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Field Preparation for Tea

India is the world’s second-largest tea producer. India’s climate and conditions are some of the finest to grow tea. In the year 2020-21 India produced 27 million tons of tea. India is also the world’s third-largest tea consumer. There is a variety of tea that has a distinguished taste, and these tea’s have been given the name of the places from where they are grown. Some of the most distinguished tea are Assam, Darjeeling, and Dooars. India’s major export destinations are Iran, UAE, USA, UK, ​​Poland, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Japan, Pakistan and Australia.  

Difficulty Level: Hard

Selection of Seeds:

Various varieties from various countries flood the market every year. However, some of the more popular types are the ones that have been cultivated for decades past. Some of the popular varieties are Pandian, Sundaram, Golconda, Jayaram, Evergreen, Athey, Brookeland, BSS 1, BSS 2, BSS 3, BSS 4, and BSS 5.

Tea Seed Treatment

Tea is usually propagated through grafts and clippings. Cuttings are usually done during the early summer months (April – May). This way the mother plant has suitable conditions to recover from shock and the graft will have favorable conditions to stabilize. The tea clippings are sometimes bound with moss to speed the healing process. 

Nursery Bed Preparation for Tea

The nursery is built in a shaded area or with shade nets. The grafted ones are provided with a polythene tent to provide humidity and regulate. Polythene bags are used for propagation. The bags are filled with MOP, Magnesium sulphate and Zinc sulphate. Sand, loam and compost should be filled in the polythene bags at the ratio of 1:1:3 . 

Land Preparations for Tea

Hills are cleared out and the slopes are cleared off of debris. The land should be ploughed twice and 100 kg/ha of rock phosphate and N: K at the ratio of 2:3 should be applied. As most of the tea plantations are grown in hilly areas, manure is not applied. The grafted stock starts to root after 90 – 100 days. The plants are planted with the root structure attached to the mud core.  There are different ways of planting, there are single, and double hedge systems.  

Soil Type Requirements for  Tea

Tea requires acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5 with high organic matter. At 1000 – 2500 m elevation the performance of tea is excellent. The optimal temperature for tea cultivation is 20 – 27oC.


Tea is a perennial crop that doesn’t need replanting unless due to damage. Tea is a long-term crop and can start cultivation after two years. Tea leaves are cultivated and processed. Tea is a hard crop that takes a long time to cultivate and process. Tea, however, is harvested for its leaves which are easily grown. 


  1. How is tea planted?

Tea is planted in contour by the following two system; 

  • Single hedge system: 1.2 x 0.75 m spacing – 4370 plants/acre  
  • Double hedge systems:1.35 x 0.75 x 0.75 m spacing – 5341 plants/acre 
  1. What is the fertilizer recommendation for tea cultivation?

Fertilizer application for tea should be done 2 months after planting. Phosphorus should be applied at 32 – 40 kg/acre as Rock Phosphate once in a year by placement at 15 – 25 cm depth upto the 1st pruning and thereafter once in 2 years. N:K ratio 1:3 should be adopted for the first three years and the ratio 1:1 thereafter. 

The general dose of N: K recommendation for 1st year is 73:109 kg/acre, 2nd year is 97:146 kg/acre, 3rd year is 121:182 kg/acre and 4th year onwards is 121:121 kg/acre. 

Nutrient  Fertilizer  Dosage (kg per acre) 
1st year  2nd year  3rd year  4th and above 
N  Urea (or)  158  210  262  262 
Ammonium Sulphate  509  146  874  581 
K  Muriate of Potash (MOP) (or)  182  244  304  202 
Sulphate of Potash (SOP)  218  222  364  242 

(Note: The fertilizers should be applied before the onset of monsoon. It should be broadcasted around the drip circle avoiding contact with the collar.) 

  1. How is the preparation of tea cuttings done?

Cuttings are taken on April – May and August – September. Semi hard-wood cuttings are prepared with one leaf and an internode with a slanting cut at the bottom. 

  1. What is ideal season for planting tea?

There are two seasons for planting tea adopted by Southwest monsoon areas during June – July and Northeast monsoon areas during September – October. 

  1. What is the composition of tea nursery fertilizer mixture?

The composition of tea nursery mixtures are as follows: 

Ammonium Phosphate (20:20)  : 60 parts 
Potassium Sulphate (or)   : 24 parts 
Muriate of Potash  : 20 parts 
Magnesium sulphate  : 16 parts 

Stock solution is prepared by dissolving 30 g of the above mixture in 10 litres of water. This can be sprayed over 2 m2 (450 plants) at weekly interval for plant growth. 

  1. Which style of planting is best for cultivating tea – Single or double hedge system?

Double hedge planting is best for cultivation because it will accommodate a greater number of plants per unit area. Early high yield, better soil conservation, less weed growth, efficient cultural practices and better vision are other advantages of double hedge planting style. 

  1. Suggest some tea varieties?

Pandian, Sundaram, Golconda, Jayaram, Evergreen, Athrey, Brookeland, BSS 1, BSS 2, BSS 3, BSS 4, BSS 5, Biclonal seed stocks and grafts are some tea varieties. 

Note: The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Nothing herein shall be construed to be financial or legal advice. Pesticides are a considerable risk of loss in crops and viewers are advised to do their own research before making any decisions.

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