Tea is among the best industrial crops grown in kenya in kenyan highlands and small scale owners contribute up to 60% while the other 40% is by private companies. I have been able to analyse the three methods that are used into bringing up tea in the plantation.
when tea leaves are left unpruned they will be forced to grow upwards therefore,after field establishment the plants are encouraged to grow laterally ;this is to ensure provision of a permanent wide frame for the plucking table that has to be contious with no gaps between the tea bushes
This process of frame formation so as to achieve a continuous plucking table is reffered to as bringing young tea into bearing.
After the new lateral branches emerge,the apical shoot(2 leaves a bud) is now removed at a height of 20,30 and 40cm
The plucking table is then formed by tipping at 60cm above the ground and therefore all the shoots exceeding this level by about 15cm are removed.This process is repeated 3 to 4 times so as to obtain a flat plucking table.
After the new lateral branches develop and reach a height of 60cm they are bent outwards at an angle if about 45 degrees and spread out and then pegged down usinga piece of bent wire.
Bending forms a wide frame and if the branches are well positioned , auxiliary buds along the bent branches develop into shoots that form the foundation of the plucking table.
The teo main importance of pegging is that :
a) Pegging avoids shock caused by pruning
b) Pegged tea comes into bearing earlier than pruned tea.
Reasons for pruning established tea
1 To open up the canopy encouraging light penetration
2 To keep the bush at a height which is convenient gor plucking operation
3 To stimulate new growth since yield reduces quantitavely with time
3 To ensure an even layer such that all leaves receive maximum light.
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