How to prevent peel disorder on bananas

The relative concentration of calcium within the peel, compared to the fruit is higher than with other nutrients.

The use of plastic bunch covers creates a microclimate that reduces transpiration and uptake. Rapid leaf growth, e.g. after cyclone damage or during cold winters in sub-tropics, will result in a calcium shortage.

From shooting onwards there is little movement from the plant into the bunch of calcium. Uptake is reduced when high humidity and hot weather combine to lower transpiration and movement from the plant and into the fruit.

While less than one tenth of the total plant calcium is found in the fruit, this low concentration of the element is critical for quality fruit with minimal peel disorders.

This calcium plays a major role in boosting peel strength and minimizing bruising or transport damage, skin cracking and fruit breakdown.

In order to ensure sufficient calcium is found in the peel, it is important that growers apply calcium throughout the crop cycle to maximize season-long uptake.

In trials, calcium nitrate increases root and sucker growth, and speeds leaf development, through raising soil and leaf Ca-supplies.

This research also confirms reduced risk of root diseases and direct increases in leaf size from use of calcium nitrate.