Coffee Board of Kenya Monthly Bulletins April 1952

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Experience has left little doubt that the multiple stem system is the more economic producer of coffee in this lower belt.Perhaps 80% of the plantations therein are now established on some modification of it.It cannot be categorically stated that the single-stem tree is a failure below 5,300 feet,but it certainly is harder to utilise as a producer of coffee berries than the multi-stem.The wood ages too quickly in the hotter areas,and primaries too soon adopt the hoary and gnarled appearance of senility.This defeats the planter and his pruners,as well it may,since the problem of keeping the tree in good shape as regards frame,and at the same time providing enough young wood for metabolism and bearing,is a knotty one,Balance is very hard to obtain,and is too easily upset by an abnormal season, and the crop is harder to regulate without upsetting the framework of the tree,Pruning alone,however,cannot produce economic crops,and it is the underground state of the tree that is the final and most important factor ; senseless pruning can spoil a crop,but the best pruning in the world cannot induce a badly nourished coffee tree to bear consistently.
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