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- Author or Editor: Brantlee Spakes Richter x
Tea (Camellia sinensis) is a promising new specialty crop for production in Florida. However, few data exist on the establishment phase of tea plantings in this environment and on how early growth parameters may predict yield potential. We tested seven accessions of tea grown under field conditions in north-central Florida for leaf yield and growth parameters—namely, pruned biomass, trunk diameter, trunk height, trunk width, trunk height × width, and canopy area—in the second and third years after planting. Our analyses indicated that the accession Fairhope performed best overall. Pruned biomass and trunk diameter were the best predictors for leaf yield. The harvested leaves produced good-quality black tea, with caffeine levels comparable to commercially available tea. These data indicate that nondestructive measurements of growth can be useful to assess yield potential of tea, and that regionally adapted tea accessions can be identified during the establishment stage.