Coffee Planting Operation

  Coffee is propagated by seeds around 1000 plants can be accommodated in an acre. Seeds are raised in primary nursery and then transplanted to poly bag filled with soil, compost and sand in 6:2:1 ratio (basket nursery) at button stage. The ideal time of planting spreads from June-December. Uprooting and in situ burning should be done to remove the ground level bushy growth. Selective retention of evergreen trees providing filtered shade at a spacing of  9-12 m is desirable pits of size 45 c m x 45 c m x45 c m are to be opened during the months of April May and exposed to sun for about a fortnight to kill soil pests like cockchafers (root grabs) nematodes etc.

Later they should be filled with top fertile soil and well decomposed farmyard manure or compost (1-2kg/ pit). Disease free vigorous seedlings are selected for planting. Seedlings with stunted and twisted roots are discarded. Roots plants (aged 16-18 months) with and without ball are planted during June and bag plants are generally planted during September-October. The Arabica verities are planted at around 2×2 m spacing and robusta are planted at around 3×3 m spacing. A hole is made at the centre of the pit after levelling the soil. The seedlings is placed in the hole with its taproot and lateral roots spread out in proper position. The hole is then filled with soil. In case of ball and bag seedlings the bottom portion of the bag is cut and the tip of the root is nipped. The seedlings are gently removed from the bag with its soil and root system intact and planted in the hole pack the soil around the seedlings 3 c m high above ground to prevent water stagnation.

After care operation

After planting the coffee seedlings should be provided with staking and mulching to protect against wind damage and to be conserve soil moisture for the ensuing dry period. The soil erosion attains serious dimension on steep slopes without proper shade coverage. In such fields, contour planting and terracing should be practiced. It is advisable to plant temporary shade trees like Dadap at 4.5 -6 m apart spacing initially for providing optimum shade to young coffee plants on Dadap for every two coffee plants is recommended.

Grass and other weeds should be eradicated in the first year itself by digging or using appropriate weedicide depending on the nature of the weeds. The soil around the seedlings should be mulched properly and shade has to be provided to individual seedlings to protect against direct sun.  Usually, coffee both Arabica and Robusta is trained on single stem. When the plants reach a decide hight of 75 cm for Arabica and 105 -120 cm for Robusta, they are topped i.e., growing apex of the stem is severed. Low topping (60-70) is advocated in areas of severe wind and exposure. Under certain circumstances, multiple stem system is also adopted as in the case of replanted fields or when under planting is taken up keeping the old plants under multiple stem system.

coffee fertilizing

Prune water shoots and diseases affected shoots before the onset of South west Monsoon. Apply chemical fertilizers as per recommendation in split doses. In sloppy areas dig trenches in the contour 45 cm wide and 30 cm deep of any convenient length. Soil conservation measures like terracing has to be done.

For inducing tolerance to drought, spray the recommended nutrient solution.1st spray :45 days after the last rainfall (usually the 2nd fortnight of January) 2nd spray :30-40 days after the 1st spray. Nutrient solution is prepared by mixing urea (1k g), super phosphate (1 kg) muriate of potash (750 gram) zinc sulphate (1kg) One litre of nutrient solution should be sprayed per robusta coffee plant.

Foliar application of anti transpirants like Ralli Dhan 110 @ 200 ml in 200 litres of water (0.1per cent ) is also useful for drought management in coffee. Spraying of growth regulators like Planofix, Hormonal, Agrona etc could increase the yield and reduce fruit drop. They are given as foliar application 10-15 days after blossom. (1st spray) and during last week of May before onset of South West Monsoon. (2nd spray) Wherever water is available, overhead irrigation by sprinkler system is adopted to a greater advantage during November January to keep the soil moisture level and in February-April for ensuring blossom as well as backing if necessary. During the dry seasons, stems of young Dadap are either painted with dilute lime solution or wrapped in agave leaves to protect them from sun scorch.

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