This study aims to evaluate the effect of supplemental irrigation levels on vegetative parameters of bell pepper grown in open field and under shade mesh. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications and ten treatments in factorial scheme (four irrigation levels combined with shade). Irrigation treatments consisted in 0.25, 0.50, 0.75 and 1.0 rate of crop evapotranspiration and the control (no-irrigation).Shading treatment was of 50% reduction of the photosynthetically active radiation compared to open field conditions. Vegetative parameters were influenced by irrigation. The growth rate of plants present no significant difference. The growth rate of stem diameter present difference, being treatments 0.50 and 0.75 the highest.Significant interaction was present in the rate of chlorophyll, dry matter, leaf area index and number of leaves per plant. Plots under shade mesh showed the highest growth rate in plant height and stem diameter and leaf area index, number of leaves per plant, dry matter and lower chlorophyll index. As irrigation strategy, considering the water use efficient and vegetative characteristics of bell pepper, the most favorable irrigation levels were 0.5 and 0.75 of ETc, under shade and in open field, respectively, without affecting the vegetative parameters and yield.
Key words: Capsicum annuum, water stress, water use efficiency, drip irrigation.
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