Tea World

Lesson 32

Planting of Tea

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Planting is a simple process, but if not done properly, it can cause serious setback to the establishment, growth and development of the young tea. Any error at the time of planting may cause high mortality during the establishment period and may also persist for years together after planting. It is, therefore, essential to take adequate care at the time of planting

Plan before hand

  • Prepare the planting programme well ahead.
  • Take decision on spacing, planting materials and time of planting.
  • Select planting materials (clone or seed) suitable for your area..If you choose clones, don’t use only one clone. Better select 4-5 suitable clones which are doing well in and around your area.
  • Plan preparation of land by clearing the area and rehabilitating, if needed, well in advance.
  • Raise plants in the nursery previous year or arrange plants from the genuine nursery.
  • Never purchase clonal cuttings/biclonal seeds from unknown sources.

Guideline for planting

Operation/Step   Key Points
1.Time of Planting i) Autumn planting: Carry out planting during October-December while the soil is still moist after the post monsoon period. Conserve the soil moisture by mulching.
ii) Spring planting: Carry out planting during March to June after the pre-monsoon showers penetrate into the top soil.
iii) In droughty areas: Plant in spring only.
iv) In hilly areas of N.E.India: Plant during June-July.
v) Plant at any time of the year if irrigation facilities are available.
vi) Avoid planting in rainy period.
vii) Always carry out planting in moist soil only.
2. Plant Size and Age i) Select only healthy and vigorous nursery plants.
ii) Discard sub-standard plants, plants with damaged branches and leaves and broken ‘bheti’.
iii) Plants which are around 45 cm in height with a stem thickness of 0.5-0.8 cm (9-12 months old) and with 12 -16 leaves are ideal for field planting.
iv) Select plants of uniform height as far as possible.
3. Spacing and Plant Population i) Select spacing considering the type of planting materials.
ii) For the planting materials having compact frame,  select a spacing  to accommodate 15,000-16,000 plants per hectare.
iii) For planting materials  having a spreading frame, select a spacing to accommodate 14,000-15,000 plants per hectare.
iv) Maintain a minimum spacing of 60 cm between plants in a row and 105 cm between rows.   
v) In hilly areas, maintain a spacing of 90 cm between rows.
vi) Accommodate higher plant population in poor soil.
vii) Plant in single hedge only. Double hedge planting is not recommended nowadays.
4. Staking i) Make 40-60 cm long  stakes/pegs of split bamboo.
ii) Requirement of stakes is equal to twice the number of plants to be planted in a day with an additional 10 % to make the lost or damaged stakes.
iii) Use planting chain (Gunter chain) or planting Pati (with markings at the required spacing) for staking.
iv) Make reference lines or Base lines in all sides of a square or rectangle with the stakes. Use Pythagoras formula
to make a perfect square or rectangle. (See the figure below).
v) Put the stakes in the base lines at the desired spacing.
vi) Place the stakes either midway between or at the pre- determinedposition of the plants. Depending upon the position of the stakes, pit may be dug either between the stakes or at the position of the stakes.
vii) Use a notched bamboo strip to locate the accurate position of the plant.
5. Pit Digging i) Dig the pits at the time of planting only.
ii) Dig the pits making cylindrical in shape which are 45 cm in diameter and 45 cm in depth.
iii) Remove pebbles, roots and other undecomposed materials from the excavated soil.
iv) In heavy soil, loosen the base of the pit up to another 15 cm depth.
6. Pit Mixture Preparation i) Mix 4-5 kg well rotten dry cattle manure with the excavated soil. Use vermicompost, if available, in place of cattle manure.
ii) Mix Trichoderma biocide (10% suspension) with the excavated soil/compost @ 100 ml per pit.
iii) Refill the pit after mixing with the recommended doses of fertilizers, manures and chemicals.
iv) Apply 30 g Rock phosphate at the bottom of the pit and 30 g Single Super Phosphate about 5 cm below the ground level mixing with the excavated soil.
v) Apply granular systemic insecticide like Thimet 10 g (phorate) @ 2.5 g per pit in the upper half of the pit.
7. Planting i) Carry out planting during early morning or in the late evening.
ii) Fill up the pit with the excavated soil after mixing with all the materials mentioned above and press the soil inside the pit with bear feet.
iii) Alternatively, fill up the pits batch-wise and ram simultaneously after placing the ‘bheti’ of the plant in the pit properly.
  iv) Open a small hole of the size of the ‘bheti’ or polythene sleeve in the pit with a khurpi.
v) Remove the polythene around the ‘bheti’of the nursery plants before planting.
vi) Cut the over-grown roots at the bottom of the sleeves, if any, with a knife. Do not break the ‘bheti’.
v) Place the sleeve grown seedlings/clonal plants in such a way that the top of the sleeve remain just above the ground level.
vi)  Ram the soil properly around the ‘bheti’ and not on the ‘bheti’.
vii) Level the land by cheeling after the planting is over.
8. Aftercare i) Apply Chloropyrophos @ 1:300 or Endosulphan at 1:400 dilutions(HV) at the collar region of the plants against soil borne insects
ii) Apply Simazine @ 1 kg/200 litre of water or Oxyflurofen @ 0.5 litre/200 litre of water on clean moist soil as pre emergent herbicide.
iii) Spray a cocktail mixture of acaricide and insecticide against mites and insets, if necessary.
iv) Mulch the area with green vegetative materials. Don’t allow the mulch to come in contact of the collar of the plant. Mulch 10 cm away from the collar of the plant.
v) Put the mulching materials at sufficiently thickness, at least 10 cm thickness.
vi) Sow seeds of green manuring crops such as Crotalariaanagyroids after every 3-4 rows of tea and lop it periodically.
vii) Plant shade trees along with the tea

Staking for planting Tea

You should note the following:

  • Do not carry-out planting on heavy rainy days.
  • Maintain the optimum pit size. An under sized pit hamper the establishment and development of the young plant.
  • Make sure that the polythene sleeve is removed before planting.
  • While planting the roots should not be bent.
  • Ramming should be proper and there should not be any air gap.
  • Planting should be done in such a way to avoid stagnation of water around the collar of the plant.

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