Tea Maps Galore!

by Naomi Rosen

In November of 2013, we wrote up an article about a tea mapping project that was being spearheaded by the University of North Carolina. This series of maps shows tea plantation locations in the United States, with precipitation, temperature, humidity, and soil pH data, to evaluate current and future locations for tea growing. We are excited to share the initial results and update you on how you can participate in the project moving forward!

US Plantations and Precipitation

US Plantations and Precipitation

Map 1: Continental U.S. Tea Plantations and Mean Annual Precipitation
This map includes tea plantation locations and mean, annual precipitation for the continental United States. Individual tea plantation locations were added by longitude and latitude. Thirty-year normal annual precipitation data, covering 1981 – 2010, was acquired from the PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University.

US Plantations and Soil pH

US Plantations and Soil pH

Map 2: Continental U.S. Tea Plantations and Soil pH Values
This map includes tea plantation locations, average soil pH levels by state, and county-level soil pH data for counties containing at least one tea plantation for the continental United States. State-level data was acquired from Better Crops (2010) while county-level data was acquired from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

US Plantations and Mean Annual Temperature

US Plantations and Mean Annual Temperature

Map 3: Continental U.S. (Temperature)
This map includes tea plantation locations and mean, annual precipitation for the continental United States. Thirty-year normal temperature data, covering 1981 – 2010, was acquired from the PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University.

US Hawaii Tea Plantations

US Hawaii Tea Plantations

Map 4: Hawai’i Tea Plantations
This map shows tea plantation locations for the state of Hawaii.

As mentioned in the previous article:

At the moment, they are creating a Tea Terroir Map of the US.  This is done by gathering spatial data that will be overlayed with physical conditions.  At first, the map will only offer an initial sampling but down the road, could be a web-based display with layers at different scales.  This information will be useful in determining where and why tea is growing best and might help mitigate certain problems that can be fixed prior to tea planting (less than ideal rainfall could be treated with proper irrigation and rainfall collection points, how microclimates affect tea growth, etc.).

 

At this time, we need more of our US growers to provide tea plantation information to Dr. Walcott and Robert (the grad student actually compiling the maps). Basic, voluntary information is the only thing required. If you have your tea garden’s lat-long, zip code, or town name – any of that can be “geo-coded” and placed in the location layer. Dr. Walcott can be contacted with tea garden locations, or questions about the Tea Terroir Mapping Project, at smwalcot@gmail.com.

Thank you for supporting academic projects that can continue to further the mission of growing tea in the United States!

UNC Tea Terroir Mapping Project

Words getting out in the academic world about the efforts of US tea growers and there are some really great projects being formed to help promote US grown tea.  One such program, put together by Dr. Susan Walcott of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has approached us requesting assistance from our members and we wanted to make sure we got the information out to each of you!
At the moment, they are creating a Tea Terroir Map of the US.  This is done by gathering spatial data that will be overlayed with physical conditions.  At first, the map will only offer an initial sampling but down the road, could be a web-based display with layers at different scales.  This information will be useful in determining where and why tea is growing best and might help mitigate certain problems that can be fixed prior to tea planting (less than ideal rainfall could be treated with proper irrigation and rainfall collection points, how microclimates affect tea growth, etc.).
Dr. Walcott is requesting basic, voluntary information at this point from growers that are purposely cultivating (rather than random yard interest): If you have your tea garden’s lat-long, zip code, or town name – any of that can be “geo-coded” and placed in the location layer. The idea is to see how this corresponds to the other terroir features.
Dr. Walcott can be contacted with tea garden locations, or questions about the Tea Terroir Mapping Project, at smwalcot@gmail.com.
Thanks in advance to growers that participate!  Our hope is that this mapping project can help future growers and move US grown tea a few steps forward!