The essentials of cacao tree pruning

The pruning of cacao trees is essential in the management of a cacao field. When done efficiently, pruning helps to increase the tree’s productivity.

Pruning generally takes place twice a year. The first pruning takes place just after the main harvest (from April to July) and just before the rainy season, and the second pruning five months later, during the months of November and December.

The objective of pruning is to give the cacao tree a structure that will help to maximise its production capacity.

Ideally, a cacao tree should be maintained at a height of approximately four metres high in order facilitate management and harvesting.

Pruning is also essential for removing pods affected by diseases such as the monilla

and for the removal of the witch’s broom which grows on the cacao tree, eventually affecting the branches and the pods.

Pruning also facilitates the entrance of sunlight, which is essential for the pollination and fecundation of the flowers and the growth of the pods. Finally, pruning strengthens the formation of new leaves and production areas, which in turn increases the trees’ productivity levels. For each pod to grow healthily, it needs 100 healthy leaves.

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Categories: Chocolate, Cocoa, Cocoa Harvest, Ecuador, Grafting, Monilla, Plantations, Pruning, Witches broom

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2 replies

  1. Hi Juliet, Great blog. I can see your passion in cacao and chocolate in your words and photographs. This post on pruning is a real nice one- something which I think is not talked about enough. The main difference between the higher yields of S American cocoa and African cocoa in my view comes out of lack of proper pruning knowledge. In Ghana- where CRIG (which you have visited as I see from a recent post) has got a massive mountain of data, pruning takes a backseat to creating hybrids and testing agro-chemicals and fertilizers. I believe pruning is a really cost effective way of increasing production and reducing pod losses which sadly the African farmer doesnot know well. Looking forward to your posts. Rahul

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