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Help Save My Coffee Tree!

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by Jellin on May 23, 2005 04:52 AM
I have a potted coffee tree (Coffea Arabica)that appears to be dying. Last year was the first year I had beans and it has been healthy all along. Over the past two weeks, the leaves have fallen off and those remaining on the tree are all limp, flat and pointing downward. I love this tree and want to save. Please give me some help!!!

Thanks Everyone,

by Longy on May 24, 2005 03:10 PM
Hey Jellin, coffee hates to get dry roots. It will do exactly as you say. (Not like a trained dog, i mean it'll do exactly as you describe.) Maybe try dunking the entire pot into a tub of water and leave it there for an hour or two. Sometimes potted soils can become water repellant and the water you give can just run thru and out the bottom. Also check for collar rot which is from maintaining too much moisture right up against the trunk. This can rot the bark effectively ringbarking the plant. Let us know what you find and we may be able to suggest some next steps:)
by jgeoff on June 16, 2005 01:31 AM
Okay, well, I don't know a thing about growing trees, but I've had a couple of coffee plants for many years now. [Wink]

In the early 90's I purchased 2 coffee plants (saplings) from a catalog that were just a few inches tall. Since, they ended up taller than me. [Smile] I've never really taken great care of them, and often found them wilted from lack of water, but they always grew well outside in the warm weather where it was easier to take care of them.

I'm having a problem pruning -- new branches don't seem to grow after I snip off the dead or gangly ones. As a result, I have very little foliage on the bottom half of one of them. On the other, it's all on the bottom and I have a 4 foot (or so) bare stump of a trunk!

(See pics below)

These have never really produced more than a couple beans per year, but I got them for conversation, not really to make coffee. [Smile]

My question is, how much/where can I safely cut these back, and when should I do it? The tall one is way too tall, and the shorter one is kinda ugly. lol


Any advice would be great, thanks!

Shorter plant:

Bottom view of tall plant (left), shorter plant (right):

Top view of tall plant:

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First Year Pepper Grower : Habanero, Red Chile, Jalapeno, Cayenne, Hot Banana, Hot Cherry, Tabasco, Thai, Giant Serrano, Peter, NM Big Jim, Arbol
by Longy on June 18, 2005 03:27 AM
Hi jgeoff. You coffee plants look like they are starving for direct sunlight. This may explain why they won't produce lower growth too as they put all the energy into the uppermost branches looking for the light. The brown tips look familiar too. I can't remember for sure but it may be a lack of potassium causing that. A regular fertilise with an all purpose fertiliser will help.
Re the smaller one, i'd cut that big stick out of the middle to an inch or so above the first new branch, give it a soak and a feed and leave it in a slightly sunnier spot. Or even a spot where they get dappled sun all day rather than what looks to be a whack of sun very briefly thru on part of the day and then shade. Even brighter shade would help. The bigger one looks like it needs the same savaging and feeding etc but it's hard to tell where to cut it. I'd be tempted to take it down to the bottom branching actually. By the way, it would be a good time to pot them into bigger pots too by the look of them. Use a quality potting mix and trim any big ugly roots off, especially if they're growing round the inside of the pot and put them in pots about half as big again.

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The secret is the soil.
by jgeoff on June 18, 2005 06:42 AM
Thanks for the tips, Longy!

I pruned more from both of them, and will do it a little at a time to be sure they're okay.

They probably do need a re-potting -- it's been like 10 years. [Frown] I just wish I had more room for bigger pots, especially when they come inside for the Winter. Then again, they can get pretty big with these pots, and I don't want them getting too tall! But at the very least perhaps I should replace the soil. When do you think would be a good time to do that, Fall or Spring?

I also wish I had not only a big balcony, but one that didn't face West. I don't get any good direct sun until like 3PM in the Summer. [Roll Eyes] But hopefully I'll move soon and pick a place better suited to gardening! [Big Grin]

Thanks again!


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First Year Pepper Grower : Habanero, Red Chile, Jalapeno, Cayenne, Hot Banana, Hot Cherry, Tabasco, Thai, Giant Serrano, Peter, NM Big Jim, Arbol

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