Recent methods of young tea management emphasize on the harvesting of good crops as well as building up of a healthy permanent frame to support high yields in years to come. However, health and vigour of the plants are not sacrificed at the cost of higher yields during the formative period. A good management should strike a balance between these two factors and such tea bushes should yield anything in between 1000-4000 kg of made tea per hectare (under N.E. Indian coinditions), after fourth or fifth year of planting.
Good management practices consist of adoption of suitable post-planting operations so as to encourage early and vigorous growth. It consists of the following:
- Adoption of suitable measures to increase the root volume to sustain the growth of heavy foliages.
- Adoption of suitable measures to increase the density and area of the bush frame to facilitate harvesting of higher amount of shoots for longer periods.
- Adoption of efficient and timely plant protection measures to relieve the young plants from unnecessary external stress, thereby allowing the plants to grow with their full potential
- Judicious harvesting of shoots without affecting the health and vigour of the plants.
- Application of manures and fertilizers commiserating with the growth requirement of the plants.
- Adoption of suitable cultural operation like drainage, shade, irrigation etc. to provide a healthy environment for the luxuriant growth of plants.
One of the basic aims of training of young tea plants is to develop a good permanent frame during the formative years for sustained high yield. The frame developed during this stage is called permanent frame as the frame is not disturbed during the entire life span of the bush, unless it is damaged by diseases or other causes requiring rejuvenation by removing the diseased or damaged portions.
An ideal bush frame should be wide and compact, with adequate number of uniformly thick and distributed branches. The different methods adopted for frame formation consist of various operations, which are carried out during the initial 4-5 years after planting.
Before describing the methods, let us describe the operations that are adopted for training the plants.