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How To Propagate Coffee Seeds

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In Uganda, coffee is commonly propagated by seed. This is because it is easy and quick to raise seedlings by seed. All you do is select dried coffee seeds and plant them in a nursery bed. However, raising coffee seedlings by seed takes longer to grow than vegetatively propagated coffee, also known as cloning.

Vegetative propagation has the advantage that coffee will carry all the qualities of the parent plant. Cuttings are ideally obtained from selected mother gardens of desired varieties. Coffee plants raised from clonal cuttings bear berries 24-36 months after transplanting, whereas plants grown from seeds bear fruit.

How do I space coffee trees to maximise production?

The standard spacing is 10×10 feet between trees for Robusta and 8×8 for Arabica. This will give you about 450 trees per acre for Robusta and 680 trees for Arabica. However, there is also the ‘Brazilian model’ where over 1,300 trees are planted in an acre. This model improves yields per acre by three times. Under the Brazilian model the spacing is 4×4 feet but the coffee needs to be fed with both water and fertilisers three times more than the standard acre for better results.

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