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My Banana Leaves Are Brown & Wilting

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The banana plant claims membership in the Musaceae family and is native to southeast Asia. Several afflictions can bring on a browning and wilting of the leaves of this otherwise vigorously-growing, herbaceous plant.

Banana Wilt

Banana wilt, also called Panama disease, is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense. It forces banana leaves to turn yellow at the base, before moving into the margins and then the center. The leaf then turns a brown or bronze color and begins to droop or wilt.

Yellow Sigatoka

The banana leaf spot disease known as yellow Sigatoka also results in leaves of the plant developing extreme browning due to another fungus, Mycosphaerella musicola. It begins with tiny, yellow flecks that morph into larger, yellow streaks and eventually dark, brown lesions that cover the entire banana leaf.

  • The banana plant claims membership in the Musaceae family and is native to southeast Asia.
  • The banana leaf spot disease known as yellow Sigatoka also results in leaves of the plant developing extreme browning due to another fungus, Mycosphaerella musicola.

Environment

Fungal disease in bananas is more likely a concern on commercial farms than in home gardens. Small growers may see their banana leaves turn brown or be otherwise damaged due to environmental conditions. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences indicates that temperatures above 98 F, extreme wind and drought conditions all result in the browning of banana leaves.

Trim Banana Leaves

Set up a ladder beside your banana tree so you can reach the uppermost leaves. Scan the leaves carefully to identify which leaves require trimming. Look for any discoloration that indicates diseased or dying leaves. Healthy banana leaves are bright green, while dead leaves are brown. Use your hands to isolate the leaf you want to trim off. When cutting particularly thick leaves, make two notches: one at the top and one at the bottom.

  • Fungal disease in bananas is more likely a concern on commercial farms than in home gardens.
  • The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences indicates that temperatures above 98 F, extreme wind and drought conditions all result in the browning of banana leaves.
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