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PLANTING LAKATAN

Lakatan is considered as one of the premier fruit crops in the Philippines. It has a light orange
to orange pulp, firm, and aromatic. Its peel is golden yellow when ripe. The skin can be easily
removed with some rags sticking to the pulp. Each bunch has 10-12 hands with 12-20 fingers.
The size of each finger ranges from 10 to 20 cm in length and 2.0 to 2.5 cm in diameter.
The fruit matures at 8090 days from shooting. The gestation period is from 12 to 15 months. It
grows to a height of five to nine feet.
SOIL AND CLIMATE REQUIREMENTS

Soil
Lakatan can be grown on a wide range of soils provided these are fertile, have a good aeration,
and are well-drained. Deep, well-drained alluvial soils are best including well-drained clay
loams with a high water holding capacity and humus content.
Lighter soils are less preferred because they dry out quickly, allowing nitrogen fertilizers to
leach more readily, and do not provide adequate root anchorage during wet and windy
conditions. The minimum soil depth necessary is about one meter.
Soil pH is also a very important factor in growing Lakatan. To optimize the growth of the plant,
the ideal soil pH is 6.5. But Lakatan also tolerates a pH ranging from 4.5 to 7.5. Soils exceeding
pH 8.0 are not suitable.
Lakatan can grow well in slightly alkaline soil, and in fact such soils are known to prevent
incidence of Panama wilt. Moreover, it requires high organic matter content.

Climate
It grows best and produce high yields in areas with well distributed rain fall and no strong
winds. Optimum growth is attained when monthly rainfall is 200-220 mm. In cooler climate,
the crop duration is extended and bunches are smaller. When planted to elevations of more
than 900 meters above sea level, Lakatan may have an extended hanging period from 3 to
5 weeks more compared with those grown at lower elevations.

Low temperatures (lower than 10oC) are not suitable because they lead to a condition
called choke or impeded inflorescence and bunch development. Temperatures of 37oC or
higher can cause leaf scorch and higher soil temperatures affect growth.

Establishment of Wind Breaks


Winds are destructive to Lakatan, hence the need to plant windbreaks before establishing
the banana plantation. Windbreaks can be planted around the perimeter of the banana field.
Windbreaks can also be planted within the banana plantation at a reasonable spacing.
Growing of bananas together with trees is not new. It has been done for many years,
particularly when both were economically and culturally desirable.

Trees within banana plantations have increasingly become necessary both as windbreaks
and as natural methods of replenishing and sustaining the productivity of farmland.
However, this needs rigorous management to ensure a happy co-existence.

A tree spacing of 20 m x 20 m within the banana plantation is fair enough, whereas a


spacing of 10 m x 10 m is good enough at the perimeter. The following tree species can be
recommended: Eucalyptus deglupta, Gliricidia sepium, Calliandra calothyrsus, and such fruit
trees as mangoes, avocado, and jackfruit.
Selection of Planting Materials

Banana is propagated asexually with the use of suckers and corms.


Different types of suckers are produced by the plant i.e., sword leaf suckers, maiden leaf
sucker, peeper and water sucker. The best planting material however, is the sword leaf
sucker primarily because of its vigorous growth. When sword suckers are used as planting
materials, do not plant it with the leaves or whole pseudostem. Trim or take out the roots
and cut the pseudostem 4 inches above the corm or bullhead.
Although smaller suckers can be used, the ideal height should be 100-115 cms with a
diameter of 11-20 cm and a weight of 2.3-2.7 kg.
There are various sources of plant materials, the choice however, is dependent on their
availability and health status. Plant or propagating material should always be from healthy
parent plant.
Recently, planting materials derived from tissue culture have become available. Some

advantages of tissue-culture derived plantlets are: uniform and vigorous growth, increased
production of suckers and earlier fruiting.
CLEARING AND LAND PREPARATION

Good land preparation increases the potential of the land in producing quality fruits. Other
non-woody plants like weeds should also be cut into small pieces and plowed into the soil.

If the area is open and was previously planted with other crops, single plowing and
harrowing will be enough. It will also bury harmful microorganisms and nematodes that
have built up with the previous crop. Further, it will help facilitate weed control. However, if
the area will be used for the first time (newly opened), plowing should be done twice and
harrowing thrice. Doing so will provide the land with soil of proper tilth.

If the area is steep slopes and planted with other fruit trees, and plowing is impossible, the
alternative is to create a bigger and a deeper hole by hand forking or hoeing.
Planting System

Lakatan is planted in various planting patterns to ease the movement of the farmers inside
the farm and to maximize the plants exposure to sunlight. The purpose also in following a
specific planting system is to facilitate different operations such as weeding, fertilization,
spraying and harvesting. Of the different types of planting systems, the most commonly
used are the double hedge rows, square and triangle.

In the area, mark each planting plot with a stake to guide the farmers during planting.
Different planting patterns can be adapted by farmers depending of the type and size of the
area.

Lining, staking, and digging the holes


After identifying the proper distance and the planting system to be used, the exact position
of the planting material is marked with a stake. Holes can either be made by man or
machine, and size and shape will depend on the planting material used.

In digging the holes, the stakes should be first removed and the planting materials should
be lined up. The holes should be large enough to accommodate the roots without
overcrowding.

Planting
Lakatan can be planted with a distance of 2m x 2.5 m as a monocrop or together with other
plants. It grows best if planted at the beginning of or during the rainy season. This is to
take advantage of the longest possible period of growth with adequate moisture. However,
this can be done anytime of the year if rainfall is evenly distributed or if irrigation facilities
are available.

For best results, little amount of fertilizer and organic matter are placed at the bottom of
the hole. The fertilizer is then covered with a thin layer of soil before setting the plantlets.
Plant the materials in the prepared holes.

Integrated management recommended for controlling viral diseases includes the use of
larger plantlets for planting (at least 5 mos. old).

Splitopen the polybag and remove the

plant carefully with the ball of earth intact. Place the plant in the center of the pit without
disturbing the roots. Fill the hole with soil and pack gently to hold the plantlets in place.
Leave a hollow space of 10 cm to 15 cm from the surface of the soil to avoid floating
suckers when the Lakatan are fully grown and producing suckers already.

If suckers are used, dig holes 60 cm deep and 50 cm wide. They should be filled with
surface soil to set the suckers deep enough that after covering with 2 inch thick of soil the
top portion of the corm is at least 3 inches below the surface of the topsoil.

Contour planting, or planting with the rows running across the slope of the land, is
preferable to planting on the square with rows running up and down the slope as well as
directly across the slope in straight lines.
(Note: If possible and feasible, the holes should be burn sterilized using rice hulls before
planting is done.)

Inter-cropping

For the first season, inter-cropping especially with beans and corn is highly recommended.
This ensures full exploitation of the soil and its resources, and ensures proper soil cover
before the bananas can start supplying their own mulch. After one or two seasons, mulch
can be applied for the purpose of suppressing weeds. The few weeds that come up may be
picked by hand.

In practice, however, farmers continue to inter-plant bananas with beans, ginger, and
upland rice even in the old plantations. This is to improve food availability for the
household. Usually the beans are planted directly into the mulch (minimum tillage).

CULTURAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

Fertilization
Lakatan requires large amount of nutrients to produce the desired bunch size and weight.
Plant nutrition is very important in producing healthy plants to build up pest resistance and
high quality fruits. Apply as basal 86 gms of Duofos + Humic acid + Biocozyme per plant
and repeat the application 6 months after planting.

One month after planting, apply 3 packs of 80 gms urea + muriate of potash place in an ice
candy plastic bag with 4 small holes one foot away from the base of the plant and one foot
deep and applied per annum.
Irrigation and Drainage
Irrigation water is needed when the amount of rainfall is below 10 cm per month.
Inadequate moisture in the soil leads to slower growth rate, smaller bunches and fingers.
Irrigation water can be applied through furrow irrigation, overhead sprinklers, and drip
irrigation.

Drainage is important to prevent water logging. The drainage system may consist of the
main canal, series of secondary and tertiary canals depending on the type of farm, extent of
rainfall, topography, soil texture and management.