Effect of different methods of transplanting coffee


Material Information

Effect of different methods of transplanting coffee
Series Title:
Bulletin / Porto Rico Agricultural Experiment Station ;
Physical Description:
11 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
McClelland, T. B ( Thomas Brown ), 1886-
Porto Rico Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication:
Mayagüez, P.R
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Coffee -- Planting   ( lcsh )
Seedlings -- Transplanting   ( lcsh )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility:
T.B. McClelland.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 020041877
oclc - 21269877
System ID:

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SIssued June 29, 1917.

D. W. MAY, Agronomist in Charge.
Mayaguez, P. R.

Bulletin No. 22





Assistant Horticulturist

Office of Experiment Stations,



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A" !1


[Undgrthe supervision, of A4, 0. Tiutm, Direetor- oft 0 Sttes Relations Servime.
States Department of Agriclue.],

E. W. ALLEN, Chief Of Offlee of Empe ien Stations.
W&LaEa H. EVANs, Chief of DiV18ion of Insular Staion, Office of -Exp
D. W. MAY, Agronomist in Chargt.
P. L. GILE, Chemist..
C. F. KINMAN, HFOrticfulfWrio.
R. H. VAN ZWA-LUWENB3URG, Entomolois.
E. W. BnANDEs, Plant Pathologist.-
T. B. McCLELLAND, Assistant Hrimlftr iste
J. 0. CABRERO, Assistant Chemist.
H. C. HENRICKSEN, As88itant in 4xt# o'e TVOrk.
W. A. MACE, Assistant in Extension "HQk.
C. ALEmAX, jr., Cleek.


Mayaguez, PR., January 3,0, 1,911
Slca: I have the honor to submit herewith a manusrit on Effect, of Diff
Methods of Transplanting Coffee, by T. B. -1ic~lellad assistant horticulture
The unusually favorable results secured by, the ipoved methods of
planting coffee warrant the dissemination of. thi knowledge as widely
possible among coffee planters. It is believed tha the procedure suggest
which can be easily carried out by any planter,:wl yield large retur
the labor expended.
I respectfully recommend that the manuscript bepblished as Bulletil
22 of this station.
D. Wj. WAlf,
Agronomist 44 UAWerg,
Dr. A- C. T=RjE,'
Director States Reldlion8 Seniice,
United State's Department of Agriculture 'ashfntoen, D. V.

Recommended for publication.
A. C. Tauz, Director.

Publication authorized.
D. F. HorsToN,
Secretnary of Agarmiclture.
( 2 )iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiii


Page. Page.
antroduction-------------------- 3 Summary of the results of the tests. 9
Tests of different methods of trans- Recommendations----------------- 10
planting------------------------ 3

In a previous publication of this station1 it was suggested as ad-
visable to select seed from vigorous trees and to make nurseries for
the production of vigorous seedlings, rather than to follow the almost
universal practice of using chance seedlings from any source what-
ever. The proper selection of the seed and the care of the young
plants in the nursery should be the first considerations in the develop-
ment of a plantation. The land having been properly prepared, re-
moving the seedlings from the nursery and setting them in the per-
manent location are next in their effect on the growth and vigor of
the trees.
Nearly all kinds of plants can be transplanted, but they vary,
greatly in the rapidity of their recovery from this operation, which
usually destroys a considerable part of the root system and, by sever-
ing the connection between the plant and the soil, temporarily arrests
development. In some plants this recovery is so difficult as prac-
tically to prohibit transplanting. The general practice in trans-
planting coffee has been to pull out or dig out without any adhering
soil a young tree several feet high with little care as to how many
small roots were broken off and to transplant with no leaf pruning.
This results in a severe retardation of growth or even the loss of the
The object of this publication is to report the result of a trial test
showing the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of
transplanting when applied to coffee culture, and to help correct the
bad practice just mentioned.
Location.-As the location for testing the effect of different
methods of transplanting on the early development of the coffee
'Porto Rico Sta. Circ. 15 (1912).
879810-17 (3)

i :'... ..

tree, two hillsides meeting *in a, small valley botto worve
The rows. were: mado. dowo one slope and up the-.hr
uniform- as' to their proportion. of ,good. and :poo soil, 6
typical of coffee land. 'Twenty-one trees SIwere set each row.
seedlings& were of the same age and fromn the 1908 cro of one
of Arabiani Coffee. Large holes were opened up. an filled with,,'
face soil previous to setting the trees.
Tranmplanting seedlings wills five to eix pairs.of Zeaves,--T~owa,
2.,and 3 were set in August, 1909, the young treea hving then
to six pairs of true leaves. The plants for row I er -rmnovd tr6
the nursery with as large a clod of earth surroundig the roots
the spacing in the nursery permitted, the bed beig cut with,
machete into squares approximately 6 inches acrss The
texture of the, clay allowed these blocks of 'soil tbe easmily ,I!
without crumbling. They were, thenll slightly pressd: to pr'e'v
breaig and laid "in a box .to be carried to the 1at With five o
six pairs of leaves developed& the root's were nearly: otire
clods of the size used. The plants were' set immediatly. to the -Sampo
depth as in the nursery, and the 'earth wa~s well fime around
Rows 2 and 3 were 'set with plants having the roo systems bayre
earth. The upper lea vres were slightly -pruned to peent top-hen~i'-
ness. Care was taken in removing the plaints fro the nursery
avoid as much. as possible any damage to the roots. Asthe taproots-
in, most. *instances were badly curled and twisted, thos of the plants
for row 2 were clipped just above the twist, general about anminch*
b~elo-vi the root collar, in order to force straight groth. The few'
straight taproots were clipped where they bent easily while the si&6
roots were lightly pruned. For row 3 the roots wer left unpruned.
The plants were set to the same depth as in thi nrsery and the
earth carefully filled in around the roots.
For the first few months after transplanting row 1 eemed slightIi
more vigorous than row 3. At one year from' settn no_.differenca,

in vigor could be noted between rows 1 and 3, but bohwere superior,
to row 2, the trees of which had been severely root-pruned. From
row I tw~o trees had died; from row 2, six trees; an from row 3.
three trees. Of the trees with severely pruned rootsmre than' twice
as many were lost the first year as of the corresponing trees with

unpruned roots. fq
The condition of the trees at, the end of the firt year in :dicated

that when seedlings with five to six pairs of leaves ar transplanted,
as good results may be had~from careful transplanti with the root
system bare of earth as with the roots incased in a balof earth fromo,
the nursery, a process involve ing more labor.
I~m Pot RioSa u.1 11)

r Transplanting older seedlings.-In August, 1910, six additional
1i rows were set with plants which had been left in the nursery a year
longer than those in the previous experiment. The average plant
had from two to four pairs of branches. The manner of transplant-
ing was the same as that of the year previous. The trees for row 4
S were removed from the nursery with a large ball of earth. The in-
Screased extension of the root system necessitated the clipping of some
Roots. The plants of rows 5 and 6 were set with roots bare of earth,
those of row 5 severely cut back, and of row 6 as nearly intact as
possible. On one hillside the trees of these three rows had the leaf-
age reduced by cutting away one-half to two-thirds of each leaf, but
this leaf pruning showed no measurable effect on the growth at the
end of a year, the two groups varying only 0.4 inch in average
height per tree.
S The root treatment of rows 7, 8, and 9 corresponded to that of
rows 4, 5, and 6, respectively, but their stems were all cut at a height
Sof 4 to 6 inches.
As the root pruning given rows 2, 5, and 8 was due to an abnormal
condition, these rows should be considered in a separate group. In
transplanting older seedlings in these tests, and in other instances
since, it has been observed that many trees with a badly twisted tap-
root will send down a strong, straight root from above the twist,
thus remedying the trouble without aid. The very radical prun-
ing of rows 7, 8, and 9 also puts these rows in a class to themselves.
Two months after setting all rows looked thriftier than those with
severely pruned roots. Most of the stumps of rows 7, 8, and 9 had
developed shoots 2 inches high. At 4 months after setting the trees
which had been transplanted with a ball of earth looked more vigor-
ous than those in the corresponding rows set with trees with bare
Table I gives the growth and. production of the trees in 1911
and 1912:
TABLE I.-Gro'wth andi production of trees iin. planting No. 1.

Number of living Average height
trees. per tree. Number Total
Treat- of pro- yield of
Row. Date of transplanting. ment. during coffee
August, Septem- August, Septem- trees, cherries,
1911. ber, 1912. 1911. ber, 1912. 1911. 1912.

Inches. Inches. Quarts.
1 August, 1909............ E....... 17 17 33.6 62.0 6 14.8
2 ....do................... BP...... 12 11 31.9 65.4 4 12.7
3 .....do................... B...... 1S 18 34.7 61.4 5 16.9
4 August, 1910............ E ....... 21 21 42.0 71.5 5 17.9
5 .....do................... BP...... 20 17 34.2 64.4 0 8.4
6 .....do............... B....... 21 19 31.1 57.9 0 8.9
S7 .....do................... EC..... 19 18 17.4 39.8 0 1.0
8 ... do................... BPC.. 151 12 11.7 33.5 0 .2
9 i.9 do..do.......... .... BC...... 16 14 13.3 35.7 0 .3

S E, roots in ball of earth; B, roots bare of earth; P, roots severely pruned; C, stems cut at height of 4 to
l6 inches

ByAiia, 1911 "rows 1 1, t, sAd OS had lost 16
5,and 6 had lost only one. This' indicated that at qe
might, be obtain ed by leaving' the trees in the x Grfer
s~~chnd~~ sumratp lnig taby setting outsal
with five'to, six pairs Of leaves In -Seteiber,. IM1, row 4
only o-ne which'had lost no trees.
IAugut 11,tearage height per tree rro 4
inches gred.te tan "that of the next: tallest ro*'smid 10.6
greater than' the average height of the trees o row6 e
same time but with the roots bare-of 'earth. When: co'nsideb
-hstime, in lines transverse tolthe 'rows and to :thei sl!*61
hill, 48 of the. 56 living trees of rows- 1, 8, and 6 were shortxw tha.&
correspondingly placed trees of row 4. Measuremeftts mude ik
tember, 1912, showed the average height per tree of row' 4 wo :b
inches greater than the average height per tree for r-6ow.
.In 1911 four to s~ix trees in each'of rows 1 to 4produced-
coffee, but no other trees in the planting gave any co.This i"ti
cated that, early, prduct i on can be 'secured either by ;Mttinj, qdito
young plants or by transplanting older ones with: &:ball of iWas
Incasing the roots. .While the avraeyild pe te 0n 99*Q
rows 1and 3 exceeded that of row 4, the.total field of row:4 *a&*
greatest of any: row and doubled that of ro6.
Iii transplanting trees about 20-months old, as.' in this: instau*
better development and, earlier yield can be secured by movming
plants 'With the roots incased in a ball of earth. Transplanting-.
lings a year younger than these necessitates caring for the plsotatisa*
for an additional year, a, much more costly proceeding thau keeping
the nursery in-condition. Also, the very small trees, less ableto co%*
with adverse conditions, are more apt to be lost, leaving spaces-to
be refilled.
The slight growth and meager crop of rows 7, 8, and:9 show theo*
trees to have been retarded in their development a full year by tof
cutting back of the young trees to 4 to 6 inch stumps on tratz1
As a check on rows 4 and 6 of the preceding test, each of two-
small beds in a. location shown by the growth of near-by coffee tfeein,,*
to be well adapted to this crop was set with 10 trees of Arabian cofiha
from seed planted a little more than 21 months before. In eachbedm('
five trees were set with roots in a clod of soil from the nursery p
five with roots bare of earth. As the trees were to be left only
short time, a close planting with consequent uniform conditions s
The combined height at the time of setting of the 10 trees trapt.

10 trees transplanted with roots bare of soil, 313 inches. Six months
i later the former measured 421 inches in height, the latter 384j
i inches, an increase of 1144 inches for those transplanted with roots
in the block of soil from the nursery, but only 714 inches for the
trees transplanted with roots bare of soil. At the end of a year the
Former had increased in height 2524 inches and the latter 226 inches,
i an 11.7 per cent greater gain for the trees transplanted with their
roots -incased in soil.
S At 18 months from transplanting, although three trees of each
Group were yielding nothing, the remaining seven trees of those set
with clods were producing 352 drupes, as compared with 115 drupes
.from the seven check trees, the first yield from the trees set with
soil-incased roots being three times as great as that from the trees
set with bare roots.

Balled v. bare roots for transplanting.-To test the two methods
on a larger scale, 321 trees of San Ramon coffee from seeds planted
in February, 1913, were set in 34 rows, August 10-11, 1914. To
make the conditions of the experiment uniform alternate rows were
used to form the two groups, group 1 consisting of trees removed
from the nursery with balled roots and unpruned leaves, and group
2 of trees with bare roots and half of the foliage removed. The
latter were carried from the nursery to the field in dampened sacks
Sto prevent wilting. Rain soon followed the transplanting, and con-
Sditions were very favorable.
SSan Ramon is a coffee of a more dwarfed and stocky habit of
growth than the typical Porto Rican coffee. This varietal difference
Accounts for the much slower increase in height of San Ramon. The
comparative differences, however, between the two groups of the ex-
periment are very marked.
Measurements of the height of the trees were made at regular
intervals during the two years of the test, and the results are shown
in the following table:

TABLE II.-Two year' groicth of San Ramon coffee.

SAverage height per tree. Increase
Aug. 19, Feb. 19, Aug. 18, Feb. 19, Aug. 18, height in
1914. 1915. 1915. 1916. 1916. two years.

Inches. Inches. Inches. Inches. Inches. Inches.
Group ------------------------------................................... 18.5 23.0 29.5 33.1 41.6 23.1
Group 2 ................................... 19.9 21.2 25.0 28.3 36.0 16.1
Difference in favor of group 1 ........ 1.4 + 1.8 + 4.5 + 4.8 + 5.6 + 7.0

11=* : PKi .

Thes mesureent shw that, though thie Jutipl a_
in. favor of group 21 the. increase. in height made by group.
first six: months after transplanting was: more, than three t
Inad bygroup 2. .In the first year the Average ,height pert
group 1 incrased 11 1inheb s. w h ile, thatt or group 2 increww
5.1- inches. That this more rapid growth of. rop 1 ove
continued throughout the first two years is show by tho m'
difference at each measuring between the. average height. pertre
the two grou ps. .At the end of the two years the naw. gravttj
measured by the increase in, height, made :by the Irees wh"
been set with their roots in a ball of earth from the nurber
more than 43 per. cent greater, than that. made. by those which V
transplanted with, their roots bare of earth.- This increased-
and vigor is most certainly worth a little extra' labor and
The effect of the two different methods of transplantmin'W
equally pronounced on the early yieldo h re.N re
ever were lost in the first year. Of the 156 treekcmrie 1-f
1, 53 trees, or 34 per cent, fruited at one year -from setting, he4t,
the 165 trees comprised in group 2, only. three trees, -or 2. per,"
fruited. As the first crop is usually ,small,, it was not measud g
In the course of the second year, 'one tree: was lost from. ru:
and seven trees were lost from group 2. -At two years from set
148 of the 155 trees of group- 1, or 95 per cent, were, fruiting whlt.

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of the 158 trees-of group 2, only 184 trees,. or 85 per cent., prdat
'fruit., The crop from each group was measured in unpulped 6(4
cherries and is shown in Table III.

TABLEri III.-Yieldl of Sant Ramon coffee at -two Vear8 fromf setting.

Yield of 0offee eed.
Date of picking.

Liters.' 1W-'
A ug. 8,19 6... ... .... .... ... .............. ............................... i
A u g 0 8 1 9 1 6 .- - -. . . .
Augt.93,1916 .....................'........ ....................................... 0
Sept. 5 1916.. .. .. .. .. ... ........... 63o ",
Oct.3 1916. .... ....................*... ............... .- -.......................
O t:1.1 1916... .... . . ................... 6.9-
,c 1916.. ............................................. .................... 7.10
NOct: 14 1916 ...................................... ............................. 9.91 .
Oct. 1 1916 ...................................... ..................... 7.4
Nov 29, 1916 .................................................................... 7.1
Dec.12,1916 .................................................................. .1 .
Total.. ................................................................ 76. 9

In not a single picking did the yield from the second grou n"
proximate that from the first. For group 1 the total yield amo.
to 76.9 liters, andl for group 2, 2.8 liters, or* less than two'.f
much~~~~iiii asta fgop1.Hrigi h vr akdi

the method of transplanting is clearly shown in a much increased
tild from those trees which were transplanted with their roots in-
icated in the soil from the nursery. It is reasonable to suppose that
Sthe difference in crop will not stop with this record, but will show
f up in the future, since the difference in development of the two
groups is still evident.
Under the conditions of the experiments coffee seedlings with only
five to six pairs of leaves, when transplanted with the roots incased
in a ball of earth from the nursery, show little difference in early
growth and yield as a result of transplanting from those trans-
planted with roots bare of earth; provided the latter transplanting
is properly done.
S By leaving the seedlings in the nursery a year longer than the
Above a more even stand may be obtained, since the plants are then
thriftier and better'able to cope with unfavorable conditions. That
the nursery may be kept in condition at a cost considerably less than
that of caring for the trees after transplanting is also a factor which
makes it advisable to leave the seedlings in the nursery until the
second rainy season after planting the seed.
When the seedlings are transplanted from the nursery to the plan-
tation at approximately 18 to 20 months after planting the seed, a
considerably earlier growth and increased yield may be expected to
result from transplanting with the roots incased in the block of soil
in which the seedlings have grown in the nursery rather than with
the roots free of soil. This difference should be considerably greater
in the average planting than in the experiments reported, since in the
latter care was taken to avoid breaking and drying out the roots of
those plants which were removed without soil, a precaution not
always observed in ordinary plantation practice.
At the end of one year, in the first test reported, the trees trans-
planted with their roots incased in the soil in which they had grown
measured 35 per cent more in height than the check, and at the end
of two years, 23 per cent more than the check. Their yield the
second year was double that of the check.
In the second test the increased growth for the first year was
nearly 12 per cent greater for the trees transplanted with roots in
earth than that of the check, while their yield the second year was
three times as great as that of the check.
In the third experiment the increase in height for trees so trans-
planted was 43 per cent greater than that of the check at the end
Sof two years. At one year from setting 34 per cent of the former
i4. fruited against 2 per cent of the check trees. At two years from
.! setting 95 per cent of the trees transplanted with roots in a ball

in : at!7e

efo lantiadlCn M 01at 0oe airA

Mature feidselect e'iomn trees f JAbit6i6lety* eIfti

and.! W 011 1i uina"*siyhable*d4plt&r
logr than three or forMonth% lrftious to plantil*Ae .
drig. iiuaI Avoide. Wtthigf i111estrby, 4t6ravilit
Txe see &uldlnot pa-tU:1ptatrfWhtt
bel',a sufiekt COiein. fTh dedd eSawn i'
in bx$fd w-hich- thyca*;be ttkiO"IlAnted 40 4 M

aoi sould it ber~all wo to dry, out.'. hbadey
sud notb less than8 inches spoA,. iIeethyty
cons t> ses Ite plani N4ibsm
Too de~s, shhdi' I a na exposr Mtbiramrhl
vlded ,a:-e her, exteo wisinjurious 16 the bog d#4-"4l#p4WihA*

-Povi[ then soil ad Xposure thr~oghont? the 0hfeet"" 0J
aa fvorze 'numeros Amall scattere44 AUtsrios ttrew pr6Ydt
r an- a one d they, greaty t eliabih trmt "(W
-6 threes. athe ,timeo planting.
Traimp anig of modrately: largt.cofee seedlings ih
aheav clay soi: soid unusinby E don'e with
sWincaed n the sai -i which they grew., Many rooti,4mre
whnthe lats' are iknout and freed from- soil, of~litp
on. r~tfiW pants insc soil it is difficullt to seduire tip, e
ofros, or tol dn them, especially if the 6lky40;';*t
Aheaav cla can be ut with the aid of A spade& br a14hai
h 8s ( P1. 11fig. 1) eaiy earrie d ithou ernb IVg
lib:4 to oble, it a be reinforced. by w1rap n r.6 l
nd it he tre ith: their blocks'of bart h
imediatel ina flat traor'box,' so iirano'd with 4 phi A4A
siethat ita be carreby two men (Pl. I fig, 2) no'
The tres, rse the cri~ed to hole's prepai* 4i
poer the i ivn hih the, plantinir is made, Ahe ,i

Bul. 22, Porto Rico Agr. Expt. Station.






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for opening large holes to be filled with the best of the surface'

Very common practice, and one which is to be condemned,. is
hat of setting a tree in a depression in which soil gradually accumu-
ates, burying deeply those roots which should remain near the sur-
face and facilitating the entrance of root fungi. The tree should be
so set that in its permanent location it is no deeper than it was in
'n the nursery, with the root collar just below the surface of the soil.
:*:the earth has not been well compacted and well firmed around
..To newly set plant it will be apt to settle considerably below this


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