For taking cuttings, the branches from the mother bushes, which are about 6mm thick at the base, are pruned using pruning knives. Cuttings taken from the primaries growing from the pruning sticks are considered to be better materials than those from secondary branches growing from the axillary buds on the primaries. During hot and dry period, the mother bushes may be sprayed with water about half an hour before taking the cuttings, so that the leaves remain turgid at the time of making the cuttings. The pruned stems should be carried to the nursery site either in loose bundles or placed loosely in basket and should never be exposed to the sun.
The cutting used for vegetative propagation of tea consists of a leaf containing about 2.5cm of stem below it and about 0.5cm of stem above it. Leaves, which are very young and tender, do not make good cuttings and only those leaves, which have become hard, are taken for making cuttings. For this purpose, the long pruning stems are tested by bending them between thumb and fingers. The soft top portion with one or two leaves, which bend easily and the very hard and woody bottom portion of the stem are not suitable and discarded. The flexible middle portion yields the good cuttings, whereas the marginal cuttings may be used separately. The best results are obtained from cuttings made from the primary shoots with dormant or slightly swollen axillary buds. The internode cuttings are prepared by giving a top cut immediately above the axillary bud parallel to the leaf blade. The basal cut should be given obliquely more or less parallel to the leaf blade about 2.5cm below the node. The oblique basal cut gives a wedge shape to the stem and prevents it from being damaged at the time of planting the cuttings.
A Single leaf internode cutting A rooted cutting