Mowing patterns in tea fields
I’ve thought of mowing patterns or “stripes” as something that happens with grasses. I’ve seen it on lawns, sports turf, golf courses, and hay fields. When the grass is cut, and as the leaf blades are bent in a particular direction during the cutting process, often by a roller that is part of the cutting unit—the grass blades get oriented more in one direction than in another. When light reflects off those blades, it then appears to our eyes to have a stripe.
On a trip to Japan, I noticed a striped tea field. When the leaves are harvested by machine, the same type of post-cutting leaf orientation effect happens with the tea.
I’ve also seen some atypical methods used to put stripes into turf. One of the most unusual was at a Thai Premier League game in Bangkok.
During the warmup, I noticed the stripes looked a bit strange. It was almost as if one stripe was cut (the light stripe) and then the adjacent dark stripe wasn’t mowed at all.
Upon closer inspection, that’s what it was–a mowing stripe pattern produced by two different mowing heights.
The easier way to do it is to have the cutting machine set at the same height, and to go across the turf in different directions. With grass, it’s the roller that bends the leaves in a consistent direction that leads to the visual striping effect.