The influence of tree training and plant density on growth, yield components and yield of Arabica coffee cv. Ruiru 11.
Njoroge, J M
Chweya, J A
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Assessment of tree growth and yield components of Coffea arabica L. cv. Ruiru 11, as influenced by tree training on single or two-stem systems at densities between 1600-4800 trees per ha during the first production cycle was carried out at Ruiru, Kenya over three years. Trees trained on the two-stem system tended to be taller than those on single-stems. Although the results were not clear, trees at low plant densities had thicker stems irrespective of the training system. The total number of primary branches was significantly higher on trees trained on the two-stem system. However, bearing primaries and productive wood were higher on the single-stem system during the first year of production. The number of bearing primaries and productive wood increased in subsequent production years on the two-stem system. Training trees on the two-stem system significantly depressed yields in the first production year by 245 to 842 per cent, irrespective of plant density. Yields of clean coffee increased significantly with tree density irrespective of the tree training method. Yields over the production period increased by 33, 45, 27 and 9 per cent with increases in planting densities from 1600 to 2400, 2400 to 3200, 3200 to 4000 and 4000 to 4800 trees per ha, respectively. However, yields increased at a decreasing rate at densities above 3200 trees per ha. The proportions of the large grade 'A' sized coffee beans were not significantly affected by the treatments. It was concluded that it is possible to raise two stems during the first production cycle of 'Ruiru 11', although this might not be economical. Single stems would be preferred and a high plant density of between 3200-4000 trees per ha would be optimum during the first coffee production cycle.