African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6862

Full Length Research Paper

Effect of plant population, stem and flower pruning on hydroponically grown sweet pepper in a shadenet structure

M. M. Maboko*, C. P. Du Plooy and S. Chiloane
Agricultural Research Council (ARC)-Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute (VOPI), Roodeplaat, Private Bag X 293,  Pretoria, 0001, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 30 January 2012
  •  Published: 19 March 2012


A study was conducted in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 to investigate the effect of plant population, flower 
and stem pruning of hydroponically grown peppers in a 40% (black and white) shadenet structure at the 
ARC-Roodeplaat VOPI. The research was done in an open bag hydroponic system with sawdust as 
growing medium. Pepper plants were subjected to three plant populations (2, 2.5 and 3 plant/m2
), three 
stem pruning treatments (2, 3 and 4 stems) and three flower pruning treatments (removal of first two or
first four flowers or zero flower removal). Experimental layout was a randomized block design with two 
replicates. Sweet pepper fruits were harvested at a mature green stage. Data was collected on ten 
plants determining fruit number, fruit mass, unmarketable yield, marketable yield and total yield for all 
treatments. Stem pruning to four stems without removing any flowers at a plant population of 3 
plants/m2 resulted in the highest yield and quality. Pruning the first two or four fruits seemed to have no 
significant influence on yield. Results showed that sweet pepper yield and quality can be effectively 
manipulated by plant population and stem pruning, while flower pruning had insignificant (p<0.05)
Key words: Flower abscission, fruit yield, open-bag hydroponic system, planting density.