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Practices To Combat Coffee Wilt

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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  • Plant coffee on gently sloping land and avoid very steep slopes to prevent the spread of the disease through soil erosion.
  • Select deep, fertile, well-aerated and freely draining soils with and texture and rich in organic matter, because that is what the coffee needs to grow well.
  • Clear land of all tree stumps, roots and weeds that could have the disease.
  • Mark out the field using pegs at spacing of 3×3 metres for robusta coffee and 2.4 metres for arabica coffee or 10×10 feet for robusta coffee or 8×8 feet for arabica coffee between and within rows running parallel to the contour
  • Three months before planting, dig holes 60 cm deep by 60 cm long and 60 cm deep (or 2 feet wide x 2 feet long x 2 feet deep). The top soil should be placed on the upper side and the sub soil on the lower side
  • Place about 10kg, (1 tin) of manure per planting hole;
  • Fill back the holes two months before planting by mixing the manure with the top soil and placing the mixture in the hole to fill it.
  • Fix a stick in the middle of hole while filling to indicate, where the plantlet will be placed
  • Procure planting material only from certified clonal coffee nurseries, because these are trained by experts to produce seedlings.

Planting

  • Planting should be done at least after four consecutive rainy days of the rain season;
  • Water the potted cutting/seedling the day before planting
  • Planting should be done in the evening hours.
  • Remove the stick from the planting hole and make a hole large enough size to accommodate the plantlet.
  • Remove the polythene bag by cutting off its base;
  • Cut back the tap root and remove the twisted parts of the root system.
  • Place the polythene bag in the hole and gently pull up the polythene (now cylinder) out over the top of the plant
  • Caution: The used poly pots should be burnt or buried in a deep pit after removal, to prevent re-occurrence of the disease.
  • The soil is then packed round the plant and gently pressed down around the collar of the plant, making certain that the plant is at the same level in the field soil as it was in the bag. This is to avoid fungal attack that leads to collar rot.
  • Water the new plant immediately and every evening for at least four days if no rain available  
  • Provide shade to the newly planted plantlet using bamboo or tree branches

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