SECTORAL AND CONVENTIONAL SUCKER SELECTION TECHNIQUE USING TISSUE CULTURE BANANA PLANTS
An experiment was conduced to determine the optimum first ratoon (R1) sucker selection with tissue culture (TC) banana plants in terms of selection technique and orientation to the mother plant. Treatments comprised conventional and sectoral selection of the R1 sucker. With the conventional method, chemical desuckering was applied until 6 and 11 months after planting when a new peeper was selected. With the sectoral technique all potential R1 suckers in a 90° sector of the plantation marching line were retained until 6 and 11 months after planting by simple excising them horizontally at ground level. One sucker per mat was selected at selection date and the remaining suckers eliminated chemically. Prevailing conditions of water shortage during the P and R1 cycle of the trial could have negatively influenced the results. Investigations showed that although the sectoral sucker selection technique did not give a yield advantage when compared with the conventional sucker selection technique, it improved the alignment of the R1 sucker by up to 113% and that of the R2 by up to 90%. Correct alignment of the R1 sucker will in the long-term result in a better spatial arrangement and maintenance of the planting distances over further crop cycles. For the timing of sucker selection, this trial showed that, irrespective of R1 selection technique, early sucker selection at six months resulted in a 7% higher yield over two crop cycles and should therefore be the recommended stage of R1 sucker selection with TC planting material.
Eckstein, K., Fraser, C. and Robinson, J.C. (2000). SECTORAL AND CONVENTIONAL SUCKER SELECTION TECHNIQUE USING TISSUE CULTURE BANANA PLANTS. Acta Hortic. 540, 267-272