Q. I planted two Hawaiian plantain trees several months ago. The plants have not grown and the leaves turn yellowish. I have tried fertilizing them several times but there has been no visible improvement.
D.O., Key West
Plant and grow plantains just like bananas. Make sure that the roots don’t dry out. The yellow leaves may be an indication that this has happened. Both bananas and plantains require moist soil, especially when becoming established. However, they are not flood-tolerant.
When first planted, most plants need time to develop a good root system and during this time little top growth occurs. Providing some shade during establishment will be helpful. Also, make sure they aren’t exposed to saltwater.
To help moderate soil moisture as well as providing some nutrients, mulch, mulch and then add more mulch to bananas and plantains. Keep the mulch layer 3-4 inches deep but do not allow it to touch the trunks and stems of plants.
Fertilize only after growth resumes. Over-fertilizing can burn roots and sets the plants back even more.
Send undamaged (live or dead) insects in a crush-proof container such as a pill bottle or film canister with the top taped on. Mail them in a padded envelope or box with a brief note explaining where you found the insects.
Do not tape insects to paper or place them loose in envelopes. Insect fragments or crushed insect samples are almost impossible to identify.
Send them to the address of your county extension office, found in the blue pages in the phone book under county government.