Seed Bari

SeedbariTea seeds are produced in seed baries (orchards) planted specially for the purpose where the parents (selected generative clones) of approved stocks are established either planting directly or by grafting on any vigorous jat/clonal root stocks. Tea seeds are produced over the entire surface of a seed tree. Therefore, the planting distance between seed trees should be such that at maturity, the lower branches at the point of maximum spread of two neighbouring trees do not overlap. In general, spreading type of plants require about 5.5-6m space between them, while the erect type and Chinery plants may be planted at a closer spacing of 3.5-4.5m and 3-3.5m. The planting of seed bearers may be either square or triangular design. The number of plants varies from 330 to 1283/ha, depending on spacing and design of planting used. When the both parents are seed bearers, they are planted alternately in each row. If only one of the parents is a seed bearer, then the planting pattern is such that the male parent (pollen donor) is surrounded by a few seed bearers (female).

Seed baries can be raised on any soil suitable for tea cultivation. A well drained, fertile sandy loam to loam soil is most ideal.

Tea is a cross pollinated plant. Pollination is caused by pserphid, a small insect having a short flying range. It is therefore, necessary to isolate seed baries from other teas to avoid undesirable out crossing. A minimum distance of 10m should separate the seed baries from main tea fields.

SeedbariPlanting, after planting care and manuring are similar as that of young teas. Mature trees should be manured with NPK 2:1:2 mixture @ 100 kg N/ha/year in spring. Pruning is not recommended except to remove unwanted shoots to clear congestion which will facilitate aeration and light penetration. For higher seed production, 30-40% sunlight should reach the ground in a diffused manner. If there were large height difference between the clonal pairs (parents), balancing the height by lopping would facilitate efficient pollination. Old seed baries can be rejuvenated by heavy pruning (MP) as in tea under plucking. The major part of flower bud initiation (75%) takes place during March-June and about 97% of the flower bud formation is completed by end-September. Blossoming generally starts from early-October and ends by January with a peak period in November-December. Most of the seeds are produced from this peak flowering after 10 months. The seeds ripen by next October. The November-May period is very crucial for fruit development and moisture deficit in this period affects the seed yield adversely.

The tea fruit is allowed to dehisce on the tree and the dropped seeds are collected from the ground. As these seeds lose viability rapidly, the normal practice is to collect them everyday. Tea seeds vary in size from 10 to 22 mm dia.

Grading and sorting

After collection seeds are passed through a rotary type shifter to eliminate very small seeds. The remaining seeds are allowed to soak 2-3 hours in a trough of water. The seeds which sink (sinkers) are then spread on a plastic sheet, tarpaulin or on the concrete floor and examined for pest, disease and mechanical damage. The suspended or floating seeds (floaters) are discarded.

Storage of seeds

Tea seed is stored for a minimum period in a cool place covered by a layer of semi-moist sand or sub-soil. Rapid drying during storage causes loss of viability.

Packing

After sorting, tea seeds are packed as soon as possible. For long distance transport, the seeds should be packed in wooden boxes in units of 20 kg. Seeds are spread in layers along with packing material and covering each layer with a thin sheet of tough paper. When the box is full, a sheet of paper is laid on top and the lid is nailed down. The different packing materials used are moist sand, sub-soil, powdered charcoal, ash and their mixtures. The moisture content of the packing material varies from 10-30%. If sandy loam sub-soil is used the optimum moisture content would be 10-12% while for powdered charcoal it may vary from 25-30%. Depending on the size of the grader used a kg of graded and sorted seed may contain 300-500 seeds.