Skip to main content Accessibility help

Responses of Tea (Camellia sinensis) to Irrigation and Fertilizer. II. water Use

  • William Stephens (a1) and M. K. V. Carr (a1)


The water use of clonal tea (Clone 6/8) in a line-source irrigation × nitrogen experiment in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania was monitored with a neutron probe during 1987 and 1988 to a depth of 3 m and 1989 to a depth of 5 m. The results for 1989 were used to calibrate a single layer water balance model which was then used to estimate water use for the preceding 1986, 1987 and 1988 dry seasons. In the model evapotranspiration was reduced linearly when the soil water deficit exceeded a critical value of 60 mm. The model predicted water use well for unirrigated, partially irrigated and fully irrigated treatments. Total extractable water was 330 to 350 mm in the 5.5 m deep root zone and estimated annual water use in 1988/89 ranged from 800 mm for unirrigated to 1200 mm for fully irrigated plots, of which about 400 mm was used in the wet season from December to April. Water use efficiencies were between 1 to 4 kg of made tea ha−1 mm−1, increasing with improving water and nutrient status. The slope (b) of the relation between the relative yield loss and the relative reduction in water use was very steep (b = 1.3) reflecting the sensitivity of shoot growth and yield of this clone to water stress.



Hide All
Bell, J. P. (1976). Neutron Probe Practice. Institute of Hydrology Report No. 19. Wallingford: Institute of Hydrology.
Blackie, J. R. (1979). The water balance of the Kericho catchments. East African Agriculture and Forestry Journal 43:5584.
Callander, B. A. & Woodhead, T. (1981). Canopy conductance of estate tea in Kenya. Agricultural Meteorology 23:151167.
Carr, M. K. V. (1969). The water requirements of the tea crop. PhD Thesis, Nottingham University.
Carr, M. K. V. (1974). Irrigating seedling tea in Southern Tanzania: Effects on total yields, distribution of yield and water use. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 83:363378.
Carr, M. K. V. (1977). Changes in the water status of tea clones during dry weather in Kenya. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 89:297307.
Carr, M. K. V. (1985). Some effects of shelter on the yield and water use of tea. In Effects of Shelter on the Physiology of Plants and Animals. Progress in Biometeorology 2:127144 (Ed. Grace, J.). Lisse: Swets and Zeitlinger B.V.
Carr, M. K. V., Dale, M. O. & Stephens, William (1987). Yield distribution in irrigated tea (Camellia sinensis) at two sites in Eastern Africa. Experimental Agriculture 23:7585.
Carr, M. K. V. & Stephens, William (1991). Climate, weather and the yield of tea. In Tea: Cultivation to Consumption (Eds Willson, K. C. and Clifford, M. N.). London: Chapman and Hall. (In press).
Cooper, J. D. (1979). Water use of a tea estate from soil moisture measurements. East African Agriculture and Forestry Journal 43:102121.
Dagg, M. (1970). A study of the water use of tea in East Africa using an hydraulic lysimeter. Agricultural Meteorology 7:303320.
Doorenbos, J. & Kassam, A. H. (1979). Yield response to Water. Irrigation and Drainage Paper 33. Rome: FAO.
Fordham, R. (1972). Observations on the growth of roots and shoots of tea (Camellia sinensis L.) in Southern Malawi. Journal of Horticultural Science 47:221229.
Hanks, R. J., Keller, J., Ramussen, V. P. & Wilson, G. D. (1976). Line source sprinkler for continuously variable irrigation–crop production studies. Soil Science Society America Journal 44:426429.
Laycock, D. H. (1964). An empirical correlation between weather and yearly tea yields in Malawi. Tropical Agriculture (Trinidad) 41:277291.
Magambo, M. J. S. & Cannell, M. G. R. (1981). Dry matter production and partition in relation to the yield of tea. Experimental Agriculture 17:3338.
McCulloch, J. S. G. (1965). Tables for the rapid computation of the Penman estimate of evaporation. East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal 30:286295.
Morgan, D. D. V. & Carr, M. K. V. (1988). Analysing line source irrigation experiments. Experimental Agriculture 24:169176.
Penman, H. L. (1948). Natural evaporation from open water, bare soil and grass. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, Series (A) 193:120145.
Squire, G. R. & Callander, B. A. (1981). Tea plantations. In Water Deficits and Plant Growth 6:471510 (Ed. Kozlowski, T. T.). New York: Academic Press.
Stephens, William & Carr, M. K. V. (1989). A water stress index for tea (Camellia sinensis). Experimental Agriculture 25:545558.
Stephens, William & Carr, M. K. V. (1990). Seasonal and clonal differences in shoot extension rates and numbers in tea (Camellia sinensis). Experimental Agriculture 26:8398.
Stephens, William & Carr, M. K. V. (1991). Responses of tea (Camellia sinensis) to irrigation and fertilizer. I. Yield. Experimental Agriculture 27:177191.
Stephens, William, Othieno, C. O. & Carr, M. K. V. (1991a). Climate and weather variability at the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. (In press).
Stephens, William, Othieno, C. O. & Carr, M. K. V. (1991b). Yield variability at the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. (In press).
Tanton, T. W. (1982). Environmental factors affecting the yield of tea (Camellia sinensis). I. Effects of air temperature. Experimental Agriculture 18:4752.
Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (1988). Annual Report for the Year 1988. Kericho: Tea Research Foundation of Kenya.
Willat, S. T. (1971). Model of soil water use by tea. Agricultural Meteorology 8:341351.
Willat, S. T. (1973). Moisture use by irrigated tea in Southern Malawi. Ecological Studies 4:331338.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Responses of Tea (Camellia sinensis) to Irrigation and Fertilizer. II. water Use

  • William Stephens (a1) and M. K. V. Carr (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.