Prioritising the Replanting Schedule of Seedling Tea Fields on Tea Estates for Drought Susceptibility Measured by the SWAPDT Method in the Absence of Historical In-filling Records

Christopher Nyarukowa, Robert Koech, Theodor Loots, Jos Hageman, Zeno Apostolides


Due to the unpredictable natural droughts that occur, causing tea farmers significant losses in tea estates, a two-day method for distinguishing between drought tolerant (DT) and drought susceptible (DS) Camellia sinensis cultivars was developed. This work was based on known cultivars developed at the Tea Research Institute in Kenya and the Tea Research Foundation for Central Africa in Malawi. This paper contains an in-depth description of the application of the SWAPDT method on four 60-year old, C. sinensis seedling fields in Kenya. The in-filling history of the four fields due to drought-related deaths was obtained from historical records. The SWAPDT method scores correlated very well with the historical records. It has been indicated, from the results obtained in this study, that a sample size of 20 tea trees is sufficient to accurately determine the drought susceptibility of a large tea field of approximately 5-20 hectares, containing 50 000-200 000 tea trees, were the difference between their mean values, as measured by the SWAPDT method, is approximately 10%.

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Journal of Agricultural Science   ISSN 1916-9752 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)  E-mail:

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