey thanks guys,
I'm not always on the net so I just got your msg (Nick) about Andrew, I had a feeling I'd miss him on the number you so kindly posted... called the nursery today and yes he has already left.
If you have a mobile number I could reach him on, please send it my way.
Other than that, I was checking out my banana tree and to my suprise I found another much larger bunch of bananas hiding on top of the house gutter. Half of those bananas were yellow and much bigger than the original bunch I described in my first post. I don't live at my Mothers but whenever I am there I am sure to keep an eye on my "banana project" - thanks to the help of my permaculture friends. Anyway - it's the most difficult place to get to via a ladder but I persisted and managed to somehow lift the heavy bunch from the gutter and let it hang from the tree as it should. Goodness I hope I'm making sense! The sad part of my little story, is that you can only imagine the state of this bunch (and the end part with the dark purple leaves).... It wasn't a pleasent experience for a green-thumb-less girl I might add. There were lots of bugs - the bunch of "what was left" of the purple bit was quite damp and there were many "bits of white pus" on the end stem and in between of some of the green and yellow bananas. Because of my horror.. I left the bunch there and thought to myself "tomorrow's another day". Forgive me, but I needed a day to recuperate.. and hope that most of the insects would find another place of rest or at least settle from "their big move".
Yes I do like to ramble...
Ok - so the next day or two when I was at mums again, i checked my project, it wasn't what I hoped for - but I persevered, up on my little ladder and dangerously tried to save one of the most healthy looking yellow ones I could find - and guess what?? - I ate it! My first banana from our banana tree - it was great!
Unfortunately I've not been to mums for almost a week and the weather has been cold and wet so I must admit how scared I am of what's left of it!
Just to note - the original bunch I first told you about on my very first post is still "neat and tidy" and green.
I hope my little story didn't bore you. Thanks for reading
Richard on Maui
18-11-2006, 01:35 PM
18-11-2006, 02:01 PM
Vanessa, do you know that baby banana trees start up beside the older banana tree? Its been yrs since I had anything to do with banana trees and my memory isn't very good about it, so hoping someone else will fill you in. Just a couple of the earlier posts seemed to be indicating cutting the whole tree, apart from 3 feet or so (if I read them correctly) and as you said that you really knew nothing about banana trees, I was wondering if you needed a bit of filling in on the whole banana tree life cycle thing.
Not something I can do, but many others here who will be able to explain it all.
You may already know about this, but wanted to bring it up just in case.
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