Saba Banana Production Guide Part 2

PREPARATION OF PLANTING MATERIALS: Suckers 3-to 4 feet tall which are taken from healthy and vigorous growing clumps are the most practical and recommendable planting materials. Suckers should have many healthy roots without symptoms of nematodes or borer damage such as nodulation and internal lesions

DISTANCE OF PLANTING: Generally, saba requires a wider spacing. Distance of planting can be 4-7 meters. However, 4m x 4m is the regularly used planting distance, requiring 625 suckers per hectare. If the fruits are to be sold weight, a closer distance of planting will be desirable in order to get a higher yield per unit area. On the other hand, if the fruits are to be sold by counting the fingers, a wider distance of planting is desirable. This will enable the plants to produce bigger bunches.

PLANTING TIME: Bananas in general can be planted any time of the year. However, the time of planting is very important. In places where there is a distinct dry and wet season, planting should be done at the start of the rainy season to afford the newly planted sucker an adequate amount of moisture

PLANTING: Dig holes 50-60 cm deep. Place one sucker in the hole in vertical position and fill it with surface soil. If possible, press down the soil around the base of the sucker to avoid air spaces in the hole

WEEDING AND CULTIVATION: Banana needs little or no cultivation because of its shallow root system and the greater part of it is within the top six inches of the soil. If possible, cultivation should be done not beyond six inches. To control weeds, it is advisable to either cutlass and leaves them to rot, or apply recommended herbicides.

DESUCKERING: This is done to remove undesirable or unnecessary suckers succeeding the plant that has already fruited and maintain the correct population density of two suckers per clump/ hill. Retain those suckers that are deeply embedded in the soil. Keep the sucker in a straight line to facilitate movement through the rows. By permitting two suckers to grow from each hill, the population is virtually doubled and the planting distance is thereby reduced by one-half.

FERTILIZATION: Large quantities of nutrients are taken up by the banana plant. They consume nitrogen and potassium in big quantities, thus fertilizer application geared to replenish these nutrient must be properly programmed at regular intervals. Therefore, for maximum production, they should be fertilized frequently. The fertilizer recommendations for a hectare of saba banana are the following:

On the first year, mix 3.5 bags complete (14-14-14), 3 bags urea (45-0-0) and 10 bags muriate of potash (o-o-60) and apply at a rate of 440 grams per hill every 4 months. Double this rate for the succeeding years.


PESTS: There are about 27 insect pest recorded attacking banana plant in the Philippines. However it is speculated that there are several more unrecorded pests. Out of these recorded insect pests, there are at least three important insect pest known to attack all types of banana. These are:

Banana Corm weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus): This insect pest during its larval stage damages the plant by destroying the corm’s tissue. Young seedling may die through bore attack if the larva reaches the growing point. To control, destroy the breeding and feeding places of the adult weevils.

Immediately after harvesting, chop up the pseudostems into pieces and scatter them so that they will dry off or rot quickly. Cut the pseudostem close to the ground and cover the cut base of the corm with soil. Sustained weed control is also important, especially near the banana stools. Always plant disease-free planting materials.

Trapping is also recommended which involves the use of freshly cut pseudostem of about to 2 feet in length, cut longitudinally and placed on the ground with the cut surfaces downward. The cut pseudostem will serve as shelter and food for the adult weevil. After 2-3 days, the attracted beetle under the trap are collected and killed. Chemical control can also be done through soil treatment using recommended pesticides.

Fruit peel Scarring beetle (Philocoptus Iligans). This destructive beetle damages the banana fruit surfaces. Damaged fruits are considered of no value due to its inferior quality. This pest can be easily controlled by spraying the banana bunch with synthetic pyrethroid as well as protecting the bunch by covering with dursban-treated polyethylene bags with pinholes. Sanitation can also reduced beetle population.


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