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J.O. Payero, M.S. Bhangoo and J.J. Steiner

The effects of six applied N treatments differing by rates and frequencies of application on the yield and quality of pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum L. `Anaheim Chili') grown for seed was studied. The timing of N applications was based on crop phenology, leaf petiole nitrate-nitrogen concentrations (NO3-N) minimum thresholds, and scheduled calendar applications of fixed amounts of N. Solubilized NH4NO3 was applied through a trickle-irrigation system to ensure uniform and timely applications of N. Rate of mature (green and red) fruit production was unaffected by any treatment except weekly applications of 28 kg·ha-1 of N, which stopped production of mature fruit before all other treatments. Early season floral bud and flower production increased with increasing amounts of N. The two highest total N treatments produced more floral buds and flowers late in the season than the other treatments. Total fruit production was maximized at 240 kg N/ha. Differences in total fruit production due to frequency of N application resulted at the highest total N level. Red fruit production tended to be maximized with total seasonal applied N levels of 240 kg·ha-1 and below, although weekly applications of N reduced production. Total seed yield was a function of red fruit production. Pure-1ive seed (PLS) production was a function of total seed production. Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) for red fruit production also decreased with N rates >240 kg·ha-1, but PLS yield and NUE decreased in a near-linear fashion as the amount of total seasonal applied N increased, regardless of application frequency. Season average NO3-N (AVE NO3-N) values >4500 mg·kg-1 had total seed and PLS yields less than those treatments <4000 mg·kg-1. Six-day germination percentage was reduced with weekly N applications of 14 kg·ha-1. Seed mass was reduced with weekly N applications of 28 kg·ha-1. Final germination percent, seedling root length and weight, and field emergence were unaffected by any of the N treatments. These findings indicate that different N management strategies are needed to maximize seed yield compared to fruit yield and, therefore, there may be an advantage to growing `Anaheim Chili' pepper specifically for seed.

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B. Warren Roberts and Jeffrey A. Anderson

Experiments were conducted from 1989 to 1991 to compare the effectiveness of various cultural techniques in reducing solar injury (SI) and increasing yield of bell pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum `California Wonder') in southern Oklahoma. Treatments included black plastic mulch, white plastic mulch, straw mulch, living rye, spunbonded polypropylene used as a plant canopy shade, and bare soil. Marketable yields from plots shaded with spunbonded polypropylene rowcovers were equal to or greater than those from other treatments each year. Two out of 3 years, plots with a black plastic soil mulch had marketable yields lower than those from other treatments. SI was reduced by rowcover shade.

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V.M. Russo and B.W. Roberts

Soil conditions may not be adequate for uniform yields when perennial pasture is converted to vegetable production. This occurred with `Pip' bell pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum L.) planted in a 0.17-acre field 3 years after conversion from perennial pasture. Depths of the A-horizon and pH levels, as well as concentrations of N, P, and K were variable throughout the field when sampled after the last harvest. Marketable yields from plots established in the field ranged from 4.1 to 14.5 tons/acre. The A-horizon depth, soil pH, and residual N, P, and K levels were correlated with yield at specific A-horizon depths and pH levels. An intensive soil-testing regime likely will be required so that nutrient levels can be maintained to support bell pepper production on soil converted from perennial pasture.

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V.M. Russo

Delaying or limiting the number of harvests could improve yield and reduce inputs in bell pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum L.) production. Fruit were harvested in a variety of timing methods, which include three times over 14 days with the second and third harvests occurring 7 and 14 days after the first. Fruit from other plants were harvested once at either 7 or 14 days after the first harvest from plants that had several harvests. Fruit length was not affected by time of harvest. Number of marketable fruit, fruit width at the shoulder, endocarp thickness, and fruit volume were increased in fruit from plants harvested once. Marketable yields from plants with a single harvest were, on average, 1.5-fold higher than those from plants with several harvests. Delaying harvests improved fruit quality and quantity. Limiting number of harvests would reduce passes through the field and the associated costs, possibly improving net income.

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J. Cavero, R. Gil Ortega and M. Gutierrez

Paprika pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum L., `Agridulce SIA') was direct-seeded on raised beds in double rows 0.35 cm apart. Plants were thinned within the row to establish densities ranging from 13,333 to >500,000 plants/ha. Yield of paprika pepper increased as plant density increased, but plant densities >200,000 plants/ha resulted in only small increases in yield. Fruit number and dry fruit weight/plant decreased with increasing plant populations, and weight/fruit decreased slightly. The increase in yield/ha as plant density increased was a result of increased numbers of fruits/ha. Pigment content (ASTA units) declined linearly as plant density increased, whereas moisture content of red fruits at harvest remained unaffected. Plant densities in the range of 150,000 to 200,000 plants/ha were optimal in terms of fruit yield and pigment content.

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Judy A. Thies, Richard L. Fery, John D. Mueller, Gilbert Miller and Joseph Varne

Resistance of two sets of bell pepper [(Capsicum annuum L. var. annuum (Grossum Group)] cultivars near-isogenic for the N gene that conditions resistance to root-knot nematodes [Meloidogyne incognita (Chitwood) Kofoid and White, M. arenaria (Neal) Chitwood races 1 and 2, and M. javanica (Treub) Chitwood] was evaluated in field tests at Blackville, S.C. and Charleston, S.C. The isogenic bell pepper sets were `Charleston Belle' (NN) and `Keystone Resistant Giant' (nn), and `Carolina Wonder' (NN) and `Yolo Wonder B' (nn). The resistant cultivars Charleston Belle and Carolina Wonder were highly resistant; root galling was minimal for both cultivars at both test sites. The susceptible cultivars Keystone Resistant Giant and Yolo Wonder B were highly susceptible; root galling was severe at both test sites. `Charleston Belle' had 96.9% fewer eggs per g fresh root than `Keystone Resistant Giant', and `Carolina Wonder' had 98.3% fewer eggs per g fresh root than `Yolo Wonder B' (averaged over both test sites). `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' exhibited a high level of resistance in field studies at both sites. These results demonstrate that resistance conferred by the N gene for root-knot nematode resistance is effective in field-planted bell pepper. Root-knot nematode resistant bell peppers should provide economical and environmentally compatible alternatives to methyl bromide and other nematicides for managing M. incognita.

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Judy A. Thies and Richard L. Fery

Expression of the N gene, which confers resistance to southern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita Kofoid and White) in bell pepper [(Capsicum annuum L. var. annuum (Grossum Group)], is modified at high temperatures (28 °C and 32 °C), but its expression in the heterozygous condition (Nn) has not been documented at moderate or high temperatures. Responses of the near-isogenic bell pepper cultivars, Charleston Belle and Keystone Resistant Giant (differing at the N locus), and the F1 and reciprocal F1 crosses between these cultivars to M. incognita race 3 were determined at 24, 28, and 32 °C in growth chamber experiments. `Keystone Resistant Giant' (nn) was susceptible at 24, 28, and 32 °C. `Charleston Belle' (NN) exhibited high resistance at 24 °C and resistance was partially lost at 28 and 32 °C. However, at 32 °C root gall and egg mass severity indices for `Charleston Belle' were still in the resistant range, and the number of M. incognita eggs per gram fresh root and reproductive index were 97% and 90% less, respectively, than for `Keystone Resistant Giant'. Responses of the F1 and F1 reciprocal hybrid populations to M. incognita were similar to the response of the resistant parent at all temperatures. Root fresh weights and top dry weights indicated that both hybrid populations tolerated M. incognita infections at least as well as `Charleston Belle'. These findings indicate that i) only one of the parental inbred lines needs to be converted to the NN genotype to produce F1 hybrid cultivars with fully functional N-type resistance to M. incognita; and ii) cytoplasmic factors are not involved in expression of N-type resistance and the resistant parental inbred can used to equal advantage as either the paternal or the maternal parent.

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Ami N. Erickson and Albert H. Markhart

High temperature reduces fruit set in bell pepper [Capsicum annuum L. var. annuum (Grossum Group)], and reduction of pepper productivity, resulting from high temperature, may be a direct effect of temperature or an indirect effect of water stress induced by increased vapor pressure deficits (VPDs) at high temperature. We evaluated responses of plant growth, reproduction, net photosynthesis (PN), chlorophyll fluorescence, predawn respiration, leaf water potential, and stomatal conductance of `Ace' and `Bell Boy' bell pepper to elevated temperature (33 °C) with increased VPD (2.1 kPa) or elevated temperature with no increase in VPD (1.1 kPa). VPD had no effect on flower number or fruit set and did not adversely influence the physiological processes measured. Therefore, deleterious effects of high temperature on pepper fruit set does not appear to be temperature induced water stress, but is more likely a direct temperature response. Elevated temperature decreased fruit set but not flower production. Gas exchange measurements suggest failure to set fruit was not due to reduced leaf photosynthesis.

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Carl E. Motsenbocker

Pepperoncini pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum L. `Golden Greek') was grown at in-row spacings of 7.5, 15, 22.5, 30, and 45 cm to determine the effect of plant population on growth and fruit yield in a 2-year field study. In 1992, pepper plants grown at the 15-cm in-row spacing had the lowest plant, stem, and leaf dry weights, while plants at the lowest density (45-cm spacing) had the highest plant, leaf, and stem dry weights and the largest leaf area (LA). Of plants grown at the 7.5-cm spacing, the total yield and fruit count per hectare were higher than at the other spacings; however, fruit yield per plant was lowest. In 1993, the lowest plant and leaf dry weights and LA and highest LA index (LAI) were from plants at the 7.5-cm in-row spacing. Plants at the 45-cm spacing had the highest plant and leaf dry weight and LA and the lowest LAI. Pepper plants grown at the narrowest spacing produced the lowest early and total fruit yield per plant but the most fruit per hectare. In general, plants grown at the narrowest spacings produced the smallest plant, leaf, and stem biomass but resulted in the highest fruit yields and counts per hectare and the lowest fruit yields per plant.

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R. Gil Ortega, M. Gutierrez and J. Cavero

Pimiento pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum L. `Piquillo') was directly seeded on raised beds in double rows 0.35 cm apart. Plants were thinned within the row to establish densities ranging from 13,333 to 186,667 plants/ha. Marketable yield of pepper increased as plant density increased to 100,000 plants/ha. However, with plant densities >100,000 plants/ha, marketable yield did not increase (2001) or slightly decreased (2000). Plant density affected pepper yield only in the first harvest date. Fruit number and fruit weight per plant decreased with increasing plant populations. Weight per fruit decreased slightly at densities >100,000 plants/ha. The increase in yield per hectare as plant density increased was mainly a result of increased number of fruit per hectare. The intercepted PAR by the pepper canopy increased with increases in plant density to about 100,000 plants/ha and this increased interception of PAR resulted in an increase in yield. Plant densities in the range of 100,000 to 120,000 plants/ha were optimal in terms of marketable yield.