Pruning cuts pests, increases capsicum yields

capsicums- by thoroughly nourished life.jpg

Harvested capsicums. Pruning and thinning can give up to eight kilos per stem. Photo by Thoroughly Nourished Life.

Farmers practicing thinning and pruning increase chances of getting five to eight kilos of capsicum yields per tree.

“During pruning, one retains the main stem with one other budding branch shooting from the stem. This gives the entire tree a vigorous growth due to reduced competition for the nutrients,” Agronomist Jeff Makori said.

Unlike the popular view that more stems would yield more fruits, the agronomist said the quality is compromised, which will also affect the price of the produce.

At the same time, the excess fruits must also be removed soon after the bulbs are about pigeon-pea sized.

Removing the excess to remain with about eight to 10 healthy fruits reduces over-crowding, besides concentrating the nutrients to the few healthy produce.

Any leaves near the fruits must be defoliated. In addition to reducing the canopy to allow for fresh air circulation, the removal of the excess leaves destroys the hiding and breeding places of the pests.

Leaves also encourage emergency of buds that would grow to shoots.

Defoliation starts after three weeks from transplanting until the end of the growing season. It has to be done weekly before the shoots before the leaves mature, leading to more wounds on the plant.

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With staking, irrigation, fertigation, pest control and other practices can yield fruits of between 150g to 200g.

Supporting the fruits above the ground reduces incidences of pests and disease attack.

From one acre on an open field, a produce of between 12 tonnes and 16 tonnes is possible, Makori said.

Harvesting starts from the fourth to six month depending on the variety.

Storing in the shade after harvesting reduces ripening, allowing for more market access interventions.