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  • Author or Editor: Mohammed B. Tahboub x
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The pruning wood of pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] is often burned. Chipping and soil incorporation of pruning wood is becoming more popular as a result of environmental constraints on burning. The objective of our research was to determine how pecan wood incorporation into soil affects the soil chemical and physical properties. Pecan wood chips were incorporated into a silty clay soil at rates of 0, 4484, 8968, 13,452, and 17,936 kg·ha−1 in Summer 2002, 2003, and 2004. Some plots received nitrogen at a rate of 0, 15.2, 30.5, 45.7, and 61.0 kg·ha−1 to adjust the C : N ratio of trimmings to 30 : 1. Ammonium sulfate, as a nitrogen source to balance the C : N ratio of pecan wood chips, reduced soil pH. However, the wood chip amendments alone did not reduce soil pH. Soil salinity (as determined by electrical conductivity) and bulk density were unaffected by wood chip incorporation regardless of application rate or number of applications. Incorporation of pecan chips had little effect on soil moisture content, but the soil had an inherently high waterholding capacity. Pecan wood chip incorporation significantly increased soil organic matter content and aggregate stability, particularly at the higher application rates and with repeated amendment. The incorporation of pecan pruning wood into the soil appears to improve soil tilth and aggregation while providing growers with an environmentally acceptable means of disposal.

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Pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] pruning wood is usually burned, a practice that creates serious environmental concerns. Chipping and soil incorporation of prunings may be an alternative disposal method if nutrient immobilization is not a problem. Our objective was to determine if incorporation of pecan wood chips into soil would affect the availability of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Pecan wood chips were incorporated into a silty clay soil at rates of 0, 4484, 8968, 13,452, and 17,936 kg·ha−1 in May or June 2002, 2003, and 2004. Some plots received N (ammonium sulfate) at a rate of 0, 15.2, 30.5, 45.7, and 61.0 kg·ha−1 to adjust the C:N ratio of trimmings to 30:1. Wood chip incorporation did not significantly decrease inorganic N regardless of application rate or number of applications. When ammonium sulfate was added to balance the C:N ratio, soil inorganic N increased with the rate of wood chip application, also indicating that N immobilization did not occur. Soil-available P and K were not significantly affected after one, two, or three wood chip applications. Soil-available K increased when ammonium sulfate was added to balance the C:N ratio. Soil incorporation of pecan wood chips does not appear to immobilize N, P, or K, thus providing growers with an environmentally viable means of wood disposal.

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Phytophthora blight, caused by Phytophthora capsici Leon., is a major plant disease that limits chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) production in New Mexico. Chile pepper producers in New Mexico report that Phytophthora blight symptoms appear to develop slower and its incidence is lower in hot than in nonhot chile pepper cultivars. There has been no previous systematic assessment of the relationship of chile pepper heat level to chile pepper response to P. capsici. Three hot (‘TAM-Jalapeño’, ‘Cayenne’, and ‘XX-Hot’) and two low-heat (‘NuMex Joe E. Parker’ and ‘New Mexico 6-4’) chile pepper cultivars were inoculated at the six- to eight-leaf stage with zoospores of P. capsici under greenhouse conditions. Additionally, detached mature green fruit from three hot (‘TAM-Jalapeño’, ‘Cayenne’, and ‘XX-Hot’) and one low-heat (‘AZ-20’) chile pepper cultivars were inoculated with mycelium plugs of P. capsici under laboratory conditions. When plant roots were inoculated, Phytophthora blight was slowest to develop on ‘TAM-Jalapeño’ in contrast to all other cultivars. All ‘TAM-Jalapeño’ plants showed wilting symptoms or were dead ≈22 days after inoculation compared with 18, 15, 14, and 11 days for ‘NuMex Joe E. Parker’, ‘New Mexico 6-4’, ‘XX-Hot’, and ‘Cayenne’, respectively. When fruit were inoculated, lesion length ratio was significantly higher for ‘TAM-Jalapeño’ fruit than for ‘Cayenne’, ‘XX-Hot’, and ‘AZ-20’ fruit. Similarly, lesion diameter ratio was higher for ‘TAM-Jalapeño’ fruit than for fruit of other cultivars. Furthermore, mycelial growth on lesion surfaces was more extensive on ‘TAM-Jalapeño’ fruit than on fruit of other cultivars. Results from this study indicate that there is little or no relationship between heat level and chile pepper root and fruit infection by P. capsici.

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