Submitted to: Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/7/2005
Publication Date: 7/1/2006
Citation: Goenaga, R.J., Irizarry, H. 2006. Yield performance of two French-type plantain clones subjected to bunch pruning. J. Agric. Univ. P.R. 90(3-4):173-182. Interpretive Summary: Most of the plantain production in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the Caribbean region originates from the false-horn type Maricongo clone and grade market criteria is based on fruit traits from this clone. However, the Maricongo clone is unstable for important bunch (raceme) characteristics being erratic in maintaining uniformity for number of hands and fruits per bunch. A field experiment was conducted to study the effect of lower hands bunch pruning in two introduced French-type plantain clones with the objective of increasing yield and improve fruit quality. It was found that the Maiden plantain clone always produced heavier bunches, and when it was pruned to either four or five uppermost hands, individual fruits in the first four hands of the bunch compared favorably for quality with those obtained from the standard Maricongo unpruned bunches. This was not the case with the Dominican Red clone. The Maiden clone with the bunch pruned to five hands yielded 47,344 marketable fruits/ha more than the standard Maricongo clone. All fruits from the Maiden clone with bunches pruned to five hands surpassed the market fruit weight criteria of 270 grams. This study provides evidence that the Maiden clone is a viable alternative for plantain production in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the Caribbean if proper bunch management is carried out. Additional field testing will be conducted with this clone to determine insect pests and diseases response.
Technical Abstract: Two introduced French-type plantain (Musa, AAB) clones, Maiden and Dominican Red, were evaluated to determine the effect of bunch pruning on fruit grade and marketable yield. Pruning treatments consisted in the removal of the male floral bud and lower hands from the immature bunch to maintain either four, five or six uppermost hands. The false-horn type clone Maricongo, with the unpruned bunch was used as a control. A reduction in the number of hands from 6 to 4 in bunches of the French type clones significantly increased bunch mean fruit weight and individual fruit weight per hand. Regardless of the pruning treatment, the French type clones produced significantly more fruits per bunch as compared to the false-horn type Maricongo with the unpruned bunch. There was no significant difference among the French-type clones for number of fruits per bunch when pruned to either four, five or six uppermost hands. These clones averaged 54, 66 and 77 fruits with their bunch pruned to four, five and six hands,respectively. The false-horn-type Maricongo with unpruned bunches produced 48 fruits. However, regardless of the pruning treatment, bunches from Maiden were always significantly heavier than those of Dominican Red and the unpruned Maricongo. Bunches of Maiden pruned to four, five and six hands weighed 23.3, 25.4, and 26.7 kg, respectively. Unpruned Maricongo bunches weighed 20.1 kg. The French-type Maiden plantain with bunches pruned to five uppermost hands yielded 177,271 marketable fruits/ha, equivalent to 68,326 kg/ha. This amount represented a significant yield difference of 47,344 marketable fruits/ha (14,257 kg/ha) when compared to the unpruned Maricongo bunches. All fruits obtained from the Maiden plantain bunches pruned to five hands exceeded the local market fruit weight criteria of 270 g, including fruits in the distal hand which compared favorably in size with fruits in the fifth hand of the unpruned bunch of Maricongo.