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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1130: XXIX International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC2014): International Symposia on the Physiology of Perennial Fruit Crops and Production Systems and Mechanisation, Precision Horticulture and Robotics

Coffee harvest management by manipulation of coffee flowering with plant growth regulators

Authors:   T.K. Matsumoto, J. Lopez
Keywords:   gibberellic acid (GA3), abscisic acid (s-ABA), coffee berry borer (CBB), yield, foliar spray, soil drench
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1130.32
Abstract:
The breaking of coffee flower bud dormancy is known to be associated with one or more significant rainfall events following an extended period of dryness. In Hawaii, lack of a distinct wet-dry season poses serious problems for coffee growers because flowering is spread over several months. Multiple flowering episodes stem from the progressive development of buds located in leaf axils of lateral branches. Flower bud development occurs as branches lengthen and grow outwards. Higher elevation and/or higher latitude generally slow the growth of both branches and their buds. Hence older mature buds are found on the inner portions of lateral branches while younger immature buds are found on outer and top branches of the trees. Multiple flowering episodes forces 3-5 harvest rounds on the same tree during the harvest season. This increases labor costs in both hand and mechanically harvested coffee farms. In addition, the constant presence of coffee berries in the field increases coffee berry borer (CBB) reservoirs in the field. In a series of trials Kona Coffee trees treated with foliar sprays of GA3 resulted in more concentrated flowering. Coffee harvests were shown to be more uniform with higher recoveries of ripe berries. Additionally, soil drenches and foliar sprays of s-ABA increased coffee yields on trees treated in Kona and Kauai. Here we present data on current experiments in Hawaii to optimize rates and timing of GA3 and s-ABA sprays on semi-commercial field plots.

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