Light Prune/Cut Across Prune (LP/CA)
Light pruning is carried out using a pruning knife that is not less than 450g in weight (20 cm knife). Splitting of branches and uneven cut is harmful. The cut should be clean, sharp and slanting. The cut ends should face inwards. If the pruning is done with lighter knives, wood splitting may occur.
A minimum of 4-5 cm new wood should be left at the time of pruning. A cut at low measures (i.e. leaving a little new wood) stimulates janam axil buds also to grow into a primary. As a result of inadequate allowance left after each pruning the wood at the pruned level fuses into a lump or a knot. From a knotty frame, the primaries go banjhi before attaining the tipping height.
The thickness of wood at the pruning height is another consideration. If, in the intended year of pruning the wood is not suitably thick, pruning is postponed by a year or more. On the other hand, in some vigorous tea under favorable growth conditions, stems thicken up rapidly and pruning at normal height compels to cut very thick stems. In this case, the height has to be increased to avoid cutting very thick stem. However, it is not advisable because rapid increase in frame height necessitates heavy pruning at shorter intervals.
A Light Pruned Bush Before Cleaning Out
At the time of light pruning, knife cleaning out (KCO) should also be done. This operation involves the removal of the dead, diseased and crossing branches, dwarf banjhi shoots and snags from the bushes. However, excessive cleaning should be avoided.
Presence of banjhi shoots on a pruned bush retards the growth of new shoots resulting in the loss of second flush crop. Weak and crossing branches also tend to congest the centre of the bush and decrease the yield. Thus, judicious cleaning out maintains bush sanitation and increases its yield.
Cleaning out should be done soon after pruning and under no circumstances should it be delayed beyond the natural bud break time which depends on weather and the vigour of the bush. The vigorous sections should be cleaned out first.
A Light Pruned bush After Knife Cleaning Out
Size of Pruning knife
For carrying out the light prune in younger tea, the knife with 15 cm blade should be used. A knife with 20 cm blade is suitable for light prune/cut across prune in mature tea. The weight of the knife used for light prune should not be less than 450 gm. Lighter knives cause wood splitting. For cleaning out operation (KCO), a smaller knife of 7.5 -10 cm blade should be used.