Intro to Agriculture students learn proper banana propagation
Intro to Agriculture (AL-101) students spent the morning of Sept. 21 at the Inarajan Research & Education Center learning how to propagate banana plants without spreading pests and viruses.
Dr. Robert F. Bevacqua, an adjunct instructor for AL-100 and an extension associate under UOG’s Western Pacific Tropical Research Center, demonstrated the proper way to uproot the plants, rinse the roots, trim the stem down to the corm — or the portion where the next plant will emerge — disinfect the corm prior to transplanting, and ensure they remain labelled with their variety throughout the process.
The suckers that the students harvested will be planted on Triton Farm and on the UOG campus, where they will be used for sustainable agriculture demonstrations.
“We use the banana plantation at the Inarajan Experiment Station as a source of planting material because it contains 12 varieties of banana, including some of the most popular ones on Guam, and the plantation is free of an invasive virus called bunchy top — the most serious threat to banana plants on Guam.”
In his classes and community workshops, he teaches the method of trimming banana suckers down to the corm before transplanting in order to prevent the spread of major banana pests, including banana corm weevil, nematodes, soil-borne diseases like Panama Wilt, leaf blights, and aphids, which can be vectors for disease.
For more information on plant diseases and plant pathology work happening at UOG, visit the Plant Pathology webpage of the Western Pacific Tropical Research Center.