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The 2011 ASHS Annual Conference

Shading Levels Affect Bell Pepper Fruit Yield

Sunday, September 25, 2011: 2:15 PM
Queens 6
Juan Carlos Diaz-Perez, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA
George E. Boyhan, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Rajagopalbab Srinivasan, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA
Bell pepper is an important crop in the southeast U.S.  In Georgia bell pepper is grown on about 1,860 ha in open field and has a value of about $28 million. The majority of bell pepper in Georgia is grown on plastic film mulches. There is little information on the response of bell pepper under shade in the U.S.  The objective of this study was to determine the effects of shading level on bell pepper yield.  Bell pepper plants were grown on silver reflective plastic film mulch in the spring of 2008-2010 under the following shading levels: 0% (unshaded, as a control), 30%, 47%, 60%, and 80%.  Our results showed that shading of bell pepper plants affected both fruit yield and quality.  Total and market yields increased with increasing shading levels up to about 27% to 34% shading and then decreased with increasing shading levels, while cull yield decreased with increasing levels of shading. The reduced total and marketable yields and increased cull yields of unshaded plants were probably due to high heat stress. Moderate shading (about 30%) of bell pepper may be an option to reduce heat stress conditions and extend the spring season toward the summer months.