How to Cut Back Banana Plants
Being traditionally found in more tropical environments, banana plants often experience difficulties when cultivated in areas that are prone to colder temperatures or that suffer from intermittent freezes. The reason for this is the incredibly high moisture content in the stalks of the banana plants. The freezing-thawing cycle often will lead to rot and the subsequent decay and death of your banana plants. To prevent this, it is possible to cut back the banana plants and prepare them for the cold weather.
Put on coveralls and gloves. The sap from a banana plant will stain anything it contacts and is very resistant to being removed, so it is best to gear up with coveralls and gloves before beginning to cut back the banana plant.
Cut the trunk of the banana plant as close to the ground as possible. Cutting can be done with a hand saw for smaller stalks or with a chain saw for plants with wider base stalks. As always, proper precautions should be taken when felling the stalk of the banana plant.
Remove the fallen stalk and debris. Due to the high moisture content of the banana plant, the remnants of the felled plant will decay and decompose very quickly. It is best to remove them before this occurs.
Pack the stump of the banana plant with a thick layer of mulch. The mulch will help feed the banana plant over the winter months and will help to insulate it and protect it from the cold.
Cover the mulch and the banana plant stump with a loose-fitting plastic mesh. Though only necessary in areas that experience freezing conditions, covering the stump with a plastic mesh will help hold in the warmth and keep the banana plant from perishing.
Cut A Banana Tree Plant Back?
Banana plants grow from underground stems, which tend to spread and produce suckers. When the main banana stem reaches six to eight months old, let one sucker grow. The giant leaves of the banana tree are susceptible to wind damage. The leaves tend to catch the wind, but they shred along the midrib, which runs down the middle of the leaves. This is designed to prevent the plant from blowing over. Chop the trunk down to ground level and shred the stem. The plants survive temperatures down to 28 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods. The pseudostem requires cutting back to 2 feet tall once the tree is damaged by freezing weather. The giant leaves are piled over the stump and root ball for protection during the rest of the winter.