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  • Author or Editor: D. F. Ritchie x
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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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A significant portion of harvested produce never reaches the consumer due to, postharvest diseases. Various chemicals have been used to reduce the incidence of postharvest diseases. Many of these materials have been removed from the market in recent years due to economic, environmental, or health concerns. Although somewhat limited in the range of diseases controlled, chlorination is effective when combined with proper postharvest handling practices. Additionally, it is a relatively inexpensive postharvest disease control method that poses little threat to health or the environment. The proper use of chlorination in the management of postharvest diseases in fresh fruits and vegetables is discussed.

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Commercial packing lines in Sampson County, N.C., were surveyed during two growing seasons to study handling methods on susceptibility of bell pepper fruits (Capsicum annuum L.) to bacterial soft rot (Erwinia carotovora subsp. carotovora). Samples were taken from two field packers and one packing house in 1991 and from two field packers and four packing houses in 1992. One field packer and one packing house were common to both years. Fruits were either inoculated with bacteria or untreated and stored at 10 or 21C. Damaged fruits were counted and classified as crushed, cut, bruised, abraded, and other injuries. Fruit injury was less dependent on whether the operation was a packing house or a field packing line than on the overall handling practices of the individual grower. In general, packing peppers in packing houses resulted in an increased number of bruises, whereas fruit from field packing lines had more abrasions. More open skin injuries resulted in greater fruit decay. In both years, fruits stored at 10C had less top rot than fruits stored at 21C. In 1992, they also had less pod rot. Dry and chlorinated lines often had equivalent rot problems.

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