Yield of Bell Peppers as Impacted by the Combination of Bacterial Spot and a Single Hail Storm: Will Copper Sprays Help?

in HortTechnology

The impact of a single hail storm injury in combination with bacterial spot caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria was assessed on three commercial pepper (Capsicum annuum) cultivars—King Arthur, Jupiter, and Rebell. In addition, the effectiveness of copper plus maneb sprays on hail-damaged plants to suppress bacterial spot was evaluated. A hail storm of ≈5-min duration severely damaged and defoliated the pepper plants. Severe bacterial spot was observed 10 days later on all plants. Disease ratings taken 2 weeks after the hail storm were significantly greater than ratings before the storm. Unsprayed plots of all three cultivars had the greatest disease and the least yield. Plots sprayed weekly (7-day schedule) had a significantly greater yield and less disease compared to unsprayed and biweekly sprayed (14-day schedule) plots for all three cultivars. The combination of hail damage and bacterial spot resulted in a 6-fold reduction in yield in the absence of copper plus maneb sprays and a 2-fold reduction with weekly sprays when compared to the previous season with no hail injury, but similar levels of bacterial spot disease. Disease ratings were less and yields were greater for `King Arthur', than for `Jupiter' and `Rebell'. A judicious copper plus maneb spray program can suppress bacterial spot and help recovery of a young pepper crop when hail damage occurs.

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