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Old January 23, 2019   #1
GoDawgs
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Default Pruning Pepper Plants?

Have any of you ever pruned pepper plants? Last year I tried an OP pepper 'Jalapeno M' and it had a rather tall leggy habit. It looked pretty funny next to the short, umbrella shaped 'Dark Green Korean' pepper! I'm pretty sure it's the growing habit as the plant that was set out was about the same size as the other pepper plants I grew.

This year I'm going to do another Jalapeno M along with hybrid 'Mucho Nacho' jalapeno again. More jalapenos are needed for canning pickled slices. I'm thinking about pruning the M somewhat early in the season to increase branching (and production) later. Good or bad idea?
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Old January 23, 2019   #2
Hunt-Grow-Cook
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I personally am a fan of it and do it to all my pepper plants. Especially if you have a longer growing season. Whether or not its more productive is debatable, but I do know first hand that pruning does improve the structure and stability of most pepper plants. Like you mentioned, fuller canopy and more potential growth sites. It really served its purpose for me when growing in containers. Some varieties would get rather tall even in containers and eventually become prone to tipping. Pruning negated that and created nice, compact, full and lush plants.
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Old January 23, 2019   #3
FarmerShawn
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Ok, so what, exactly, do you prune? I'm in a very short season area, so am not sure I dare to prune at all, but I might experiment, if I had some idea how to proceed.
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Old January 23, 2019   #4
Hunt-Grow-Cook
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I should have been more specific, I was referring to "topping" of plants, a form of pruning. I literally chop them just under the growth tip once they start to stretch and are between 4-6 inches tall. Energy is redirected below the cut, causing more branches to form, more potential bud sites and hopefully a nice secondary growth tip or 'Y' at the top. Aji's in particular can get well over 5ft tall, this keeps that somewhat in check and allows for more lateral growth as opposed to vertical. Probably should mention, not all types will benefit from topping and I do it only as a preference. Plenty of people on both sides of the camp. For me its more for manageability, stability and form/shape of the plants. Increased production may be a side affect, but like I said earlier that's debatable.

http://thehotpepper.com/topic/38705-...g-and-pruning/

Not sure that link will work without being a member, or if its even allowed. A wealth of info on topping and pruning though.
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Old January 23, 2019   #5
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HGC, Thanks so much for that link! It's great and worked just fine. For sure I will be doing some pruning and topping this spring!
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Old January 24, 2019   #6
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Pruning and topping are basically the opposites.
I don't think classic pruning is going to give better results with small peppers, on the contrary, since every pepper is formed at an intersection. I have not tried topping, I believe there will be diminishing returns for an overly bushy pepper due to light distribution, but I saw that some prune all lower leaves on the pepper quite aggressively so that could be an idea.
On big peppers however, things can change, and pruning tomato style with 2-4 'stems' (you basically cut one branch at every intersection) will yield better quality, thick peppers. Normally unpruned big peppers will abort many flowers, with pruning you can achieve much higher percent of set flowers so you don't lose fruit number but gain quality and weight.
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Old January 25, 2019   #7
rhines81
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I did a lot of "googling" last year on the subject and found many studies coming to the same conclusion regarding topping - production is about equal, but the plants are indeed more bushy.
This is OK by me as I can get a couple extra weeks under artificial lights before planting out due to height restrictions.
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Old January 25, 2019   #8
Goodloe
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I have heard of this practice, but have never done it. I generally just plant them out and let em go... I'll research it further, but I'm not sure that I see any practical value in the process....
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Old January 25, 2019   #9
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I totally agree with rhines, I experimented with topping and the results were, bushier plants but not any more productive than non-topped plants.
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Old January 26, 2019   #10
oakley
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Starting my peppers today....

A bit about topping, http://www.tomatoville.com/showthrea...per+challenged
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Old January 26, 2019   #11
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Not enough pepper experience or side-by-side comparing to know about yield-
topping vs not, but in years past I had lanky growth that barely reached the red
line in this pic. Fortunately I had a pea cage to keep them contained.
(4 plants in an earth box)
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Old January 26, 2019   #12
oakley
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That pic was August 12 2018 and this one is October 13 after a few
cold nights close to frost. So I'm starting seeds this weekend hoping to
repeat last season.
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Old January 26, 2019   #13
oakley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhines81 View Post
I did a lot of "googling" last year on the subject and found many studies coming to the same conclusion regarding topping - production is about equal, but the plants are indeed more bushy.
This is OK by me as I can get a couple extra weeks under artificial lights before planting out due to height restrictions.
Yes, I do agree with topping to buy some time before planting out waiting for warm temps.
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