Pruning of tea is a necessary evil in the sense that in spite of the huge loss of crop due to pruning, it has to be carried out periodically. The main purposes of pruning are as follows:
- To maintain a convenient height of the bush to facilitate plucking operation.
- To check the reproductive growth and maintain the bushes more or less in a vegetative phase.
- To stimulate the production of new set of vigorously growing, leafy branches replacing the old unproductive branches.
- To remove the dead, diseased and defunct wood, pest ridden branches for rejuvenating the bushes which have crossed the period of maximum productivity.
- To minimize the formation of banjhi shoots in the plucking table.
- To maintain the quality of the made tea.
The system of mature tea pruning followed by most countries do not differ in principle but the they differ with regard to the time of pruning, length of pruning cycle depending upon the climatic conditions, type of plant ,nature of tea produced etc. However, mature tea pruning in N.E. India differs in certain respects from the pruning methods followed in other countries.
Let us first discuss about the pruning of mature tea in N.E. India and after that we will learn about pruning in other countries.