A Ratoon Cropping System for Fall Bell Pepper Production

in HortScience
Authors:
Brian A. KahnDepartment of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078-6027

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Daniel I. LeskovarTexas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University, 1619 Garner Field Road, Uvalde, TX 78801-6205

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Studies were conducted to examine the effects of pruning treatments applied to spring-transplanted bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) on marketable fruit yield in late summer and fall. Control plants were set in the field in early May 1997 (Oklahoma) and Apr. 1998 (Oklahoma and Texas) and harvested weekly into October (Oklahoma) or periodically into December (Texas). In 1997, all four treatments (involving height and method of pruning) reduced total marketable fruit weight, but differences among treatments were nonsignificant. In Oklahoma in 1998, plants were mowed on 27 July at an average height of ≈24 cm. Mowed plants produced less total marketable fruit weight but more U.S. Fancy fruit than did control plants, while weight of U.S. No. 1 fruit was not affected. In Texas in 1998, plants mowed on 4 Sept. at a height of ≈20 cm produced more than twice the weight of U.S. No. 1 fruit and fewer cull fruit than did control plants. Nonpruned transplants set in the field in Summer 1998 (both Oklahoma and Texas) produced low marketable yields. Maintaining spring-transplanted bell peppers is a viable technique for fall pepper production, and the highest total marketable yields may be obtained if these plants are not mowed. However, mowing offers an opportunity for increased fall production of premium fruit, and mowed plants would be easier to manage than nonpruned plants.

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