Nutrients play a signiﬁcant role in production of high yield of good quality fruits. Providing appropriate quantities of nutrients in the right proportion when needed most is the essence of management of nutrients in successful banana cultivation.
Inspite of feeding the banana plants with recommended quantity of major and micro nutrients either through soil by mineral, organic and biological means or by foliar application, the uptake and utilization of nutrients by banana plants is in adequate resulting in poor growth of the bunch and ﬁngers of the banana hands in the bunch.
Particularly the fingers at the distal end of the bunch remain poorly developed owing to an adverse competition of the top hands with those located at the lower end of the bunch. This reduces both the total weight as well asits overall appearance leading to a lower proﬁtability. This has been a major constraint faced by the banana growers irrespective of the variety of banana grown.
The Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore located at Hessaraghatta has been conducting research to address this issue since past several years and has developed a simple, easy and cost-effective technology to address this problem. The technology enhances the size of the ﬁngers in the entire bunch and especially those of the lower or the distal end of banana bunch.
As a result of this improvement, the suitability of the fruits to the market requirements is greatly enhanced. This is achieved by de—navelling (removal of the male bud after fruit set) and post-shooting direct feeding of nutrients through the excised distal stalk/rachis end of banana bunch.
De—navelling saves the unwanted mobilization of nutrients and energy to the redundant male bud and facilitates direct intake of nutrients by the young bunch,being the most active part of plant during development of the bunch. The removed male bud can fetch additional income to the grower as a vegetable.The technique in this is simple and easy. Immediately after the fruit set or bunch formation and shedding of 7 — 8 ﬂower petals.(spathes), the male bud is denavelled at the stalk end of the bunch by cutting with a sharp knife at 60° angle in such a way that about 15 cm longrachis / stalk-end is available after the last hand of the bunch.
For application to Robusta banana bunch, slurry of the cow dung is prepared by blending 7.5g of urea and 7.5g of sulphate of potash dissolved in 100ml of water in 500g of fresh cow dung. This slurry is placed in an used one liter capacity plastic milk bag or 200 guage 15cm x 25cm plastic bag and tying the bag with a strong thread such that about 8 — 10cm of the distal end of the rachis is immersed in the slurry and the remaining 8 — 100m of the rachis is visible above the tied portion