Science into practice: The benefits of deleafing sweet peppers

Deleafing sweet peppers could be a useful way of saving energy costs and improving water efficiency without sacrificing yield.

Sweet pepper crops are characterised by a large leaf area that increases continuously throughout the growing season. Towards the end of the season the leaf area can be eight times that of the floor area on which the crop is growing.

However, are all of these leaves contributing to pepper production? Previous HDC work has shown that many lower leaves were respiring more than they were photosynthesizing, appearing to be net sinks rather than sources of food. Hence there might be no detrimental impact on yield if these leaves were removed.

There may also be implications for energy use because less heat would be needed to drive transpiration, although a balance is needed because transpiration helps cool plants in summer.

In the first year of HDC project PC 285, experiments explored how much leaf can be removed without reducing light interception and yield. Four deleafing treatments were applied to rows of the variety Special in a commercial crop. There were three levels of deleafing: 1.6m, 2m or 2.4m of leaf were left on the top of each shoot.

By the end of the season there had been no significant effect on yield or quality from any of the deleafing treatments. It would appear to be safe to deleaf peppers providing that at least 1.6m of leaf is retained, although it may beneficial to leave slightly more leaf in summer.

In the second year, deleafing experiments will quantify the benefits in terms of water and energy use and disease incidence.

 


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What challenges and opportunities lie in store for tomato growers?

What challenges and opportunities lie in store for tomato growers?

The British Tomato Growers Association (TGA) conference today (21 September) heard a range of perspectives on what changes lie in store for the sector and how to anticipate them.

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

As the British apple season begins, English Apples & Pears (EAP) is warning that growers will feel the effects of both a late frost in spring and also constrained labour supply.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon