When applied before crop emergence, soil amendments with mustard seed meal (MSM) control some weeds and soilborne pathogens. MSM applications after crop emergence (herein “postemergence applications”) might be useful components of agricultural pest management programs, but research on postemergence applications of MSM is limited. The overall objective of this investigation was to develop a method for postemergence application of MSM that does not cause irrecoverable injury or yield loss in chile pepper (Capsicum annuum). To accomplish this objective, we conducted a sequence of studies that evaluated different MSM rates and application methods in the greenhouse and field. For the greenhouse study, we measured chile plant photosynthetic and growth responses to MSM applied postemergence on the soil surface or incorporated into soil. For the field study, we determined chile pepper fruit yield responses to MSM applied postemergence using a technique based on the method developed in greenhouse, and we confirmed that the MSM rates used in our study (4400 kg·ha−1 and 2200 kg·ha−1) inhibited the emergence of the weed Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) and the growth of the pathogen Phytophthora capsici, which are common problems in chile pepper production in New Mexico. Greenhouse study results indicated that MSM at 4400 kg·ha−1 spread on the soil surface caused irrecoverable injury to chile pepper plants; however, chile pepper plants were not permanently injured by the following three treatments: 1) MSM at 4400 kg·ha−1 incorporated into soil, 2) MSM at 2200 kg·ha−1 spread on the soil surface, and 3) MSM at 2200 kg·ha−1 incorporated into soil. For the field study, postemergence, soil-incorporated applications of MSM at 4400 kg·ha−1 suppressed emergence of Palmer amaranth by 89% and reduced mycelial growth of Phytophthora capsica by 96%. Soil-incorporated applications of MSM at 2200 kg·ha−1 suppressed emergence of Palmer amaranth by 41.5% and reduced mycelial growth of Phytophthora capsica by 71%. Postemergence soil-incorporated applications of MSM did not reduce chile pepper yield compared with the control. The results of this study indicated that MSM applied after crop emergence and incorporated into soil can be a component of pest management programs for chile pepper.
Bulb onion (Allium cepa L.) is an economically valuable vegetable crop in the United States. Onion production is threatened by onion thrips, which are the vector for Iris yellow spot virus, which is the causal agent of Iris yellow spot (IYS). New Mexico State University (NMSU) breeding lines 12-236, 12-238, 12-243, and 12-337 have exhibited fewer IYS disease symptoms in the field; however, little is known about the effects of the disease on the photosynthesis rate (Pn). We hypothesized that these NMSU breeding lines would have a higher Pn than IYS-susceptible cultivars Rumba and Stockton Early Yellow. To test this hypothesis, a field study was conducted for 3 years at NMSU, and Pn was measured five times throughout each season at 2-week intervals. During bulb development and maturation, which occurred at 10 and 12 weeks after transplanting, all NMSU breeding lines exhibited a higher Pn when compared with that of an IYS-susceptible cultivar. Pn was highest at the end of the vegetative growth stage and decreased as bulbs approached maturation for all cultivars. Additionally, a high Pn at 10 and 12 weeks after transplanting coincided with high bulb weight at harvest. NMSU breeding lines have increased Pn compared with that of IYS-susceptible cultivars and resulted in larger and more marketable bulbs. These results indicate that maintaining Pn may be related to reduced IYS symptom expression of onion.