The Basic Needs of a Kona Coffee Tree

by George Yasuda

Each living organism has basic requirements to perform optimally. On numerous occasions I have been asked this question, “where can we grow Kona coffee trees viably?” Here are some basic answers:

1. Rainfall should be close to 6 to 8 inches per month.
2. Sun light should be about 45,000 to 50,000 foot candles per day.
3. Volcanic soil with a slightly high PH and good drainage is important.
4. Growing temperatures should be between 74½ to 90½ Fahrenheit.
5. An orchard should be in an area protected from winds that exceed 25mph.
6. In Kona the optimum elevation is between 500 to 2,300 feet.
7. A good fertilizer program is very important. Adding too little or too much of any one particular nutrient can be very harmful.
8. Correct maintenance is also very important. Herbiciding too heavily can hurt the trees.
9. Supplemental irrigation can be very beneficial. Water should be low in salinity.
10. Micronutrient supplementation can also be very beneficial. Trees can become poor performers if lacking just one nutrient even if the other nutrients are in abundant supply.

Examples of coffee trees with good nutrition (foreground) and poor nutrition (background). Good nutrition will increase yields dramatically. George Yasuda (standing on the left) is well known for his wealth of knowledge in raising world class Kona coffee orchards.

To learn more about proper coffee orchard care call George Yasuda at Tiare Lani Coffee. 808-324-1495 or email him at

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