Tea Trees in Japan: Beyond the Famous Tea Fields

Tea fields in Shizuoka and Kagoshima are famous destinations for tea enthusiasts, but tea trees can also be found in many other regions of Japan. Tea trees are often used as fences, particularly in the Kantou area, where they are called “Kunecha” (tea tree fence). These evergreens remain healthy and green year-round, making them excellent boundary markers. In fact, there are records of tea firms using tea trees as boundary markers in north Kanto area during the early Edo era.

Tea Trees as Stabilizers

Tea trees are dense and have strong roots, making them an excellent tool for preventing erosion and landslides. In West Japan, tea trees are intentionally planted on hillsides to take advantage of these stabilizing qualities.

Growing Tea Trees as Fences

Tea trees can be planted from seeds, cuttings, or old stumps. However, it is important to note that they do not transplant easily. To keep them healthy, tea trees need to be nourished, pruned, and kept out of direct sunlight. While it may take a few years to grow and shape a tea tree as a bonsai, using an old stump can speed up the process to about 4-5 years. Despite the effort and time required to grow and maintain tea trees, their many benefits make them a worthwhile addition to any garden or property.

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