Tea is one of the oldest and most popular beverage crops that is cultivated on large as well as small-scale plantations across the world. The scientific name of the tea plant is Camellia sinensis and belongs to the Camelliaceae family. This aromatic beverage is produced from the fresh leaves of the tea plant. Tea is believed to be an evergreen shrub and originated thousands of years ago in China. Due to its several health benefits, stimulating properties, and reasonable cost, it has always been a widely famous beverage across the regions. China, India, Kenya, and Sri Lanka are the top tea-producing countries in the world. Tea is one of the favorite beverages of people in India and is always in great demand, thereby making the country the top consumer of tea as well.
Hot and humid climatic conditions are suitable for tea plantations. The ideal temperature for the growth of tea plants is 20-30° C, any level above or beyond the mentioned temperature impacts the crop yield. Tea plantation prospers in a deep, well-drained, and friable loamy soil. The best-suited range of soil acidic pH is 4.5-5.5.
India’s Scenario of Tea Production
India is the second-largest tea-producing country and in terms of export, we are in the fourth spot. Indian tea is the most sought-after amongst various countries of the world due to its finest quality. Earlier tea production was limited to Assam but gradually the plantations spread to many other states such as West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, etc. The indigenous varieties of tea are also valuable as per export point of view.
Tea production depends on various environmental factors, that also includes invasions of various crop diseases like Red rust, Brown blight, Grey blight, Blister blight, Brown root rot, etc. Amongst them, Blister blight is the most common and threatening fungal disease that affects productivity to large extent. According to estimated numbers, there has been a loss of 40-50 % of total crop yield because of the infections.
Blister blight disease in tea is one of the most damaging disease and is caused by Exobasidium vexans fungus. This destructive fungus invades the leaves of the plants and prevents them from their potential growth, resulting in loss of quality and quantity of total yield.
At the initial stage of infection small, pinhole-sized lesions start to occur on tender leaves of the plant. Gradually, with the growth of leaves, these marks increase in size, become transparent, and light brown. Almost within a week, blister-like symptoms appear on the lower surface of the leaves, surrounded by dark green, water-soaked areas. When fungal spores are released, the blister turns white and velvety. Consequently, the blister area becomes brown and results in necrosis of the leaf tissue.
Dhanuka Agritech Limited has presented a unique crop protection solution ‘Zerox’ to effectively control Blister blight disease. Zerox (Propiconazole 25% EC) is a systemic fungicide that works as a potent ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitor. It belongs to the triazole group and is also registered under CIB for tea crop plantation. Zerox provides high flexibility to the plant with its curative and eradicative formula. For effective results use 50-100 ml per acre.