Blog 146: What If Tea Plants Get Heatstroke?

If people are exposed to high temperatures for a prolonged time, they can potentially get heatstroke, a condition caused by body overheating. Similar to human body, tea plants can also get heatstroke in hot weather. Getting heatstroke can greatly damage the health of tea plants. Today, let’s talk about tea plant heatstroke and how tea producers like us can prevent it.


When the air temperature exceeds 35℃/95℉ for more than 5 days straight, and the soil lacks necessary water content and efficient water source, tea plants will display various symptoms of heatstroke.


The specific symptoms of tea plant heatstroke are wilted leaves on the top of tea plants, crooked fresh leaves, withered and yellow leaves, burned and fragile buds. From center of the plant, mature leaves’ green color would turn yellow, then red, and finally become brown. In some severe situations, tea plants can die from heatstroke-related complications.


To tea producers like us, once our tea plants get heatstroke, it’d be probably already too late. Preventing heatstroke from happening in the first place is always our best option.


Tea field management is similar to Chinese medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine philosophy, disease prevention is more important than a cure.


Of course, this concept is not limited to tea and medicine only. In our daily life, we regularly service our cars, maintain our lawns, and patch small defects on roads. We do these maintenance work because we know the cost of prevention delivers greatly value than a major overhaul or repair.



Naturally, tea field maintenance can effectively prevent tea plants getting heatstroke. However, it often gets tricky because we’re not maintaining tea plants, but the tea growing environment.


To help you better understand why, let’s think about what would be the most efficient way to extend the life of all cars in our city? Should we drive more slowly? Or should we drive lighter cars? The answer is neither. In fact, the right answer has nothing to do with cars or our driving habits. Improving the road condition is the most efficient solution to our question.


Tea plants’ heatstroke prevention is the same concept. By improving tea plant growing environment, we can improve our tea plants’ heat endurance and resistance.



In practice, we have 4 major methods to make sure that our tea plants survive the summer heat.


1. Protect our tea fields’ vegetation diversity


A good tea field should always have more than just tea plants. If a tea field has nothing but tea plants, tea plants would ultimately suffer from soil degradation, soil erosion, and plant malnutrition. Since most tea plants are bushes, having tall trees nearby can provide a substantial protection for tea plants.



2. Deeper root system


Because most tea plants are short bushes, their roots don’t really grow very deep into the ground. This is why experienced tea producers would deep plough the field before cultivating tea plants. A deep ploughing can help a tea plant’s root system grow deeper. As a result, tea plants are better nourished.



3. Ground covering


Ground covering is a common technique used in agriculture. By covering the ground with thick dry grass before the peak of summer, water evaporation can be reduced and nutrients in soil can be better retained.


Interestingly, a good tea field doesn’t really require too much of our attention in ground covering. Premium tea fields, especially those in valleys, are already well-covered by moss, short grass, and other green vegetation. This is again why premium tea fields are able to deliver better quality fresh leaves.



4. Abundant water supply


Water is essential to all tea plants. Having a nearby water source is a safeguard of healthy tea plants.


There are many forms of water sources: rivers, creeks, and various ways of artificial irrigation. In our opinion, the best water supply comes from small streams of water flowing through the tea field.


Small water streams or a little creak in/near the field is another typical character of premium tea fields.



Finally, if tea plants are already damaged due to heatstroke, it doesn’t mean they’re beyond help. Depending on how severe the damage is, we can choose to trim damaged leaves and branches. In some rare cases, we can also deep cut tea plants to a bare-bone state to preserve the life of tea plants.



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 zhang@valleybrooktea.com. Please also follow us on Instagram @valleybrooktea and join our mail list to get our daily tea updates and our latest promotions!


This is a Valley Brook Tea original blog. All rights reserved.