Irrigation solutions for Tea crops
Tea plant is a shrub that develops in tropical or subtropical climates, coming from continental China, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Japan, Nepal, Austria and Kenya. Tea trees are cultivated in gardens, huge forests of small trees. The bigger producers worldwide are China and India; both produce the 50% of the total. The tea production is very competitive all around the world. Not technified irrigation systems, obsolete and the lack of water are the most important factors that reduce the tea production.
It requires an environment without freezes and grows properly with temperatures among 15 and 25 ºC. Temperatures out of this range provoke a reduction of the output.
The soil must be porous and deep because the roots of the tea tree can reach until 6m deep. The plough layer must be at least of 1,5m. The optimum soil is young and volcanic, very permeable and rich in humus, nor basic neither too clayey. The tea cultivation is made in slopes, this is due the crop does not stand the stagnant water. The crop has the advantage to adapt itself to mountain relief with big slopes.
One year after the plantation of the shrubs, it is important to prune with the aim of forming a hedge of approximately one meter height, making the harvest easiest, specially the higher ones, rich in tannins and caffeine. Five years later, when the plantation start producing, periodic prunes are made, maintaining the harvest at the same height.
The design of the crop and the plantation distances vary with the production area, among 3000 and 5000 plants/hectare in plantations of low density.
The drip irrigation erases the common uncertainly of the agricultural tasks depending on the water coming from the natural phenomenon. Drip irrigation in tea crops offers a continuous water supplying and a minimal evapotranspiration that allow an important saving of water and nutrients. Furthermore, thanks to this system, the production costs decrease, obtaining bigger and better quality productions.