How to protect banana crops from damage caused by extreme cold (frost) during the winter season?

By: Merikheti
Published on: 12-Nov-2023

 For banana cultivation, it is necessary that the temperature be between 13-40 degrees Celsius. In winter, when the minimum temperature goes below 10 degrees Celsius, then the flow of fluid inside the banana plant stops, due to which the growth of the banana plant stops and many types of disorders start appearing, the main of which is throat choking. When a banana is exposed to low temperatures at the time of flowering, the bunch becomes unable to properly emerge from the pseudostem. For this, chemical reasons can also cause "choke", such as calcium and boron deficiency can also cause similar symptoms. The front part of the inflorescence comes out and the basal part gets stuck in the virtual stem. 

Hence, it is called throat choking. The bunch sometimes takes 5-6 months to reach maturity. Plants in which the fruit bunch fails to emerge or emerge, or is abnormally twisted. In banana cultivation, cold has a significant impact on plant health and productivity. Bananas, being tropical plants, are more susceptible to cold damage when exposed to low temperatures. Bananas, being tropical plants, are more susceptible to cold damage when exposed to low temperatures. Due to cold, the growth, development, and overall yield of plants are affected.To effectively manage cold damage in banana cultivation, it is necessary to understand the causes, and symptoms and implement preventive and corrective measures. 


Due to a cold injury.


Bananas are sensitive to temperatures below ten degrees Celsius. Frost damages banana plants, affecting the leaves and stems. Cold wind increases cold stress by increasing the rate of heat loss from the plant.


Also readSymptoms of deficiency of potash, the most important nutrient for banana cultivation, and techniques to manage it. 

Symptoms of cold injury.


Discoloration of leaves: Leaves turn yellow or brown in color. 

Cell damage: The formation of ice crystals causes damage to plant cells.

Stunted growth: Cold stress slows plant growth and development.


Preventive Measures.


Site selection: Choose a well-drained site with good aeration.

Windbreak: Install a windbreak to reduce the impact of cold winds. 

Mulching: Apply organic mulch around the base of plants to maintain the soil warmth. 

Irrigation: Wet heat retains heat better than dry soil; Ensure proper irrigation. 

 

 Cultural (agricultural) measures.


Proper Pruning: Remove damaged or dead leaves to promote new growth. Fertilizer: Maintain optimal nutrient levels to strengthen plants against cold stress. Water management: Avoid overwatering, as waterlogged soil can increase frost damage. It is important to remember that banana is a crop that requires an adequate supply of water, it has to be optimally distributed throughout the year (at least 10 cm per month). It is necessary for the soil of the banana field to always remain moist during the winter season. 


Also read: Farmers cultivating bananas should pay attention, otherwise problems may increase: Scientists



Corrective measures.


Pruning damaged tissue: Prune affected leaves and stems to encourage new growth.

Frost cloth: Covering plants with frost cloth can protect them during cold weather.

Heating equipment: In extreme cases, using a heater or heat lamp can avoid injury. 




Relief from stress after cold.


Plant Health Monitoring: Regularly assess plants' recovery progress. Nutrient boost: Use a fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorus to promote recovery. Before the onset of winter, light plowing of the banana plantation and application of 1/4th of the recommended quantity of fertilizers also reduces the severity of this disorder significantly. Patience: Allow enough time for plants to recover naturally. In the agricultural climate of Bihar, we have seen that banana orchards start looking burnt in winter but by March and April, our orchards start looking good again.


Research and Technical solutions.


Cold-resistant varieties: Develop and cultivate enhanced cold-resistant banana varieties. We have observed that tall banana varieties are more tolerant to cold than dwarf varieties.


Also read: Farmers should cultivate bananas of Cavendish Banana Group, after earning huge profits they will forget to grow paddy and wheat.

 Even Forecast: Use advanced weather forecasts to predict and prepare for cold weather. The best time to plant tissue culture bananas in Bihar is from May to September. Even Forecast: Use advanced weather forecasts to predict and prepare for cold weather. Applying this has a very bad effect on its cultivation. The biggest principle behind this is that bananas should never flower in winter because due to extreme cold in winter, the growth of the bunch is not good and sometimes the bunch is not able to come out of the virtual stem properly. In bananas prepared from tissue culture, flowers start appearing in the 9th month, whereas in bananas planted from suckers, bunches appear in the 10-11th month. Genetic Engineering: Research is needed to study genetic modifications to increase cold tolerance in bananas.


Conclusion.


Effective management of cold damage in banana cultivation involves a combination of preventive, corrective, and research-based strategies. Farmers should adopt a holistic approach considering site selection, cultural practices, and technological advances to protect the banana crop from the harmful effects of cold stress. By implementing these measures, growers can ensure the sustainability and resilience of banana cultivation in areas with cold temperatures.