Plant Density Influences Marketable Yield of Directly Seeded `Piquillo' Pimiento Pepper

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  • 1 Servicio de Investigación Agroalimentaria, Apdo. 727, 50080 Zaragoza, Spain
  • 2 Departamento de Genética y Producción Vegetal, Estación Experimental de Aula Dei (CSIC), Apdo. 202, 50080 Zaragoza, Spain

Pimiento pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum L. `Piquillo') was directly seeded on raised beds in double rows 0.35 cm apart. Plants were thinned within the row to establish densities ranging from 13,333 to 186,667 plants/ha. Marketable yield of pepper increased as plant density increased to 100,000 plants/ha. However, with plant densities >100,000 plants/ha, marketable yield did not increase (2001) or slightly decreased (2000). Plant density affected pepper yield only in the first harvest date. Fruit number and fruit weight per plant decreased with increasing plant populations. Weight per fruit decreased slightly at densities >100,000 plants/ha. The increase in yield per hectare as plant density increased was mainly a result of increased number of fruit per hectare. The intercepted PAR by the pepper canopy increased with increases in plant density to about 100,000 plants/ha and this increased interception of PAR resulted in an increase in yield. Plant densities in the range of 100,000 to 120,000 plants/ha were optimal in terms of marketable yield.

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