Click here for additional information about land prep, planting, seedlings and transplanting coffee.
Seedlings grown in shallow, squat bags or pots can become J-rooted. J-rooting can also occur if a plant is grown over a large rock or other physical impediment restricting straight, downward root development in the ground or pot. Planting timing is of importance as trees left in pots and bags too long, can also develop poor root structure and become pot-bound.
Avoid purchasing or planting seedlings with taproots bent in a "J" or even "Z" shape. These bent roots will constrict sap and water flow in the young, bearing trees, which may die back or fall over. Plants with severely bent tap roots should have the bend cut off and at least the top third of the leaves pruned away to compensate for root loss while the plant recovers. Cutting off the end of the taproot encourages branching. A new technique to avoid “J-root” seedlings is using a copper hydroxide compound, Spin Out® (see Sources, p. 2) painted or sprayed on the inner surface of pots, plastic bags, or paper containers. CTAHR research found that 12-month-old coffee seedlings treated with the compound were taller, 50 percent heavier, and had a better root system than untreated plants (Nagao and Ho-a 1999).
Excerpt from Bittenbender and Easton-Smith's (2008) "Growing Coffee in Hawaii" Booklet.
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