MANAGING A MATURE COFFEE GARDEN:

The way you manage your coffee garden it’s the more coffee it will produce; this can be achieved with minimum maintenance costs, if the farmer undertake proper management practices which include regular mulching with organic residues such as bean haulms, maize stalks, banana leaves, animal manure and coffee husks. The manorial values of these products arise from their decomposition to release nutrients.

Most farmers prefer putting shades in their coffee gardens than mulching as mulching is more tiresome than the shades, but shaded coffee gardens in most cases yields slightly less than un-shaded. UN shaded coffee receive high stands of management as it reduces input costs in respect of mulch, manure application and weeding.

Mulching coffee garden has the following benefits:

  • It preserves moisture during the dry periods.
  • It suppresses weed growth.
  • It supplies nutrients when it rots.
  • It improves rainfall penetration and prevents runoff and soil erosion.
  • It encourages root development in the feeding zone of the coffee which is normally in the top 30cm of the soil.
  • It increases the yields and improves the coffee quality.

If mulching materials is in short supply, mulch around each tree in the spread of branches of the tree.

There are some benefits in shaded coffee and this includes:

  • It reduces extremes of air temperature, particularly low temperature which can lead to leaf damage by hot and cold conditions.
  • It reduces soil surface temperature.
  • It reduces air movement in the coffee and speed down transpiration from the coffee trees.
  • It reduces leaf temperature, and this may prolong period of photosynthesis.
  • Leaves from shade trees provide mulching materials.
  • Shade reduces overbearing and leads to more ever annual cropping and prolongs longevity of the trees productive life.
  • Shade trees may form an important component of agro-forestry complex where they provide timbers or fire wood.
  • Shade trees fix nitrogen and some species contribute as much nitrogen per ha per year.

Alight shade cab be provided by planting 20 shade tree at the spacing of 40ft to 50ft per hectare.

Pruning:

Pruning is the regularly removal of suckers usually every two months in the recommended system of mature coffee. If suckers are allowed to overgrow, particularly during the main cropping season will rob the young berries of nutrients and lead to crop reduction. Using secateurs is highly recommended for this operation to minimize injury to plans. Cutting off weak and partly dead branches, ensure that the entire tree’s energy is directed to the young, healthy wood which will produce larger and heavier berries.

Change of cycle:

Depending on climate and soil, a tree becomes tall and difficult to harvest as the tree may reach 2.5 m to 3m in about 5 to 6 years. At this time a change of cycle should be affected. Pruning is done using a bow saw or a Sharpe pang, removing or the stems allowing only one vigorous stem which is left as a lung branch to encourage sucker growth. When the sucker are well developed, this stem is pruned off allow the development of the new suckers.

The pruning is done at the angle of about 45 degrees slanting downwards with a clean cut, the after 4 pruning cycles, the whole tree is stumped back to 30cm- 45cm above ground level.

Some of the general benefits of pruning:

  • It reduces humidity within the canopy, making the environment less favorable for pest and disease infestation.
  • Pruning facilities spray penetration if spraying is considered necessary to control pests and diseases.
  • It opens the tree to light for better flowering and fruiting.
  • It invigorates the plant.
  • It helps to maintain the correct balance between leaf and crop.
  • It facilitates the achievement of regular cropping through regulating of size of the crop.
  • Selective pruning ensures that healthy wood is available for carrying the next crop.
  • Pruning facilitates harvesting by controlling the shape and height of the coffee tree within manageable size.

By

Mulopi Joseph

Celac mayuge farmers net work.    

     

 

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