Here’s a practical tip you should keep in mind when you harvest your banana, whether it is Cavendish, Saba, Latundan, Lakatan, Mama Sita or whatever. Don’t cut the trunk close to the ground. Leave 1.5 to 2 meters above the ground.
That’s the advice of Dr. Agustin Molina Jr., a world-reknowned banana expert who used to be corporate director of research and technical services of Chiquita Brands International, the world’s biggest banana company based in Central America. He was also the coordinator for Asia Pacific of Bioversity International, an NGO whose focus is on improving the banana industry worldwide. He studied plant pathology in UP Los Baños and at Pennsylvania State University where he got his PhD.
Dr. Molina explains that the old trunk of the harvested banana still contains a lot of nutrients and water which can help sustain the growth of suckers. When the old trunk is cut close to the ground, the remaining sucker or suckers will grow slowly. New suckers may not be produced at all. On the other hand, when the trunk is left standing, the suckers will grow healthier and faster. New suckers may also develop.