AbstractJust as high yields and quality of plantains, a cooking banana widely used throughout the Tropics, were produced by planting directly in the sod, followed by strip cultivation for erosion control, as after complete land preparation and clean cultivation on a typical latosol in the Humid Mountain Region of Puerto Rico. The effects of plant population and of fertilization with sod-planting and strip cultivation were studied. Increasing the number of trees from 500, which is standard practice, to 800 per acre increased yields by 4 tons of fruit. No further increase resulted from increasing the population to 1,300 trees per acre. Plantains responded strongly in yield to applications of 200 pounds of nitrogen and of phosphoric acid per acre on this soil, which contained 0.20 percent of nitrogen and less than 40 pounds of dilute acid-soluble phosphorus per acre. No response to lime, magnesium, or potassium was evident on this soil which had a high content of these nutrients in available form. The nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium contents of the plantain leaves increased with applications of these nutrients as fertilizer, but applications of magnesium and calcium did not affect the content of these nutrients in the leaves. Leaf contents of 2.8 percent of nitrogen, or 0.13 percent of phosphorus, indicated a deficiency of these nutrients, while a calcium content of 0.60, a magnesium content of 0.24, and a potassium content of 2.8 percent indicated a sufficiency. The experiments showed that 8 tons of plantains yielding o tons of edible pulp comparable in feeding value to potatoes, or 2 tons of dry matter with a caloric content similar to that of corn, can be produced per acre with excellent erosion control on steep lands in the Humid Mountain Region of Puerto Rico.
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