Impact of tillage and irrigation management on bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) grown in organic and conventional production systems

Zheng Wang, Mark Williams, Krista Jacobsen, Timothy Coolong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Trials were conducted in 2011 and 2012 with ‘Aristotle’ bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) grown under different tillage methods and irrigation regimes in organically and conventionally managed production systems. Treatments consisted of strip tillage or plastic mulch in well-watered or water-restricted irrigation regimes. Within organic and conventional production systems, the study was arranged as a split-plot randomized block design with strip tillage or plastic mulch as the main plot and irrigation regime as subplot. Leaf water potential (ΨL), soil penetration resistance (compaction), volumetric water content (VWC), soil temperature, and pepper yield were measured. Soil VWC was greater in strip-tillage plots compared with plastic mulch plots under both well-watered and water-restricted conditions for plots in the organic system in 2011 and conventional system in 2012. In addition, soil VWC was numerically lower, if not always statistically different, in water-restricted plots compared with well-watered plots. The trend of soil temperatures within each production system were similar in 2011 and 2012, with plastic mulch plots having slightly higher soil temperatures than strip tillage, despite using white-on-black plastic mulch. Midday ΨL was affected by water regime, with wellwatered plants having a significantly lower ΨL than water-restricted plants; however, there were no effects of irrigation on predawn ΨL. Tillage method and sampling location (between row and within row) significantly interacted to affect soil penetration resistance in 2011 and 2012. There was a significant interaction of tillage by irrigation regime on yield within conventional systems in both years, but not in organically managed plots. In 2011, yield data also indicated that the date at which 50% of marketable fruit were harvested (yield_mid) were later for strip-tillage-grown plants than plastic mulch-treated plants within conventional and organic production systems, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1694-1701
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Society for Horticultural Science. All rights reserved.


  • Automated irrigation
  • Conservation tillage
  • Drought
  • Plastic mulch
  • Zone tillage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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