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Coffee leaf rust

Hemileia vastatrix
  • Hemileia vastatrix is a fungus which infects coffee trees, causing coffee leaf rust. The fungus is spread by spores between leaves, resulting is defoliation and dieback.
  • Use recommended tree spacing of 3x3m to reduce humidity and fungal spread.
  • Use of resistant varieties e.g. Catimor, S.73 or Bourbon.
  • Use of organic manure to increase nutrients for plants, as low-nutrient trees are more susceptible to rust.
  • Weeding and pruning of all unnecessary vegetation (important to do after harvest) to reduce the humid environment which supports fungal spread.
  • Regularly monitor trees for rust fungus symptoms:
    • Yellow/orange powdery spots on the underside of leaves with corresponding yellow patches on upper side. 2-3 mm diameter, will increase in size up to 4 cm.
    • Centre of spots become necrotic and turn brown.
    • Necrotic leaf area may spread until entire leaf is dead.
  • Infection of leaves results in defoliation, this may be premature in some trees.
  • Infection of tree may cause premature ripening of fruit, resulting in low quality coffee beans.
  • Prune and burn heavily infected branches, this will open up the crop area and reduce favourable environment for fungus.

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