Greenhouse Irrigation Systems Affect Growth of `TAM-Mild Jalapeño-1' Pepper Seedlings

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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University, 1619 Garner Field Road, Uvalde, TX 78801

Two studies were conducted to determine how greenhouse irrigation systems alter root elongation, root morphology, shoot growth, and water status of `TAM-Mild Jalapeño-1' pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) seedlings. Transplants were grown in containerized trays for 48 days in a greenhouse. Irrigation systems were 1) flotation (FI), 2) 28 days FI plus 14 days overhead (OI; FI + OI), 3) alternate OI and FI (OI–FI), and 4) OI. FI and OI–FI transplants maintained a uniform lateral root length increase between 20 and 41 days after seeding (DAS). In FI + OI and OI transplants, lateral root elongation tended to plateau at ≈31 DAS; however, by increasing the number and length (33%) of basal roots, OI transplants had a total root growth compensation during the remaining growth period. At 41 DAS, OI transplants had a higher shoot: root ratio (S: R = 5) and maintained a higher shoot water potential (Ψstem = –0.58) than FI transplants (S: R = 3; Ψstem= –0.69 MPa, respectively). In the second study, OI transplants maintained higher Ψstem than FI transplants. The latter had a lower stomatal conductance and photosynthesis rate than OI and FI + OI transplants. FI may be used to lower the S: R ratio and promote hardiness in jalapeño transplants.

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