Increasing Number of Hands per Bunch

Crop Nutrition and Number of Hand per Bunches

The banana plant has a high demand for nitrogen to fuel and maintain vegetative growth.

Applied nitrogen is used for dry matter production and yield, including the number of hands per bunch in banana.

Banana plants are unable to store nitrogen within the pseudostem. Thus, any lack of nitrogen results in slow growth, with the plant "shutting-down".

Adequate potassium nutrition increases the number of fruit per plant. Conversely low potassium supply results in reduced plant dry matter production, fragile branched and poor plant vigor.

Splitting potassium applications into frequent and small doses provides the highest yield responses, particularly in high rainfall areas and on light soils. Adequate potassium nutrition increases crop height, girth and the number of green leaves, as well as the number of fruit per plant. Conversely, low K-supply results in reduced plant dry matter production, fragile branches and poor plant vigor.

Potassium is important for the transfer of carbohydrates from the leaf to the fruit, improving pulp content and fruit size.

Magnesium is critical for chlorophyll production and is a metabolic activator for carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and involved in P-transport. Magnesium has a direct effect on bunch weight and banana yield.

It is important to maintain correct K:Mg ratios within soils or yield will suffer. Large applications of potassium commonly restrict magnesium uptake. Critical ratios for soil magnesium compared to potassium and calcium are given in Optimum Ca, K and Mg Ratios in Soil.