Image of banana trees and their fruit with information on leaves, flowers, and diseases symptom.

How To Treat Banana Tree Diseases: A Comprehensive Guide

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Introduction:

Banana trees, known for their delicious and nutritious fruit, are widely cultivated across the globe. However, like any other plant, they are vulnerable to diseases caused by factors such as insects, fungi, and nematodes. This article will delve into some of the most common banana tree diseases and provide insights on identifying, preventing, and treating them using integrated pest management techniques. Whether you are a seasoned farmer or a passionate home gardener, this guide will equip you with valuable knowledge to protect your banana trees and ensure a bountiful harvest.

You Can Read: Common Cabbage Diseases And How To Treat Them?

Overview of Banana Plant:

Before delving into banana tree diseases, let’s take a quick look at the fascinating structure of the banana plant. This large, flowering herb grows from a ” corm ” structure and boasts an astonishing growth rate of up to 1.6 square meters daily. Its leaves consist of a stalk and blade, with the base of the stem widening to form a sheath. The plant produces a single flower spike known as the “banana heart,” containing many bracts and rows of flowers. While female flowers develop into fruit, they are located higher up the stem than male flowers.

The banana fruit grows in large hanging clusters, with each tier containing up to 20 fruits. The fruit comprises a peel, strings, and an inner portion. In cultivated varieties, seeds are minimal and almost non-existent. The opposite end of the fruit from the stem contains a tiny remnant tip.

1. Banana Rot Disease. (Fig-1)

Banana rot disease, a significant post-harvest issue, causes discoloration and decay of the fruit’s tissue. It typically originates at the point where the hand of the banana separates from the stem, particularly near the crescent-shaped crown.

black spots on the Banana it is Rot Disease symptoms.

Banana-Rot-Disease.-_Fig-1

Causes:

The existence of Colletotrichum musae, a type of fungus, is the root cause of this specific ailment.

Symptoms:

    • Initially, small light brown to black spots appear on the banana.
    • These spots merge into more extensive areas, reducing the banana’s lifespan.

Treatment:

    • Soaking bananas in hot water at temperatures between 52°C to 54°C for 5 minutes can suppress post-harvest rot disease and extend shelf life.
    • Soaking the banana bunch in a 5% detergent solution for 3 minutes can prevent banana rot and increase shelf life.

2. Bunch Top Virus of Banana. (fig-2)

This viral disease severely threatens banana plants, potentially causing substantial yield losses. The virus is primarily transmitted between banana plants through the banana aphid (Pentalonia nigronervosa) and can also spread via infected plant material over long distances.

Bunch Top Virus symptoms on Banana tree head.

Bunch Head Disease of banana. (fig-2)

Causes:

The disease is caused by a virus transmitted by thrips, an insect.

Symptoms:

    • Reduced growth of the banana plant, with leaves emerging in bunches.
    • Short, erect leaves at the top.
    • Curved upwards and yellow edges on young leaves.
    • Dip-green spots between leaf veins.

Treatment:

    • Uproot and destroy affected plants.
    • Opt for planting healthy seedlings.
    • Use resistant varieties.
    • Apply approved insecticides (e.g., Imidacloprid) mixed with 1 ml per liter of water, spraying twice every seven days to control virus vectors (jabs and thrips).

3. Panama Disease of Banana. (Fig-3)

Panama disease, caused by a fungus, poses a significant threat to banana trees, leading to substantial reductions in production. It was first identified in Southeast Asia and has since spread to banana-producing regions worldwide. Once widely used for export, the ‘Gros Michel’ cultivar was severely affected, and the ‘Cavendish’ subgroup of cultivars introduced as a substitute is also susceptible.

Panama disease symptoms on banana tree leaves

Panama disease of banana. (Fig-3)

Causes:

The fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp cubense causes the disease.

Symptoms:

    • Yellowing edges of older leaves, followed by yellowing of young leaves.
    • Drooping and closure of the leaf bud lead to plant death.
    • Vertical splitting of trees.
    • Yellow to brown vascular bundles.
    • Loss of yield and plant death.

Treatment:

    • Uproot and burn affected trees.
    • Plant seedlings from disease-free trees.
    • Avoid collecting seedlings from infected orchards.
    • Soak pits with 1% formalin + 50% water before transplanting and after 10-12 days.
    • Use disease-free seedlings.
    • Follow proper sequencing for the grain phase.
    • Apply 5 kg semi-rotted chicken manure and 1 kg Tricho-compost per pit.
    • Apply Mancozeb 2 gm/liter and Carbofuran 12 kg/acre at the base of banana seedlings.

4. Sigatoka Disease of Banana (Fig-4)

Sigatoka, a black leaf streak, is a common leaf-spot disease affecting banana plants. It can cause significant reductions in fruit yield, with affected plants experiencing up to a 50% reduction in production. It is more dangerous than other diseases of banana trees.

Small yellow spots and brown color banana tree leaves it is Sigatoka Disease symptoms.

Sigatoka Disease of Banana (Fig-4)

Causes:

This disease is caused by either Cercospora musae or Mycosphaerella musicola fungi.

Symptoms:

    • Small yellow spots on lower leaves, enlarging into brown spots.
    • Leaf burn due to the merging of spots.
    • Shortened, erect leaves.
    • Curved, yellow leaf edges.
    • Heavily affected leaves appear charred.
    • Reduced banana size.

Treatment:

    • Burn infected leaves.
    • Spray every 15 days with 0.5 ml propiconazole fungicide per liter of water.
    • Cut and burn diseased leaves or parts after harvesting.
    • Maintain a good-water drainage system.
    • Provide adequate light and air circulation.
    • If the disease occurs, spray 0.5 ml of propiconazole or two carbendazim fungicides per liter of water every 15 days.

5. Cucumber Mosaic Virus of Banana. (Fig-5)

Cucumber mosaic virus is a plant virus belonging to the Bromoviridae family primarily spread by aphids. It is one of the most economically damaging plant viruses globally. This virus also infects banana plants and can result in substantial losses.

Cucumber Mosaic Virus symptoms on Banana leaves.

Banana leaves. (Fig-5)

Causes:

The disease is caused by a virus transmitted by thrips, an insect.

Symptoms:

    • Mosaic patterns resembling streaks along veins on leaves.
    • Striped appearance and incomplete development of leaf lamina.
    • Curved and necrotic leaf margins.
    • Smaller than usual young leaves.
    • Rotting of leaf sheaths, pseudostems, and bulbs.

Treatment:

    • Uproot and destroy infected trees.
    • Suppress garden weeds.
    • Use approved insecticides (e.g., Imidacloprid) mixed with 1 ml per liter of water, spraying twice every seven days to control virus vectors (jabs and thrips).
    • Avoid harvesting seedlings from affected orchards.
    • Plant slow, simple seedlings.
    • Use resistant varieties.

Conclusion:

Banana tree diseases can arise due to various factors, but a healthy plant is better equipped to resist them. Ensure proper care, watering, and lighting for your banana trees, maintaining good air circulation for healthier plants. If you suspect any disease, promptly identify and treat it using the above guidelines. By adopting integrated pest management techniques and a proactive approach, you can protect your banana trees and enjoy a thriving harvest.

Admin

I am Gaushoul Agam,

𝐂𝐨-𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 & 𝐂𝐄𝐎,
ToAgriculture

As an experienced SA Horticulture Officer in the Horticulture Wing of the Department of Agricultural Extension, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, I am dedicated to advancing agriculture and farming.

With a mission to address global food safety challenges amid a growing population, diminishing arable land, and the impacts of climate change on agriculture, I founded ToAgriculture. Through this platform, I empower readers with modern agricultural techniques, effective pest and disease control, and sustainable agricultural management, leading to a more secure and prosperous future in agriculture.

With over four years of expertise in field crops and seven years in horticulture crops, my knowledge spans fruit and vegetable farming techniques, adept pest-disease management, proficient irrigation strategies, and the art of grafting. Join me on this journey of discovery as I share insights and experiences to guide readers toward a sustainable future.

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