Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 5, 2005
Publication Date: July 16, 2005
Citation: Makus, D.J. 2005. Effect of mulch, mycorrhizal inoculation, and Surround on late fall pepper production [abstract]. Hortscience. 40(4):999.
Four week-old pepper (Capsicum annuum) cultivars, Sonora Anaheim and Capistrano, were transplanted on 7 Oct. 2004 into a sandy loam soil near Weslaco, TX (26' 08' N Lat.). Plants were subject to eight treatments consisting of sweet sorghum mulch, mycorrhizal (Bio Organics) inoculation, kaolin (Surround) application, and their factorial combinations. Mulch was applied at 2.4 kg / m2 and kaolin weekly at 25 kg/ha. Mulch applications reduced soil temperatures at 5 cm typically 8 degrees C during the 1200 to 1800 hr period of the day during the first 14 days after planting, but decreased soil temperatures to less than 2 degrees C by 22 Dec. Volumetric soil moisture content at 0 - 20 cm was initially 4 % (absolute) higher in the mulch treatments during the first week after planting but deceased with time as the mulch deteriorated. Mulching increased root dry weight 70 days after transplanting. Mycorrhizal association was evaluated in four treatments, where incidence of mycorrhizal infection was 'mulch + mycorrhizae' > 'mycorrhizae only' = 'mulch only' >> 'control'. Kaolin reduced plant height, plant top fresh weight, and improved yield in both cultivars by increasing earlier flowering and, in the case of 'Sonora Anaheim', reducing fruit drop caused by pepper weevil (Anthonomus eugenii). In both cultivars, mulch reduced yields and mycorrhizal inoculation gave no agronomic benefit.