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Erin Silva, Mark Renz, and Stephanie Walker

Chile pepper (Capsicum annum) production in the southwest can be impacted by many factors. In particular, factors that alter root growth and development can be critical to pepper productivity. Several factors can cause less-than-optimal taproot formation, including irrigation practices, planting method (seeds vs. transplants), climactic conditions, and competition from weed species for limiting resources. The goals of this research were to quantify the root development of chile peppers established from either seeds or transplants under furrow and drip irrigation. Research was conducted in 2005 at Artesia Plant Science Research Center in Artesia, N.M., using a state-of-the-art drip irrigation system. Differences in root development between both irrigation types and planting methods were measured using of the mini-rhizotron image capturing system. Measurements occurred at a weekly basis to document location, root length density, and pattern of root formation. At the time of harvest, yield and fruit quality were evaluated. Direct-seeded chile plants yielded more fruits than transplanted chile under both irrigation regimes. Patterns of root development differed over time for direct-seeded vs. transplanted and furrow vs. drip-irrigated chile peppers. Planting and irrigation method affected root growth differently at various points in the season. These data can aid in the optimization of management strategies for specific production practices.

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Robert F. Bevacqua and Dawn M. VanLeeuwen

Chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) yields are highly variable and are strongly influenced by disease and weather. The goal of two field experiments was to evaluate crop management factors, especially planting date, that could contribute to improved and more consistent crop production. Current practice in New Mexico is to direct seed the crop from 13 to 27 Mar. In the first experiment, chile pepper was direct seeded on three planting dates, 13, 20, and 27 Mar. 2000, without or with a fungicide treatment of pentachloronitrobenzene and mefenoxam for the control of damping off. The results indicate planting date had no effect on stand establishment or yield. Fungicide treatment, significantly reduced stand, but had no effect on yield. In the second experiment, chile pepper was direct seeded on six planting dates, 13, 20, 27 Mar. and 3, 10, 17, Apr. 2001, with or without an application of phosphorus fertilizer, P at 29.4 kg·ha-1, banded beneath the seed row. During the growing season, this experimental planting suffered, as did commercial plantings in New Mexico, from high mortality and stunting due to beet curly top virus, a disease transmitted by the beet leafhopper. The results indicate planting date had a significant effect on crop performance. The best stand establishment and highest yield were associated with the earliest planting date, 13 Mar. This date also resulted in the least viral disease damage. Phosphorus fertilizer had no effect on stand establishment or yield. Chemical names used: pentachloronitrobenzene (PCNB); (R)-2-[(2,6-dimethylphenyl)-methoxyacetylamino]-propionic acid methyl ester (mefenoxam).

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Michael E. Bartolo and Frank C. Schweissing

Colorado-grown watermelons command a premium price on the market based on their sweetness and overall flavor. Unfortunately, melon production is limited to mid-August through early September. This study was conducted to determine whether intensive production methods could enhance the traditional marketing period. The effects of different combinations of establishment methods, mulches, and rowcovers on `Arriba' (Hollar Seeds) watermelon growth and productivity were investigated in a field trial at the Arkansas Valley Research Center in Rocky Ford, Colo. In 1997, the combinations of transplanting, clear plastic mulch, and perforated or slitted rowcovers produced the earliest harvest and highest yield and fruit weight. The first harvest of the earliest treatments occurred on 4 July. Direct-seeding through clear plastic mulch, both with and without rowcovers, also enhanced earliness relative to the traditional marketing period. However, compared to transplanting, yield and fruit weight were less if the crop was direct-seeded. Intensive plasticulture techniques could substantially increase the earliness of Colorado-grown watermelons. The increased cost of production would be easily off-set by higher productivity and early season prices

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Charles L. Webber III and James W. Shrefler

Although CGM has been identified as an organic herbicide for weed control in turf and established vegetable plants, direct contact with vegetable seeds can decrease crop seedling development and plant survival by inhibiting root and shoot development. The objective of this research was to determine the impact of banded corn gluten meal applications on squash plant survival and yields. This factorial field study was conducted during Summer 2005 on 81-cm-wide raised beds at Lane, Okla., with two application configurations (banded and solid), two CGM formulations (powdered and granulated), two incorporation treatments (incorporated and nonincorporated), and three application rates (250, 500, and 750 g·m–2). The two CGM formulations at three application rates were uniformly applied in both banded and solid patterns on 19 Aug. The banded application created a 7.6-cm wide CGM-free planting zone in the middle of the raised bed. The CGM applications were then either incorporated into the top 2.5 to 5.0 cm of the soil surface with a rolling cultivator or left undisturbed on the soil surface. `Lemondrop' summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) was then direct-seeded into the center of the raised beds. When averaged across the other factors, there was no significant difference between powdered and granulated CGM formulations or incorporating and nonincorporating the CGM for either squash plant survival or yields. As the CGM application rates increased the plant survival and yields decreased. Banded application resulted in significantly greater crop safety (90% plant survival) and yields (445 cartons/ha) than the broadcast (solid) applications (45% plant survival and 314 cartons/ha). The research demonstrated the potential usefulness of CGM in direct-seeded squash production, if used in banded application configuration.

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E. Carvajel-Millan, A.A. Gardea, V. Guerrero-P, F. Goycoolea, and C. Rivera

Apple embryos from moist seeds kept at 4 °C were used for a calorimetric characterization of Red and Golden Delicious apple seed dormancy. Seeds were sampled at 100-h intervals during 1200 h. The metabolic response of such samples was compared to that from chilled Golden Delicious seeds (>1200 h) stored under controlled atmosphere (CA). Isothermal calorimetry at 25 °C, evaluated metabolic activity (q), respiration rate (RCO2), metabolic 65 °C estimated activation energy (Ea) in a 10 to 20 °C range, and respiration coefficients (Q10) from 10 to 50 °C at 10 °C intervals. Data showed a direct relationship between chilling exposure and embryo metabolic responses from both cultivars. Once chilling requirement was satisfied, Red and Golden Delicious seeds presented a significant increase (P ≤ 0.05) in q, 0.94 and 0.98 μW/mg dry weight (dw); RCO2, 9.9 and 7.6 mmol CO2/mg dw; and RSG·ΔHB, 3.6 and 2.5 μW/mg dw, respectively. On the other hand, q/RCO2 did not follow a definite pattern, neither in Red nor Golden Delicious cultivars. Ea decreased 19.2 and 23.4 J/mol per °K per mg dw in Red and Golden Delicious, respectively, as a function of seed chilling. Q10 showed a significant response to temperature, but not to chilling exposure. Golden Delcious seeds from CA showed a significant reduction on q, RCO2, and RSG·ΔHB of 0.28 μW/mg dw, 2.47 mmol CO2/mg dw, and 14 μW/mg dw, respectively. Results show that calorimetry is a sufficiently sensitive, fast, and precise tool to quantify metabolic responses during seed chilling, as evolving energy.

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M. Ali Harivandi, William L. Hagan, M. Zak Mousli, and Lin Wu

Stand establishment of direct-seeded hard fescue (Festuca longifolia) is slow. Sodding could speed establishment in landscape plantings. This study looked at the effects of two sod thicknesses and different rates of nitrogen fertilization before and after sodding, on stand establishment and overall turf quality. Evaluations 2, 4 and 8 weeks after sodding assessed rooting and overall turf quality. Thicker sod showed better rooting 4 weeks after planting; after 8 weeks, rooting of both thicknesses was similar. Nitrogen fertilization before or after sodding did not affect rooting. More nitrogen led to better overall turf quality up to 4 weeks after planting; however, this quality difference disappeared 8 weeks after sodding.

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Carl E. Motsenbocker, J. Blair Buckley, William A. Mulkey, and James E. Boudreaux

Field studies were conducted in 1991 with `Jalapeno-M' and `TAM' Jalapeno pepper. Plants were established by direct seeding at 10, 20, 30, and 40 cm in-row plant spacing. Lodged plants, fruit quality and yield were monitored. A commercial snap-bean harvester was evaluated for harvest. Closer plant spacings resulted in greater yields and reduced plant lodging. No interaction of variety with plant spacing was observed. There were, however, differences in several yield parameters due to variety. Fruit quality characteristics of mechanically and hand harvested pepper stored at 6 C were similar. The use of the mechanical snap-bean harvester appears to be a feasible technique to harvest Jalapeno pepper.

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Paul W. Bosland

Chile pepper (Capsicum spp.) hybrids are normally produced by hand-emasculating the female parent and then pollinating the emasculated flower by hand. Increased yield has occurred with F1 hybrid seed, but the seed is considered too expensive by growers to be direct-seeded, a common production practice in the southwestern U.S. chile pepper industry. In ornamental flowers, when F2 hybrid seed is available, it is cheaper than F1 hybrid seed. If F2 hybrid chile pepper cultivars could manifest heterosis, and produce fruit quality acceptable to the chile pepper industry, then a less-costly alternative would be available to growers. A series of field trials with jalapeños was conducted to test F1 hybrid cultivars to their F2 progeny for yield and fruit quality. The results indicated that in some instances the F2 progeny can yield as well as the F1 hybrid parent. Therefore, F2 hybrid cultivars can be used in a commercial production system. However, if a male-sterility system is used to produce the F1 hybrid cultivar, the F2 progeny will have significantly lower yield than the F1 hybrid parent, as was the case in one accession in this trial. Nevertheless, F2 hybrid cultivars are an additional way to supply high yielding hybrid cultivars to growers.

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T.E. Thompson and L.J. Grauke

Precocity of pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] seedlings (year of first fruit production) was studied in relation to original seed measurements (nut weight, buoyancy, volume, and density) and in relation to growth index (GI) measurements of seedling trees for 4 years. A total of 2,071 pecan seedlings, representing nine controlled-cross families, were studied. Original seed measurements were not related to precocity of resultant seedling trees; but seed weight, buoyancy, and volume were significantly correlated with seedling growth rates. Nut density was negatively related to growth of seedlings. These relationships show the importance of original seed measurements and seed parentage in determining seedling growth, and have direct relevance in pecan nursery operations to increase general rootstock seedling vigor. Seedling growth rate was significantly correlated to precocity levels, with measurements taken in the later years of the study showing the highest correlations with precocity. This strong growth-precocity relationship may have negative genetic implications since a common breeding objective is to produce more precocious cultivars that maintain smaller tree size in mature orchards.

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Ronald D. Morse

Advantages of no-till (NT) production systems are acknowledged throughout the world. During the 1990s, production of NT vegetable crops has increased for both direct seeded and transplanted crops. Increased interest in reduced-tillage systems among research workers and vegetable growers is attributed to: 1) development and commercialization of NT transplanters and seeders, 2) advancements in the technology and practice of producing and managing high-residue cover crop mulches, and 3) improvements and acceptance of integrated weed management techniques. Results from research experiments and grower's fields over the years has shown that success with NT transplanted crops is highly dependent on achieving key production objectives, including: 1) production of dense, uniformly distributed cover crops; 2) skillful management of cover crops before transplanting, leaving a heavy, uniformly distributed killed mulch cover over the soil surface; 3) establishment of transplants into cover crops with minimum disturbance of surface residues and surface soil; and 4) adoption of year-round weed control strategies.