the soil may also be a cause (testing of the soil can confirm this). If any peppers show signs
of this rot, remove from the plant. Provide consistent watering and use mulching to prevent
moisture loss from the soil.
Flower drop - this occurs when buds, flowers or immature pepper pods drop from
the plant. This can be caused by a number of environmental stress conditions including
insufficient water, stress brought about by high temperatures, high humidity, nutrient de-
ficiency or insect damage. Some varieties appear to be less susceptible to flower drop. To
prevent, ensure correct watering and fertilizing during flowering.
Stip - stip, also known as color spotting or black spotting, is a problem seen
in mature peppers, but may also be seen in immature fruit. Stip disorder causes gray,
brown, black or green spots of approximately 0.25 inches in diameter (or smaller) and
may be slightly sunken. The spots can often be clustered, with a similarity to a bug infec-
tion. Stip typically occurs in the fall, often when a drop in temperature to approximately
30-40 o F/1-4 o C is seen. This can also be seen after peppers are brought into cold storage.
It is unknown exactly the cause of stips, but many believe it is caused by a nutrient im-
balance involving calcium, nitrogen and potassium. To prevent stips, use resistant varieties
and monitor soil mineral levels, keeping a high calcium level in the soil with reduced ni-
trogen and potassium.
Sunscald - this is caused by excessive exposure to direct sunlight. This typically
occurs at the height of summer when temperatures are at their highest, and when humidity
is at a peak. Leaves typically provide protection from excessive sunlight, but in instances
where leaves have fallen away, for example through insect attack, sunscalding can occur.
This affects fruit, both mature and immature. Symptoms appear on parts of the fruit directly
exposed to the sun. The affected areas become lighter in color, soft and wrinkled. Cracking
and splitting occurs, with white scar tissue forming - in immature peppers this turns light
green. The burned spots can serve as points of infection for bacteria and fungi. Therefore,
any fruit that has been affected can be picked before the fruit gets soft, with the fruit fine to
use, once the burned area has been cut away. This is different from blossom-end rot in that
blossom-end rot may form on both exposed and unexposed areas, and will always found
near the blossom end of the pepper. There are a number of ways to prevent sunscald. Some
varieties are more resistant to sunscald, and so these can be planted. Alternatively physical
shading can be used through use of a cloche or row covers. By being vigilant, you can spot
sunscald at an early stage and act to prevent it affecting your entire crop.
Wind injury - pepper plants can be damaged by strong winds in a number of ways.
They can rapidly desiccate a plant. Should this happen with a younger seedling, this can
cause the plant to die. On older plants this can cause severe wilting, which the plant may