Watermelon is grown under a range of moisture regimes from rainfed to heavily irrigated, but water requirement patterns are not well documented. Drip irrigation and plastic mulch provide the opportunity to control water applications to optimize yield and quality. Water applied through subsurface drip irrigation was measured in two watermelon trials in 1998 (25 seeded and 20 seedless cultivars) and 1999 (26 seeded and 14 seedless cultivars) at Lubbock, Texas. Melons were transplanted in plastic-covered raised beds 13.6 m long spaced 2 m apart. Irrigation was applied when morning soil moisture tension measured by tensiometers exceeded 20 kPa. Watermelon yields ranged from 50 to 100 t·ha-1 with excellent quality. Weekly water use averaged 14 mm during the first 3 weeks of establishment then increased to 28 mm during the next 3 weeks as plants were running and blooming. During the 5-week fruit-enlargement period, water uptake averaged 57 mm, then decreased as full fruit size was attained. Similar uptake patterns in both years suggest that meaningful crop coefficients for scheduling watermelon irrigation could be based on phenological growth stages.
Large weeds, particularly amaranths, are a serious impediment to mechanical harvesting of jalapeno peppers. Several herbicides were applied in 1998 and 1999 postemergence topical (PT) to commercial fields when peppers had four to six leaves, or postdirected (PD) with a shielded sprayer ≈1 month later, and evaluated for crop injury, weed control, and effects on yield. Treatments were applied to four-row plots 9 m long with a CO<subscript>2 backpack sprayer. PT treatments included pyrithiobac sodium at 0.036, 0.053, or 0.071 kg·ha–1 a.i. with nonionic surfactant or crop oil concentrate, metolachlor at 1.68 kg·ha–1 a.i., and oxyfluorfen at 0.14 or 0.28 kg·ha–1 a.i.. PD treatments consisted of the same rates of pyrithiobac sodium with nonionic surfactant only, and the same rates of oxyfluorfen. Pyrithiobac sodium PT caused significant chlorosis (reduction in SPAD chlorophyll) in new foliage and reduction in plant height after 1 week, but plants recovered with no effect on final plant height, chlorophyll, or yield. No significant difference was observed between the two adjuvants. Metolachlor had no measurable effect on pepper growth or yield. Oxyfluorfen PT killed young apical tissue and caused chlorosis of immature leaves. Plants recovered, but plant height was reduced by 14% to 28% and yield by 11% to 43%. PD treatments had no effect on pepper growth or yield. All herbicides provided adequate weed control under light pressure. Pyrithiobac sodium appears to have potential as a postemergence herbicide for control of amaranth in jalapeno peppers.
Thrips are the major insect pest of onions grown in South Texas. Four cultivars, `IPA-3', `TG1015Y', `1664' (glossy control), and `1900B' (waxy control), were grown in a split-plot design with insecticide sprayed or nonsprayed treatments as the main plots and cultivar as the subplots. The experiment was conducted at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Weslaco, Texas, in the 1995-96 season. The objectives of the study were to compare `IPA-3' and `TG1015Y' for thrips resistance and evaluate possible resistance mechanisms that may be present in `IPA-3'. The average number of thrips per plant and leaf damage rating were significantly higher for `TG1015Y', indicating that some resistance is present in `IPA-3'. However, there were no significant differences in yield between the two cultivars. A comparison of leaf wax characteristics indicated no significant difference between `TG1015Y' and `IPA-3' using gravimetric or gas chromatography techniques. However, scanning electron micrographs of `TG1015Y' leaves appeared more similar to `1900B' and `IPA-3' appeared more similar to `1664'. The insecticide spray treatment had significantly fewer thrips, less damage, and higher yield than the nonsprayed treatment.