The main objectives of a good plucking policy in a tea garden are:
i) To harvest maximum shoots for manufacture
ii) To achieve a sound mix of yield and quality of the harvest.
After pruning or skiffing, new shoots develop from the dormant buds on the sticks (the portion of the new wood left in the bush after the light prune is called stick). The new shoots which develop from the dormant buds on the stick are called primaries. The primaries are decapitated or tipped at a predetermined height leaving some leaves below this level to make a flat plucking surface or table. Some of the primaries may become dormant before reaching the height. However, some of such primaries may throw out a new flush and come above the plucking level.
After a primary shoot has been tipped new shoots (laterals) arise from the axillary buds and these shoots are harvested or plucked when they grow above the tipping level. While plucking, normally a small piece of stem (stub) containing the janams are left behind on the bush. Plucking of the laterals again stimulates the production of new generation of shoots of the next higher order from the axils of the janams and the process continues. The process of harvesting the shoots above the table is called plucking in tea.
Plucking of tea in different countries differ with regards to the plucking system, plucking round, plucking period, plucking methods etc. You will be acquainted with these now.