Banana trees do not have invasive root systems but can grow large very quickly. Banana tree roots will grow in a tight ball similar to palms but the roots will stay shallow. Banana trees that are 20 feet tall can survive on roots that are around 2 feet deep & if they start escape the pot they are soft and easy to cut off.
Banana trees are a fast growing plant that will grow multiple stems from the root ball. Each stem can produce a bunch of bananas and after this can be cut off to be replaced by new stems. Each banana stem will only produce one crop.
To keep your banana tree under control with a smaller root system leave it with three healthy stems and remove the rest. Once one of the stems has produced fruit, remove it an allow a new healthy stem to replace it.
Banana trees can eventually break through large pots or tubs that they are grown in but their root ball will remain solid and the tree will still clump together.
Will banana trees spread?
While banana trees do not have strong or invasive roots the main plant can spread over a larger area over time. Banana trees that start as a single stem can quickly reproduce with new stems forming on the outside of the root ball.
Over time the tree will reach further out but is stopped by any hard surface or concrete barrier. My banana tree is planted right near a garden wall and will not grow any further. This banana tree does however continue to grow out towards the area without the wall and is becoming wider.
Banana trees are easy to control as they have soft trunks and roots. I can remove stems and roots with a pruning saw if they start to grow in the wrong area. The stems will drip a sap which can stain clothes and your pruning saw so wash it off with warm soapy water.
Keep the sap off your skin as it can be an irritant and quite sticky.
Banana trees will grow back quickly after being pruned often reacting by sending up new shoots over the warmer months. These can be removed while they are small to keep the banana plant to three stems for a neat feature tree.
Planting a banana tree close to the house
Banana trees should be planted away from your house to allow the space for it to grow. Although banana trees do not have invasive roots they do grow large and their stems can spread. Giving banana trees at least 6 feet of room away from your house or a neighboring fence will give them the space they need to grow.
Banana trees will send up new shoots from the base of the plant and often on the outside edges of their root zone. My banana tree grown in a tub continues to send up shoots on the outside edges of the tub.
This banana tree after 5 years has eventually broken through the tub but the roots have not escaped. I need to continue to remove the extra stems that pop up to keep it smaller. This is the important reason not to grow it too close to your house.
A tall banana tree could also rub against house walls or gutters as they grow. Give them space away from your house and they will grow as a beautiful feature tree.
Can banana tree roots damage pipes?
Banana tree roots are soft and not invasive. They will not damage pipes like other invasive trees like fig trees, but they can take over the space. Any plastic pipe could be broken by the weight of the plant so if it is placed directly over a water pipe, there is the chance it could be affected.
The best thing to do when planting a banana tree is to give them the space away from underground pipes, houses and pavers. While the banana tree is easy to control it does need attention and regular pruning to keep it contained.
How do you stop banana trees from spreading?
Banana trees can be stopped from spreading by regular pruning. Banana trees are easy to prune and can be chopped off using a basic pruning saw. Removing extra stems when they are small is the easiest way to stop banana trees from spreading.
Once the stems become larger they will can push the sides of a container out and eventually break it. While banana tree stems and roots can be cut off at any time it is much easier to do this when they are small without damaging the other stems.
Do banana tree roots grow deep?
Banana tree roots are shallow compared to the size of the tree. I have a large banana tree and the roots are no deeper than around 2 feet deep. The roots are tightly bound and grow in a ball shape staying in one area surrounded by the container.
The roots of my banana tree only have a maximum of 2 feet of soil to grow in so certainly are no deeper than this. Underneath my banana tree is actually a carpark so they have stayed contained in the pot and the small bit of soil underneath.
Banana trees can grow incredibly well with a shallow root system. If their root system is limited however they will be more likely to be blown over by strong winds or storms. While mine is protected by a nearby wall, banana trees that are more exposed could be knocked over or break in bad weather.
Are banana tree roots invasive? | Summary
Banana tree roots are not invasive but they can grow large and fill out a container quickly. Banana tree roots and stems are easy to control and can be pruned using a pruning saw or sharp secateurs.
Trim off any extra stems that are growing in an area that you don’t want to keep the plant smaller and the roots contained.
Banana trees are a fantastic feature and can produce a bunch of bananas on each stem. After this the stem will die and can be removed and the tree will replace it with a new one.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.