If you follow us on social media (@valleybrooktea on Twitter and Instagram), you might have seem pictures and videos of a recent flood that hit one of our tea fields in Huangcun, Wuyi mountains.
Some of our partners and customers kindly reached out to us and asked whether the flood will affect our future business and the quality of our tea. Today, we’d like to address these concerns and talk about how we restore our tea fields after a flood.
First of all, flooding isn’t exactly common in our area. Typically, Wuyi mountains get a lot rains in early summer, but few of them actually lead to floods. But, we aren’t unfamiliar with floods at all. In Wuyi mountains’ long history of tea-making, floods have happened a few times.
In fact, over a decade ago, a big flood hit Huangcun, our oolong tea production site. The flood directly impacted the life of villagers and our tea production. Since that flood, the village has moved inland a little to avoid being flooded again.
The most common situations of being flooded are submersed tea fields, sediment accumulation, collapsed terraced fields, blocked irrigation canals and ditches, drowned and dirt covered tea plants, damaged tea field systems, soil erosion/loss, and road damage.
Although these disasters don’t often happen, tea producers like us still need to be prepared for all situations. This is why authorities in Wuyi mountains has developed an advanced and comprehensive early-warning system.
However, an early-warning system can only avoid the loss of life and property. Tea fields are still not immune from floods. When floods happen, we need to know how to recover and restore tea fields back to normal.
Interestingly, the first thing we do after a flood is not about tea fields. Fixing the roads to tea fields is the most important task. Without proper roads, heavy machineries and our works can’t get access to tea fields.
After the roads are cleared, we need to assess how badly a flooded tea field has collapsed and how much mud and water have accumulated. We need to quickly dig circular ditches to drain water. By lowering the water level (including underground water), we can prevent tea plant roots from rotting and suffocating.
Some tea plants are pushed down or tilted by the force of the flood. They need to be positioned right immediately. Some tea plants also require additional soil to cover exposed and damaged roots. Any leaves covered by soil or mud must be cleaned. Flooded soil often agglomerate together. To prevent plant anoxia caused by soil agglomeration, we also need to lightly plough the field to restore soil’s breathability.
Floods also bring lots of random objects such as tree branches, couch grasses, and trashes. These objects are usually left in the tea field after the flood recedes. Excessive random objects are detrimental to the health and the growth of tea plants. Sometimes, rocks can also be carried into the tea field. No matter big or small, all rocks must be removed.
Finally, we need to overhaul the tea field ground. Heavy rains and floods erode our tea fields. It’s quite common that a tea field becomes “bumpy” after a flood. The erosion takes away nutritious surface soils and expose the roots. Younger tea plans are especially vulnerable to this. If young tea plants’ roots are left exposed, they can’t get enough water and nutrients. As a result, tea plants become weaker against high temperatures. To ensure the health of our tea plants, we need to supplement all lost soil and smooth the ground.
To experience tea producers, floods are not the end of the world. When managed carefully, few tea mountain fields suffer a total loss just because floods. We hope this blog can help you better understand how we restore our tea fields after a flood.
We hope you enjoyed today’s blog. As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please leave a comment, tweet us @valleybrooktea or email the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also follow us on Instagram @valleybrooktea and join our mail list to get our daily tea updates and our latest promotions!
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