Mississippi State University
Baldwin, Brian S.
Coker, Christine E.H.
Blythe, Eugene K.
Denny, Geoffrey C.
Other Advisors or Committee Members
Harkess, Richard L.
Date of Degree
Dissertation - Open Access
Doctor of Philosophy
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Farmers in Mississippi have begun planting tea (Camellia sinensis) to diversify their crops. Camellia sinensis is an evergreen shrub whose leaves are used to make commonly consumed tea beverages. Tea has the potential to benefit the agricultural industry in Mississippi. While tea has been grown in other countries for centuries, there is little research-based information to guide farmers on growing tea in the United States. For domestic production to become effective, growers need to identify areas to save money to compete with countries with lower input costs. This study showed growers can fertilize at 2 g nitrogen (N) per container, reducing input costs, and produce comparable plants to those receiving higher N rates used in this study. While lowering the amount of N applied to plants in containers is an economical benefit to producers, there is also an environmental benefit to applying less N.This research also examined whether the use of colored shade cloth would increase plant growth and survival rate of newly planted tea. This study indicated in year 1, plants grown under shade treatments had 100% survival rate compared to plants grown without shade which had a survival rate of 46.67%. Shade cloth may be useful for tea producers in Mississippi when irrigation is limited. For tea producers with irrigated fields, the added expense of shade cloth may not be justified. Finally, planting date was evaluated to determine effects on plant growth and survival rate. In all planting dates except 3 April 2017, survival rate was over 70%, suggesting producers can plant tea in late fall and winter in Mississippi. While only in its infancy, the US tea industry has the potential to reduce the amount of imported tea, providing a boost to local economies and potentially reducing the environmental impact from shipping.
LeCompte, Judson Stuart, "Tea As An Alternative Crop for Mississippi" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 4212.