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Daniel I. Leskovar and Ronald R. Heineman

Two studies were conducted to determine how greenhouse irrigation systems alter root elongation, root morphology, shoot growth, and water status of `TAM-Mild Jalapeño-1' pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) seedlings. Transplants were grown in containerized trays for 48 days in a greenhouse. Irrigation systems were 1) flotation (FI), 2) 28 days FI plus 14 days overhead (OI; FI + OI), 3) alternate OI and FI (OI–FI), and 4) OI. FI and OI–FI transplants maintained a uniform lateral root length increase between 20 and 41 days after seeding (DAS). In FI + OI and OI transplants, lateral root elongation tended to plateau at ≈31 DAS; however, by increasing the number and length (33%) of basal roots, OI transplants had a total root growth compensation during the remaining growth period. At 41 DAS, OI transplants had a higher shoot: root ratio (S: R = 5) and maintained a higher shoot water potential (Ψstem = –0.58) than FI transplants (S: R = 3; Ψstem= –0.69 MPa, respectively). In the second study, OI transplants maintained higher Ψstem than FI transplants. The latter had a lower stomatal conductance and photosynthesis rate than OI and FI + OI transplants. FI may be used to lower the S: R ratio and promote hardiness in jalapeño transplants.

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Daniel I. Leskovar and Ronald R. Heineman

This study was conducted to investigate how irrigation systems alter root elongation, root morphology, shoot growth characteristics and yield of `TAM-M' jalapeno pepper seedlings. Transplants were grown in containerized trays (18 cm3/cell) for 6 weeks in a greenhouse in Spring 1991. Irrigation systems were: a) floatation (FI), b) 4-week floatation plus 2-week overhead (FI+OI); c) alternate floatation and overhead (FI/OI), and d) overhead (OI). The growing media was maintained between 50 and 20% of its water holding capacity. Between 20 and 41 days after seeding (DAS), FI and FI/OI transplants maintained a constant lateral root length increase. In both FI+OI and OI transplants, lateral root elongation response tended to a `plateau' at ≈ 31 DAS. However, between 31 and 41 DAS, OI transplants had a root growth compensation, increasing the number and length (33%) of basal roots. In FI+OI transplants, basal root growth compensation occurred later in the field. At planting, OI transplants had higher shoot/root ratio (S:R=5) and maintained a higher shoot water potential (ψ= -0.58 MPa) than FI transplants (S:R=3; ψ= -0.69 MPa), respectively. Overhead-irrigated transplants had higher early fruit yields than floatation-irrigated transplants, but total yields were unaffected.