For every crop that is cultivated, there are always a host of pets that the farmer has to deal with. It is the same with the tea crop. To handle these pests farmers often resort to using pesticides and to cut costs, these pesticides are mostly cheap and harsh chemicals that destroy more than just the pests. Although the change is coming surely, with more and more farmers turning to non-toxic methods to kill pests, its progress is slow and it may be many years before these methods become the norm.
Before tea was widely cultivated and processed, it grew in small bushes sporadically in mountainous regions. These plants did not generally contain enough supple tips to harvest and also varied in terms of leaf size and shape. However, these plants seemed to survive for over 20-50 years. The high levels of theanine, polyphenols, and caffeine act as a natural defence against most diseases and pests. When tea began to be cultivated, however, it was found that the chemicals in the plant were not enough to hold back pests and diseases and a large part of the defence was the ability of the tea plant to blend in the wild ecosystem owing to its wide genetic variety preventing the diseases from spreading like an epidemic.
Modern day cultivation of any crop, including tea crops require a certain amount of pesticides to function. Large scale monoculture, open canopy, heavy use of fertiliser, and low-lying cultivation areas are all a deviation from the natural growing habitat of the tea plant and hence pose a threat of pests and diseases. Since the aim of farming is to produce maximum yield at minimum costs, the tea farmers are not shy in their use of pesticides to enhance the growth- eventually they do more harm than good. The types of pesticides used may be replaced with pheromone traps, BT, bordeaux mixture, and organic pesticides that are derived from natural source and has less environmental impact, but typically result in higher cost. Some lab testing claim that the pesticides recommended below have less human and environmental health impact from pesticide residue.
Certain precautions can be taken to avoid these pesticide-laden teas. Spring teas are generally less contaminated because colder winter and early spring seasons have less pest activity and disease occurrence. Many farmers manage with no spray at all. Major tea pests for spring tips are aphids. Higher altitude has different pests and disease. Tea typically prefers cool, moist environment. If tea is grown in dry hot area, they tend to experience more scales, mites and beetles. You can buy organic tea. Organic doesn’t mean no pesticides, but instead of using toxic chemicals, pesticides derived from natural sources, ex. garlic or chilli oil, may be used.
Related Articles -
tea online, buy tea online,