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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Pepper Brown Spots Could Be Irrigation or Sun

Q. I have a brown area on the bottom of my bell peppers. Any ideas?

A. Brown spots on bell peppers are normally from either of two things; a disorder we frequently see on tomatoes called blossom end rot or sunburn.
            If it is on the bottom of the fruit and not in a spot exposed to direct sunlight it is most likely blossom end rot of pepper. Blossom end rot, just like in tomatoes, is normally associated with irregular watering even though it is a nutrient deficiency.
            An inch of mulch in the vegetable bed helps to maintain more even soil moisture and less fluctuating of the water content in the plant. A more even soil moisture content has been reported to reduce the incidence of blossom end rot.
Blossom end rot bell pepper
            The other possibility is sunburn. If the brown spot is on the shoulder of the fruit toward the sun and not the blossom end, then it is most likely sunburn. This is because there is not enough shade covering the fruit. You will see less sunburn on peppers that are buried deeper inside the canopy of the plant.
            With bell peppers in particular we want as much leaf cover over the fruit as possible. Light shade, about 30%, over the plants, also reduces sunburn. Mulching the vegetable garden also helps.
            Having the garden in a location where it is exposed to morning and early afternoon sun, with shade during the late afternoon, will also reduce the problem.

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