Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


28. When the coffee trees are planted the work is not finished.

The grower still has a lot of work to do to look after his coffee trees.
A grower who does not look after his plantation properly cannot get a good harvest of berries and will not earn much money.

To look after your plantation properly, you must:


29. Sometimes certain coffee seedlings do not grow well.
They remain small or die.
During the months after planting, you must look often to see whether your coffee trees are growing well.
If you see diseased or dead coffee trees, pull them out and burn them.
In their place, plant other coffee seedlings from among those you have kept in the nursery.


30. Between the rows of coffee trees the soil must always be covered either by palm fronds or cut weeds, or by a cover crop.
Palm fronds and cut weeds keep the soil moist and protect it against erosion.
If you have a cover crop, make sure it covers the whole of the soil.
But sometimes cover plants climb on the coffee trees. In that case, cut down those plants that wind around the trunk and branches of the coffee tree.

31. Weeds often grow among the coffee tree rows.
Do not let the weeds take the nourishment away.
Hoe often but, when hoeing, be very careful not to damage the trunk and roots of the coffee trees.


Why coffee trees need pruning

32. The coffee tree grows too fast.

During the first few years, the tree makes many branches: it uses all its nourishment to make wood.
At the first harvest, the tree yields a lot of berries.
But the coffee tree ages very quickly.
The coffee tree uses all the mineral salts of the soil in order to feed the wood of the branches.
It can no longer yield a lot of berries.
Therefore the coffee tree must be pruned so that It does not make too many branches.
The coffee tree does not develop well.

The branches of the coffee tree grow all over the place.
The coffee tree is not well-shaped and not strong.
Therefore the coffee tree must be pruned to give it a good shape.
The coffee tree grows too tall.

The coffee tree may grow to 10 or 15 metres.
It is then not easy for the grower to pick the berries.
Therefore the coffee tree must be pruned so that it is not too tall.

Every variety of coffee tree needs different pruning.

33. Trees of Arabica, Liberica, Gros Indénié and Excelsa coffee have only one main stem: one trunk only.
The berries grow for several years on all parts of the branches.

Pruning these coffee trees is simple:

Kouilou coffee tree

34. Trees of the Robusta, Kouilou and Petit Indénié varieties have several main stems: several trunks.

The wood of a branch has berries only for one year.
The next year, that part of the branch bears no fruit.
The berries grow on the new wood which has grown during the year.
A branch yields fruit for several years, but it is always a different part of the branch that bears fruit.

Pruning these coffee trees is difficult:

Cut away suckers.
A sucker is a twig that grows upward out of a main stem.
A sucker never bears fruit.

Cut away also all dry or dead branches.


35. When coffee trees in a plantation get too old they no longer yield many berries and do not bring in much money.

To make your coffee trees young again, cut them back:


Fertilizers cost a lot of money.
Use fertilizers only when this will earn a lot of money.

36. It is useless to apply fertilizer in a plantation that is not well looked after.
If you do not prune your coffee trees, and you do not hoe, then you should not apply any fertilizer.
The fertilizer would do nothing except feed the wood of the branches and the weeds.
When you have pruned your coffee trees well, when you have hoed up the weeds, then apply fertilizer.

Coffee trees need a lot of potash, a lot of nitrogen, and a little phosphoric acid.
Spread the fertilizer in a ring around each coffee tree, but be very careful not to put any on its trunk, branches or leaves.
If you do, the fertilizer will burn the coffee tree.
Spread the fertilizer at a distance of about 1 metre from the trunk.
Apply fertilizer several times a year (except for dicalcium phosphate, only once a year).

37. Different soils have different fertilizer needs. For example, in the Ivory Coast:

in March:    50 g ammonium sulfate
50 g dicalcium phosphate
40 g potassium sulfate

in July:        30 g ammonium sulfate
40 g potassium sulfate

in October: 30 g ammonium sulfate
40 g potassium sulfate

in March:    30 g ammonium sulfate
50 g dicalcium phosphate
30 g potassium sulfate

in July:        20 g ammonium sulfate
40 g potassium sulfate

in October: 20 g ammonium sulfate
30 g potassium sulfate


The most dangerous enemies of the coffee tree are:

38. Coffee stem borers

The larvae of these insects bore holes in the stems and so ruin the coffee trees. So you must:

Pull up and burn affected trees.
Try to catch these insects and kill them.

You can control borers with Dieldrin.

39. Coffee berry borer

These insects lay their eggs in the coffee beans. The berries turn black.
Remove the black berries and burn them.
Pick up all the berries that have dropped to the ground and burn them.

You can control the coffee berry borer with endrin.

40. Tracheomycosis

This is the most dangerous disease of the coffee tree.
It has caused great damage to the coffee plantations of the Ivory Coast.
It comes from a fungus which attacks the stems and branches.
The trees dry out and die.
To control this disease, pull up the diseased trees and burn them.

There are many other diseases, for instance:

Coffee leaf disease
The leaves, branches and fruit become dry.
Cut off the diseased parts and burn them.

Berry rot
The berries become brown, then dry.
Pick them and burn them.

There are also many other insects:
Green scale on the branches
Leaf caterpillars

Always burn diseased trees, diseased branches, diseased berries.

Look for insects and kill them.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page