August 20, 2019
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Pruning Workshop Handout

Pruning Coffee – Bob Smith and Bob Nelson

Friday-January 22, 2016 “COFFEE TALK” Presentation 9am

WHY:  Coffee trees require yearly pruning to remove unproductive branches and to make space for new vigorous growth.  Coffee verticals have a growth cycle of 3 years.  Maximum production is achieved the 3rd year. Growth thereafter is on a biennial schedule with high yield/low yield in alternating years.  Approximately 1/3 of the verticals will be removed yearly.

WHEN:  The pruning season begins usually in January.  The pruning “window” is January- April, so pruning should be done  when moisture conditions are conducive for new vigorous growth. 

1) Kona Style or Multiple Verticals
This method treats every tree individually with verticals of all ages on the same tree.  This method allows much leeway on the number of verticals per coffee stump.  Usually, it consists of 2 verticals each of the different ages – (2/1 year, 2/2 years and 2/3 years) – though this method can have endless variations and some verticals can be even taken to a fourth or fifth year.

2)  Beaumont/Fukunaga Method
This pruning method recognizes the 3 year cycle and treats every tree, in a row, the same way.  Thus 1 row will be pruned each year, resulting in rows of 1, 2 and 3 year old verticals.  This method is the easiest to master and most economical, however it allows for no variation.

Pruning results in a mess! Pruned verticals can be mechanically chipped or hand cut and mulched or simply piled up and allowed to decompose naturally.
**Note that returning the pruning matter to the ground adds organic material back to the soil.  Burning prunings is not recommended as it is a waste of potential nutrition and burning pollutes- something not desirable in the already voggy Kona.

1) When pruning a coffee tree for the first time, cut at approximate height of 24” – 30”.
2) On older trees, prune off verticals approximately 1”- 2” above stump.
3) Allowing prunings to lie in place until the leaves fall off is a good way to redistribute leaf litter.  It also lightens up the vertical, making it easier to deal with.
4) Remove all sucker growth at the time of pruning.