Eastern Tobacco

A Comprehensive Guide to Growing Burley Tobacco

A Comprehensive Guide to Growing Burley Tobacco

It is a light air-cured tobacco that is mostly used to make cigarettes because it has a light taste and color. From choosing the seeds to harvesting and drying, every step of growing it needs to be done with great care. This guide goes into great detail about the different steps needed to grow Burley tobacco, so both new and experienced farmers can get a good crop.

Selecting the Right Seeds

Picking good Burley tobacco seeds is the first thing that you should do to make sure your crop is healthy. Look for seeds from reliable sellers that offer varieties that are resistant to disease and give you a lot of food. TN90, KY14, and VA359 are some famous types of Burley tobacco. Make sure the seeds are certified and kept in the best way possible to keep them alive.

Soil Preparation

It grows best in rich, well-drained soils with a pH level between 5.8 and 6.2. Do a soil test to find out the pH and amount of nutrients in the earth before you plant? If you need to change the pH, add lime, and then use a balanced fertilizer based on what the soil test says. For a fine, hard seedbed, deep plowing and harrowing are the right ways to prepare the soil.


It is more common to transfer burley tobacco than to direct-seed it. Around 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date, start seeds in a greenhouse or seedbed where they will be safe. Keep the soil constantly moist and the temperature between 70°F and 75°F (21°C and 24°C). Plant plants outside when they are 6 to 8 inches tall and there is no longer a chance of frost.

Plant the seedlings in rows 40 to 42 inches wide, 18 to 24 inches apart, in the yard. Make sure that each plant has enough room to grow and gets enough sunshine.


Burley tobacco needs a lot of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium because it grows quickly. When moving, use a starter fertilizer to help the roots grow. Add nitrogen fertilizer to the soil on the side as needed during the growing season based on plant growth and soil test results. Be careful not to fertilize too much, as this can cause too many leaves to grow and bad tobacco quality.


For Burley tobacco to grow, it needs to stay moist. The plant needs about 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week, which can come from rain or watering. Set up a regular irrigation plan, especially during dry times, to keep the soil evenly moist without being too wet. Most of the time, drip irrigation or ceiling sprinklers are used.

Pest and Disease Management

Pests and diseases that like to eat burley tobacco include aphids, hornworms, blue mold, and black shank. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is necessary to keep damage to a minimum. Check the fields often for signs of pests and diseases, and use the right methods to get rid of them, like pesticides, fungicides, or biological controls. Pests and diseases can also be kept at bay by rotating crops and keeping fields clean.

Topping and Suckering

Topping, which means taking off the flower head, helps the leaves grow and makes the tobacco better. This is usually done when the flower head shows up, which is usually 60 to 70 days after the plants were transplanted. Along with topping, you should regularly remove suckers, which are side shoots that you don’t want. Chemical sucker ides can be used to cut down on the amount of work that needs to be done by hand.


The leaves of Burley tobacco are ready to be picked when they are fully grown and turn a pale green to yellowish color. This normally happens 70 to 90 days after the transplant. When the plant is harvested, it is usually cut off at the base and speared onto sticks to dry. About six plants can fit on each stick.


Curing is an important step that changes the taste and quality of Burley tobacco. Burley is air-cured, which means it is dried naturally in barns with good air flow. Hang tobacco plant sticks in the barn with enough space between them so air can flow. The leaves slowly turn brown as they lose water over the course of 6 to 8 weeks, which is called drying.

Keep an eye on the drying area to make sure it stays at the right temperature and humidity levels (65-75%). Too much humidity can make mold grow, and too little humidity can dry out the leaves too fast and make them break.

Grading and Marketing

To grade the leaves based on color, texture, and quality, they are taken off the stalks after they have been dried. To get the best market price, you need to grade your goods correctly. Sort the leaves and then bundle or bag them to sell. Burley tobacco is mostly bought and sold at auctions or through deals with tobacco companies.