Peppers

Year-Round IPM Program

(Reviewed 9/11, updated 9/11)

These practices are recommended for a monitoring-based IPM program that enhances pest control and reduces environmental quality problems related to pesticide use.

Water quality becomes impaired when pesticides and sediments move off-site and into water. Air quality becomes impaired when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) move into the atmosphere. Each time a pesticide application is considered, review the Pesticide Application Checklist at the bottom of this page for information on how to minimize water and air quality problems.

This year-round IPM program covers the major pests of peppers in the Central Valley, central and southern coasts, and southern desert valleys (Imperial and Riverside counties). Details on carrying out each practice, example monitoring forms, and information on additional pests can be found in the Peppers Pest Management Guidelines. Track your progress through the year with the annual checklist form.

Preplant

Special issues of concern related to environmental quality: volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Mitigate pesticide usage to minimize air and water contamination.

What should you be doing during this period?
Select the field considering:
  • Soil type
  • Cropping history
  • Pest history, especially weed species and plantback restrictions from the previous crop
  • The need for crop rotation to reduce problems from pathogens, nematodes, weeds, and insects (do not plant consecutive pepper crops especially for pepper weevil)
  • Soil fumigation history
    • Sample soil for nutrient, salinity, and pH to determine fertilizer and soil amendment needs
Prepare the field (for drip-irrigated peppers).
  • Conduct tillage operations. Preirrigate and cultivate to destroy initial flush of weeds.
  • Choose planting configuration.
  • Prepare planting bed.
  • Apply preplant fertilizer based on soil test results.
  • Install irrigation system.
  • Consider the use of plastic mulch and choose the color depending on management needs (e.g. opaque for weed control or reflective to repel aphids and whiteflies). Before plastic mulch is applied:
    • Consider treating beds with preemergence herbicides to control problematic weeds such as little mallow and yellow nutsedge.
    • Consider injecting preplant fumigants to control problematic soilborne pathogens and weeds.
  • Sample for nematodes if cropping history is unknown. Manage, if needed, according to the Peppers Pest Management Guidelines.
  • Control weeds in surrounding crop fields, head rows, fallow fields, and noncrop areas throughout the season.
Select planting method—direct-seeded or transplant.
Select an appropriate cultivar to provide desired yield and crop quality goals. Also, consider disease-resistant varieties. Use disease-free transplants, or if direct seeding, indexed pathogen-negative seed or treated seed.
Throughout the season, clean equipment and tractors before entering a new field to prevent the spread of key soilborne pathogens such as Verticillium and weed propagules.
Check transplants for diseases and insects before planting. Rogue infested or infected plants.
Arthropods
  • Beet armyworm
  • Broad mite (Imperial and Coachella valleys)
  • Cutworms
  • Green peach aphid
  • Flea beetles
  • Leafminers
  • Omnivorous leafroller
  • Pepper weevil
  • Seedcorn maggot (direct-seeded)
  • Thrips
  • Tomato fruitworm
  • Tomato (potato) psyllid
  • Twospotted spider mite
  • Wireworms
  • Whiteflies
  • Yellowstriped armyworm
Diseases
  • Alfalfa mosaic virus
  • Bacterial spot
  • Beet curly top
  • Botrytis gray mold
  • Cucumovirus mosaic diseases
  • Gray mold
  • Impatiens necrotic spot
  • Pepper potyvirus mosaic disease
  • Pepper tobamovirus diseases
  • Powdery mildew
  • Root and crown rot and damping-off diseases
  • White mold

Planting (direct seed or transplant)

Special issues of concern related to environmental quality: runoff, drift.

Mitigate pesticide usage to minimize air and water contamination.

What should you be doing during this period?
Plant seeds or transplants when soil temperatures are appropriate and the danger of frost has passed.
Consider all cultural and herbicide practices to manage weeds in direct-seeded or transplanted peppers according to the Peppers Pest Management Guidelines.

Seedlings or early vegetative growth

Special issues of concern related to environmental quality: runoff, drift.

Mitigate pesticide usage to minimize air and water contamination.

What should you be doing during this period?
Irrigate based on crop evapotranspiration (ET) to maximize water use efficiency and reduce the risk of soilborne diseases such as root and crown rot and damping-off diseases.
Check for pests or their damage. Refer to the Peppers Pest Management Guidelines for management options.
Arthropods
  • Beet armyworm
  • Broad mite (Imperial and Coachella valleys)
  • Cutworms
  • Green peach aphid
  • Flea beetles
  • Leafminers
  • Omnivorous leafroller
  • Pepper weevil
  • Seedcorn maggot (direct-seeded)
  • Thrips
  • Tomato fruitworm
  • Tomato (potato) psyllid
  • Twospotted spider mite
  • Wireworms
  • Whiteflies
  • Yellowstriped armyworm
Diseases
  • Alfalfa mosaic virus
  • Bacterial spot
  • Beet curly top
  • Botrytis gray mold
  • Cucumovirus mosaic diseases
  • Impatiens necrotic spot
  • Pepper potyvirus mosaic diseases
  • Pepper tobamovirus diseases
  • Powdery mildew
  • Root and crown rot and damping-off diseases
  • White mold
Abiotic
  • Wind injury (especially in Southern valley)
Manage weeds.
  • Cultivate close to the seedline to remove weeds and aerate soil.
  • Cultivate furrow bottoms of mulched fields.
  • Hand weed approximately 30 days following planting or transplanting.
Consider applying fertilizer as a sidedress or by drip injection, based on crop needs.

Bloom

Special issues of concern related to environmental quality: runoff, drift.

Mitigate pesticide usage to minimize air and water contamination.

What should you be doing during this period?
Manage weeds.
  • Cultivate and hand weed to remove small weeds prior to layby.
  • Apply layby herbicides before plants begin to fill in the bed.
  • Hand weed approximately 30 days following planting or transplanting.
Consider applying fertilizer as a sidedress or by drip injection based on crop needs.
Check for pests or their damage. Refer to the Peppers Pest Management Guidelines for management options.
Arthropods
  • Beet armyworm
  • Broad mite (Imperial and Coachella valleys)
  • Cutworms
  • Flea beetles
  • Green peach aphid
  • Leafminers
  • Omnivorous leafroller
  • Pepper weevil
  • Seedcorn maggot (damage rare at this stage)
  • Thrips
  • Tomato fruitworm
  • Tomato (potato) psyllid
  • Twospotted spider mite
  • Whiteflies
  • Wireworms (damage rare at this stage)
  • Yellowstriped armyworm
Diseases
  • Alfalfa Mosaic virus disease
  • Bacterial spot
  • Beet curly top
  • Botrytis gray mold
  • Cucumovirus mosaic diseases
  • Impatiens necrotic spot
  • Pepper potyvirus mosaic diseases
  • Pepper tobamovirus diseases
  • Powdery mildew
  • Root and crown rot and damping-off diseases
  • Root knot nematode
  • White mold
  • Verticillium wilt
Abiotic
  • Wind injury (especially in Southern desert valleys)

Fruit development

Special issues of concern related to environmental quality: runoff, drift.

Mitigate pesticide usage to minimize air and water contamination.

What should you be doing during this period?
Consider applying fertilizer as a sidedress or by drip injection, based on crop needs.
Check for pests or their damage. Refer to the Peppers Pest Management Guidelines for management options.
Arthopods
  • Aphids
  • Beet armyworm
  • Leafminer
  • Pepper weevil
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips
  • Tomato fruitworm
Diseases
  • Alfalfa mosaic virus
  • Beet curly top
  • Cucumovirus mosaic disease
  • Impatiens necrotic spot
  • Pepper potyvirus mosaic diseases
  • Pepper tobamovirus diseases
  • Powdery mildew
  • Root and crown rot and damping-off diseases
  • Tomato spotted wilt virus
  • Verticillium wilt
In areas where pepper weevil is a problem, remove from the field any dropped or culled fruit.
Survey weeds and keep records (PDF) to plan for next year. Handweed to remove late-season weeds.

Harvest and postharvest

Special issues of concern related to environmental quality: runoff, drift.

Mitigate pesticide usage to minimize air and water contamination.

What should you be doing during this period?
In areas with multiple harvests:
  • Continue to inspect for disease and invertebrate problems. Refer to the Peppers Pest Management Guidelines for management options.
  • Test plant tissue to determine if potassium fertilizer application is necessary. Test soil to determine soil nitrate status and if supplemental fertigation is necessary.
  • In areas where pepper weevil is a problem, remove from the field dropped or culled fruit.
Sample fruit to determine the effectiveness of your pest management program and cultural practices.
Carry out field sanitation. Destroy and remove all crop debris immediately after harvest and destroy other pathogen, nematode, and insect host plants.

Pesticide application checklist

When planning for pesticide applications in an IPM program, review and complete this checklist to consider practices that minimize environmental and efficacy problems.

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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