Tea (Camellia sinensis L. O. Kuntze.); Camelliaceae

Pandian, Sundaram, Golconda, Jayaram, Evergreen, Athrey, Brookeland, BSS 1,BSS 2, BSS 3, BSS 4, BSS 5
Tea requires well drained soil with high amount of organic matter and pH 4.5 to 5.5. The performance of tea is excellent at elevations ranging from 1000- 2500 m. Optimum temperature is 20-27 o C.

The nursery soil should be well drained and deep loam in nature with pH of 4.5 to 4.8. The rooting medium should be tested for pH and free from nematode infestation.

Treating with Aluminium sulphate can reduce soil pH. For this purpose, the nursery soil is formed into beds of one metre width and about 8 cm height and of a convenient length. Then the beds are drenched with 2 % solution of Aluminium sulphate applied at 10 litres per 2.5 m2 of area. Over this another layer of soil of 8 cm height is spread and again drenched with equal quantity of water twice. Then the soil is allowed to dry and the pH is checked before use in the nursery
Polythene bags of 30 – 45 cm length, 10 cm width and 150 or 200 guage thickness may be used. Drainage holes may be provided. The lower 3/4 of the sleeves should be filled with 1:3 sand and soil mixture and the top 1/4 with 1:1 sand and soil mixture and staked in rows. Overhead shade is provided.
Healthy and vigorously growing high yielding bushes should be selected. For selected bush, application of 0.5 % AlSO4+ 1 % MgSO4 as foliar spray is recommended. One week later, apply 2 % ZnSO4. After one week apply 1 % Urea. Then 40 g of young tea mixture 60:90 NK mixture per bush may be applied upto 5 years.
Cuttings are taken on April – May and August – September. Semi hardwood cuttings are prepared with one full leaf and an internode with a slanting cut at the bottom.
The sleeves are watered thoroughly and holes are made in the soil. The cuttings are inserted in the hole and the soil around is pressed firmly to avoid airspace followed by watering. Small polythene tents may be provided which maintain high humidity and regulate the temperature inside. Cuttings may take 10 – 12 weeks for rooting. After 90 days – when all the cuttings have rooted, the polythene tent may be removed gradually over a period of 10 – 15 days.
After the tent is removed, the cuttings are sorted and staked. 30 g of Nursery soluble mixture of the following composition dissolved in 10 litres of water may be applied over an area of 4 sq.m. This should be done fortnightly.

Ammonium phosphate                                    (20:20) 35 parts by Weight
Potassium sulphate                                          15 parts by Weight
(or) MOP                                                             12 parts by Weight
Magnesium sulphate                                        15 parts by Weight
Zinc sulphate                                                       3 parts by Weight
Total                                                                   80 parts by Weight

Hardening of 4 – 6 months old young cuttings should be done by removing shade gradually in stages over a period of 4 – 6 weeks starting from a few hours exposure to sun every day initially and extending the time of exposure gradually.

Single Hedge System
Planted at the spacing of 1.20 x 0.75 m accommodating 10,800 plants/ha.
Double Hedge System
Planted at the spacing of 1.35 x 0.75 x 0.75 m accommodating 13,200 plants/ha.

May – June or September – October. Sleeves should be opened lengthwise without injuring the roots and planted in the pit and the soil is gently pressed.

Manuring should be done 2 months after planting. Phosphorus should be applied at 80 – 100 kg/ha as rock phosphate once in a year by placement at 15 – 25 cm depth upto the first pruning and thereafter once in two years. N: K ratio of 2: 3 should be adopted for the
first 3 years and a ratio of 1: 1 thereafter may be followed.
Year of application                         kg/ha/year                          No. of applications                                       g/plant/year

                                                                   N         K                                                                               Ammonium Sulphate                       Urea
I year                                                        180       270                                 5                                                    13                                                27
II year                                                       240      360                                 6                                                   23                                                15
III year                                                      300      450                                 6                                                   29                                                18
IV year onwards                                     300     300                                  6                                                   33                                                 19
Application of fertilizers should be done before the onset of monsoon. Fertilizers should be broadcast around the drip circle avoiding contact with the collar.

Control perennial grasses (Forbicot weeds) by spraying Glyphosate 1.75 lit + Kaoline 2 lit + 2 kg of wetting agent in 450 lit of water followed by Gramoxone 500 ml in 200 lit of water to control dicot weeds.

To induce more laterals, centering should be done 3 – 5 months after planting. The main leader stem should be cut, leaving 8 – 10 matured leaves.
First tipping at a height of 35 cm and second tipping at 60 cm respectively from ground level.

To maintain convenient height and vegetative growth and to remove dead and diseased branches, pruning is done.

Area to be pruned every year = Total extent of the garden/Pruning cycle
Pruning interval = (Elevation in feet / 1000) + 1
Pruning should be done in April – May and August – September respectively in S.W and NE monsoon areas.

Rejuvenation pruning
The whole bush should be cut near the ground level less than 30 cm with a view to rejuvenate the bushes.
Hard pruning
Formation pruning of young tea at 30 to 45 cm (12″ to 18″) for proper spread of bushes.
Medium pruning
To check the bush growing to an inconvenient height this type of pruning is done in order to stimulate new wood and to maintain the foliage at lower levels less than 60 cm.
Light pruning
Pruning depends on the previous history of the bush raising the height of medium pruning by an inch or less to manageable heights for plucking (less than 65 cm).
This is the lightest of all pruning methods. Remove the top 5 – 8 cm new growth to obtain a uniform level of pruning surface (more than 65 cm).
Shade regulation
Pollarding of shade trees should be done prior to heavy rains at a height of 8 – 10 m
from the ground level.

Annual lopping
Cutting the erect type branches on the laterals in shade trees before monsoon season.

Spray phosalone 2 ml/lit or quinalphos 25 EC 2 ml/lit or chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2 ml/lit.
Sahydrassis/Phassus borer
o Locate the particle mat covering at the base tea bush and remove
o Insert a thick wire in the bore hole to kill the larvae
Spray any one of the following insecticide

Insecticide                                                                                  Dose
Azadirachtin 5 % Neem extract concentrate                        5.0 ml/10 lit.
Azadirachtin 1.0 % EC (neem based)                                      2.0 ml/lit.
Ethion 50%EC                                                                            5.0 ml/10 lit.
Profenofos 50 % EC                                                                  2.0 ml/lit.
Quinalphos 25 % EC                                                                 7.5 ml/10 lt.

Spray phosalone 35 % EC @ 2.0 ml/lit

Red spider mite, Pinkmite, scarlet mite

Insecticide                                                                            Dose
Azadirachtin 5% Neem extract concentrate                  5.0 ml/10 lit
Azadirachtin 1.0% EC (neem based)                                2.0 ml/lit
Dicofol 18.5 % SC                                                               2.0 ml/lit
Fenazaquin 10 % EC                                                           1.6 ml/lit
Fenpyroximate 5 % EC                                                      1.2 ml/lit
Hexythiazox 5.45% EC                                                      1.2 ml/lit.
Phosalone 35 % EC                                                            1.0 ml/lit.
Propargite 57 % EC                                                            2.0 ml/lit.
Spiromesifen 22.9 % SC                                                   1.0 ml/lit.

Tea mosquito bug
 Monitoring the incidence of tea mosquito bugs at regular intervals.
 Removal of alternate hosts like neem, cashew, guava in the surroundings
 Spray any one of the following:

        o Imidacloprid (0.6 ml/l)
        o Thiamethoxam (0.6 g /l)

Blister blight
 Spray hexaconazole @ 200 ml + copper oxychloride @ 210 g/ha at 5 days interval or copper oxychloride @ 210 g + propiconazole @ 200 ml/ha at 10 days interval

CIB recommendation
 Spray carbendazim 12% + mancozeb 63% WP @ 1.25 to1.5 kg/ha

Plucking commences when the tea bush is 3 years old. The plucking of extreme tip of the growing branch consists of an unopened bud together with two leaves is popularly known as ―Two leaves and a bud‖ while fine plucking is anything less than this. Plucking continues throughout the year in South at weekly intervals during March – May and at intervals of 10 -14 days during the other months. Rush period – harvesting of 2 – 3 leaves with a bud at 7 to 10 days interval Lean period – harvesting of two leaves and a bud at 10 – 15 days interval

The yield of green leaves is 10 t/ha.

Growing Districts                              Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Dindigul, Theni, Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts
Major markets in Tamil Nadu         Coimbatore, Nilgiris
Grade specification                            Size of the tea leaves : Whole, large tea – Higher grading

                                                                 Method of production :  CTC process (Crush, Tear and Curl) and Orthodox