I was going to go out and do a video on how I cut down a banana tree in order to harvest bananas… but then nature did it for me:
Generally, you can simply harvest a stalk of bananas by partially cutting the tree trunk itself and letting the bananas ease their way down to you.
This is safer than standing on a ladder, leaning off the roof, or jumping in the air with a machete.
A stalk of bananas can easily weigh 100lbs.
This stalk of Orinoco bananas is likely 50lbs.
Instead of getting a chance to easy them down, the tree decided to fall all on its own.
With bananas, you don’t have to worry that cutting down the main trunk is keeping you from future fruit.
Every banana tree only fruits once.
It will count leaves until it reaches a certain count, then it sends out its bloom. First the female banana blooms appear (which develop into the fruit), followed by many more male blooms that simply create pollen and are no longer necessary to we, the growers of the modern seedless, cloned banana trees.
Calling them “trees” isn’t really right, either.
Banana tree trunks are actually pseudostems that emerge from a central root mass.
Think of the root as the main part of the banana “tree” – not the individual stems that emerge.
They’re like big lilies, really. Once a stalk produces bananas, that one won’t produce again so you can cut it down, then let the next smallest tree take over.
Or, just let the tree self-deliver as in my case.
Good thing the neighboring pomegranate tree caught the falling trunk or else I might had had some seriously smashed-up banana fruit.
Hi, David. I just started growing bananas and finally have my first beautiful bunch on my ice cream (blue java) banana plant. They have been there for several months now, but still have not begun turning yellowish. At what point is it time to chop them down? I am trying to be patient, but I have heard horror stories of leaving them hanging too long and they end up being bird food. I am in Central FL, so we may not get any freezing temps to damage them, but who knows from year to year. Since this is not a common variety sold in stores, I really don’t know how big they should be when they are ready and I’m having a tough time finding any info online as well. Any advice for the beginning banana grower?
I’ve had the best luck by cutting them down when the top bananas start to turn yellow and the rest are green. I only harvest the bunches that are yellow and leave the rest on the stalk outdoors, this allowed me to keep bananas ‘on the vine’ for about 2 weeks, if you harvest them all at once they tend to ripen all at once. That’s been my experience anyway.
I’ve had some ready for harvest in 3 months and some in 5… seems like the yellowing of the last leaf (the shorter one that came out before the bloom) is a decent indicator, once all the leaves are dead the production seems to be winding down.
Only chop down green bananas if a freeze is definitely coming otherwise keep calm and wait for the best bananas of your life they’re worth it!
Thank you for the clear explanation, FlipFlopFarmer. Guess I will just have to keep watching and waiting a bit longer. I am so excited to try them, that I am getting a bit impatient. LOL Thanks again!
Plus, if you cut up the stalk/trunk of the tree and the leaves and put them arunod the base of the clump, these act as very good mulch for the plant you saw how wet the stalk is inside, keeping moisture in and arunod the plant is extremely important. Why a hatchet and not a large cane knife, might I ask?