In Japan, March to April is the most suitable time for planting tea in the field. It takes between four and eight years for the newly planted seedlings to reach maturity. Usually from the second year, bushes are trained into the desired shape. Through pruning, the height of the main trunk is curbed and lateral branch growth is promoted. The objective of pruning is to obtain even foliage cover at an early stage and expand the plucking surface area.
The tea plant is pruned every year in spring, and is skiffed in autumn of the third or fourth year after planting. These treatments increase the number of branches and plucking surface areas. The first harvest can be done in the second year after planting but the yield is very low. Maximum productivity is reached by fifth or sixth year after planting. Under favorable conditions by the management (pruning) in Japan, the productivity remains 25 to 35 years. In the case of the Yabukita cultivar, pruning is done to a level of 15-20 cm in the second year after fixed planting, 25-30 cm in the third year and 35-40 cm in the fourth year.
In East African countries viz., Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, bringing tea plants into bearing by pegging is popular because it encourages early spread and results in higher early yield compared with the traditional methods of bringing plants into bearing by a series of pruning. It also reduces the period from planting to beginning of plucking from about 36 months to about 18 months. However, in areas prone to prolonged droughts, pruning is preferred to pegging.
In Russia, young tea plantations established by seeds, the first training pruning is carried out 2nd -4th year when 75% of the plants attained a height of 23 -30 cm. In this case, plants are pruned at 12-15 cm from ground level. The second pruning is done in a year in spring at a height of 35-40 cm, and from the second part of summer, plucking of green leaves begin. Subsequent pruning is of the usual cut-across nature.