Earlier, in N.E. India, plants following planting in the field were allowed to grow undisturbed for at least two years or even longer until the main stems become 1.5 to 2.5 cm thick at the collar. Then the plants were cut across at 45 -50 cm height from the ground and the main stems were pruned at 15-23 cm. The latter operation is known as centering. The purpose of centering was to induce branching at a lower height. The branches were then shaped by frame forming prunes into well balanced and spreading framework. However, considerable improvement has been made in bringing up of young tea.
In countries where plants were raised directly in the field by planting seed at stake (sowing the seeds in the field), seeds are generally sown very close, sometimes in circles or in clusters to make a composite bush at every spot. Centering of the plants was and still is done at 30 cm.
In many countries, stump planting is still in practice.They keep the plants for two-three years in the nursery itself and the plants are pruned between 10-20 cm when the collar diameter is 1.5 cm or more and then transferred to the field as stumps. Since, these plants have already been centred in the nursery, no further centering is usually necessary after planting in the field.
Pruning and centering of young tea plants following transplanting continued essentially in the same way for a long time. However, after the introduction of new vigorous planting materials, closer planting system and for giving emphasis on early productivity, some changes have been made in young tea bringing up. For example, stem of pencil thickness (0.7 to 1 cm) is now considered to be adequate for centering. Lung pruning of single stemmer plants, debudding, pegging etc have been introduced in young tea bringing up.