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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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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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`Jalapeño M' pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) seeds were soaked for 40 h in solutions of 0.0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0 mm GA3 (using Release, 10% GA3) and 0.0, 1.75, 3.5, 7.0, or 10.5 mm ethephon in all combinations in petri dishes at 25 °C. The seeds were rinsed, dried for 24 hours, then germinated at either 25 or 40 °C. Thermoinhibition was induced at 40 °C, as nontreated seeds failed to germinate, but 99% of the seeds germinated at 25 °C after 7 days. Pretreatment with H2O alone partially alleviated thermoinhibition at 40 °C (41% germination). Pretreatment with ethephon alone resulted in up to 50% germination and with GA3 alone up to 79% germination. The effects of the GA3 and ethephon were additive, as the highest germination percentage (91%) at 40 °C was obtained with 3.5 mm ethephon + 3.0 mm GA3. The percentage of abnormal radicles was <1% in all treatments. Chemicals used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid (ethephon); gibberellic acid (GA3).

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Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.), barrel medic (Medicago truncatula Gaerth.), and black lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) were interseeded into `New Mexico 6-4' chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) when plants were 8 to 12 inches tall or 12 to 16 inches tall in 1993 and 1994. Hairy vetch overwintered well both years, whereas barrel medic and black lentil did not. Spring aboveground dry mass yields of hairy vetch averaged 2.11 and 2.57 tons per acre in 1994 and 1995, respectively, while N accumulation averaged 138 and 145 pounds per acre in 1994 and 1995, respectively. Forage sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] dry mass yield and N accumulation were significantly higher following hairy vetch than following the other legumes or no-legume control. There was no significant difference between forage sorghum yields following barrel medic, black lentil, or the no-legume control. Fertilizer replacement values (FRV) for the legumes were calculated from regression equations for forage sorghum dry mass yield as a function of N fertilizer rate. FRV for hairy vetch were at least 7-times higher than for either barrel medic or black lentil. Hairy vetch interseeded into chile pepper and managed as a winter annual can significantly increase the yield of a following crop compared to a nonfertilized control.

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Field studies were conducted in 1991 and 1992 to evaluate the effect of in-row spacing on machine-harvested jalapeno pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) yield and plant characteristics. In 1991, `TAM Mild Jalapeno-1' (TAMJ1) and `Jalapeno-M' (JM) were planted at 4-, 8-, 12-, and 16-inch (10-, 20-, 30-, 40-cm) in-row spacings and, in 1992, TAMJ1 was planted at 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-inch (7.5-, 15-, 22.5-, 30-cm) spacings. Total marketable yield increased linearly for JM (in 1991), while the yield response was quadratic for TAMJ1 in 1992 with narrower in-row spacing. Total marketable yield for JM (1991) and TAMJ1 (1992) was highest for the narrowest spacing, 4 and 3 inches, respectively. Red fruit yield of both cultivars in 1991 increased linearly with narrower spacing. In 1992 there were no differences in red fruit yield among in-row spacings. Plants lodged more at wider spacings. In-row spacings as narrow as 4 inches may increase marketable yield of machine-harvested jalapeno pepper.

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Bacterial spot epidemics, caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria (Doidge) Dye, continue to plague bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) growers in a number of southern and midwestern states. A 3-year study designed to compare cultivars and breeding lines under induced bacterial spot epidemic and bacterial spot-free conditions began soon after the first release of cultivars having the Bs2 gene for resistance to races 1 to 3 of the pathogen. Bacterial spot epidemics were created by transplanting `Merlin' plants (inoculated with races 1 to 3) into plots of each test cultivar at an isolated location in eastern Kentucky. Plots of the same trial entries at a second location were kept free of bacterial spot for 2 of the 3 years of trials; however, a moderate natural epidemic occurred at this location in 1996. Bacterial spot resistance had the greatest impact on yields and returns per acre in the inoculated trials. Cultivars with only Bs1 or a combination of Bs1 and Bs3 were highly susceptible in the inoculated trials. There were statistically significant and economically important differences in resistance among cultivars and breeding lines having the Bs2 gene; some were nearly as susceptible as susceptible checks. Although many Bs2-gene cultivars showed satisfactory levels of resistance, only a few were highly resistant, horticulturally acceptable, and comparable in yields to the best susceptible hybrids in a bacterial spot-free environment.

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Two field trials were conducted to determine the effect of reduced methyl bromide plus chloropicrin (MBr + Pic 67:33 v/v) rates applied under two types of virtually impermeable films (VIF) on nutsedges (Cyperus spp.) and stunt nematode (Tylenchorhynchus spp.) control, and bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) crop yield. A split-plot design with six replications was established, with MBr + Pic rates in the main plots and mulch types as subplots. MBr + Pic rates were 0, 88, 175, and 350 lb/acre. Mulch types were low-density polyethylene (LDPE) mulch, Hytibar VIF, and Bromostop VIF. Results showed that there were no differences on weed and nematode control, and bell pepper fruit yield between the two types of VIF. Two exponential models characterized the nutsedge responses to MBr + Pic rates with LDPE mulch and VIF, with weed densities declining as MBr + Pic rates increased. Reducing MBr + Pic rates by one-half (175 lb/acre) under VIF provided similar nutsedge control as the full-rate (350 lb/acre) with LDPE mulch. Similar results were observed with stunt nematode, where the most effective control occurred with VIF. Bell pepper yield with LDPE mulch responded linearly to increased MBr + Pic rates. However, a logarithmic model described the response of pepper yields to the fumigant rates under VIF. The application rate of this fumigant could be effectively reduced to 25% of the commercial rate (350 lb/acre) under either VIF, without causing significant bell pepper yield losses.

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Field studies were conducted in 2003 and 2004 to determine effects of withholding irrigation on pepper (Capsicum annuum) plant height, leaf chlorophyll content, yield, and irrigation water use efficiency. Irrigation treatments were initiated at pepper transplanting (S0), after transplant establishment (S1), at first flower (S2), at first fruit (S3), or at fruit ripening (S4). The control treatment received only enough water to apply fertigation (FT). Withholding irrigation did not affect pepper plant height except FT treatment, but increased leaf chlorophyll content. Withholding irrigation until S4 saved 50% and 41% of irrigation water in 2003 and 2004, respectively, without affecting fruit yield compared with the treatment where irrigation started at transplanting. However, yield in the FT treatment was significantly reduced. Irrigation water use efficiency (pepper yield per unit area per millimeter of water applied) was maximum at S4 (59.1 kg·ha−1 per millimeter) and S3 (24.1 kg·ha−1 per millimeter) in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Similar trends in response of pepper to the irrigation treatments were observed in 2003 and 2004 even though there were large differences in rainfall, and pepper yield between years. This suggests that withholding irrigation until first fruit may help to maintain pepper yield while reducing irrigation costs. However, it is important to have adequate soil moisture at transplanting to insure adequate transplant establishment.

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Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) is considered to be the most damaging tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) virus worldwide. Management of TYLCV has relied primarily on insecticidal control targeting the vector sweetpotato whitefly [SPW (Bemisia tabaci)]. However, resistance of the SPW to insecticides; increased length of the growing season, due in part to increased plantings of grape tomato; and asymptomatic hosts of TYLCV such as pepper (Capsicum annuum) have increased the need for wider use of TYLCV-resistant (TYLCV-R) varieties. The objective of this study was to evaluate horticultural characteristics of commercially available TYLCV-R varieties/advanced breeding lines of round and Roma-type tomato varieties in Florida. Sweetpotato whitefly populations and incidence of TYLCV were greater in 2007 than 2008. Under high TYLCV pressure, most of the TYLCV-R varieties/advanced breeding lines produced higher yield than susceptible varieties. In contrast, no clear advantage was found by using TYLCV-R varieties under low TYLCV pressure. Additionally, TYLCV-R varieties produced a high percentage of unmarketable fruit due to rough blossom end scars (BES), zippering, catfacing, sunscald, yellow shoulders, off shapes, and radial or concentric cracking compared with susceptible varieties in both years. Visual assessment of TYLCV-R varieties/advanced breeding lines for horticultural traits showed that ‘Security 28’, Sak 5443, and ‘Shanty’ were the best overall varieties/advanced breeding lines based on participants combined score rating, although ‘Tygress’ and Sak 5808 performed best based on empirical evaluation (numerical data) of total marketable yields and low unmarketable yield.

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Sixteen cultivars of green bell peppers (Capsicum annuum) were evaluated on the basis of yield in three locations across Pennsylvania during the growing seasons of 2008–09. Cultivars were evaluated in comparison with the cultivar Paladin. In central Pennsylvania, all the cultivars trialed had marketable yields (based on weight) not different than ‘Paladin’ except ‘Lynx’, ‘Socrates’, and ‘Escape’. In terms of fruit number, all cultivars were not different than ‘Paladin’ except ‘Socrates’. For large-sized fruit, all the cultivars trialed are recommended. In southeastern Pennsylvania, all the cultivars trialed except SP-05–47 had marketable yields not different than ‘Paladin’. For large-sized fruit, ‘Revolution’ outperformed all other cultivars, including ‘Paladin’. In southwestern Pennsylvania, all the cultivars trialed except Lynx and SP-05–47 produced comparable marketable yields to ‘Paladin’. None of the cultivars evaluated, including Paladin, consistently outperformed Revolution in terms of large fruit. Statewide, all the cultivars, except Lynx and SP-05–47, are recommended on the basis of marketable yields. For growers looking for large-sized fruit to meet market demand the cultivar Revolution is recommended over ‘Paladin’.

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