The Effect of Fertilizers, Sulphur and Mulch On East African Tea Soils

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Smith, A. N.
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Permeability was the first quality to be recognized as essential for the good growth of tea by McClelland in 1834 (quoted by Von Bernegg, 1936). Some fifty years later, Money (1883) recognized the "qualities in soils in which the tea plant delights" as being a friable soil, porous imbibing and parting with water freely, with plenty of vegetable matter and of a light colour. He states, "If, however, the dark colour arises from decayed vegetation, that, is not the colour of the soil, and, as observed, vegetable, matter is a great advantage. Judge of. Colour when soil is dry-for even light coloured soil looks dark when wet." Kelway Bamber (1893) from analyses-of Chinese and Assam tea soils found that besides permeability the following qualities were to be noticed in tea soils: a great deficiency of calcium, an absence of sulphuric acid or sulphates and the constant occurrence of manganese. Five years later Boutilly (1898) describe~ tea soils, with particular reference to Ceylon, as being poor, and particularly low in lime and soda, but rich in aluminium silicate, in manganese and especially in iron.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, 27 (3), p. 158-163