Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Two different greenhouse experiments were conducted to determine the effects of sources and levels of Ca on the growth, yield and mineral contents of bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) cv. 'Keystone Resistant Giant #4' grown on Cahaba silt loam. The CaCO(,3) produced plants that had significantly better growth, greater yield and higher nutrient uptake than did the control plants during the spring, summer and fall tests. Quality of growth, earliness of flowering and fruit development were better during the fall plantings for all treatments. The Ca(NO(,3))(,2) favored more vegetative growth on short internodes during the summer planting. Although a general yield depression was observed, spring planting had larger fruit production. Depression of soil pH with CaSO(,4) was greater during the fall planting. This resulted in decreased macronutrient availability. Interveinal chlorosis on the upper leaves of pepper plants occurred due to levels of Mn in excess. The excessive heat of summer caused poor fruit-setting, limited pollination, nutrient uptake, more blossom drop and production of smaller fruits, resulting in overall lower yield than either fall or spring plantings. Total mineral content was greater in the leaves, then stems and finally fruits. Uptake was greatest in fall, then spring and lastly summer. The P, K, Ca and Mg uptake generally increased significantly with increased Ca levels up to 1,500 ppm Ca as CaCO(,3). The Mn, Zn and Fe content was greater at low levels of Ca and soil pH. A soil pH range of 7.2 to 7.4 obtained by applying 1,500 ppm CaCO(,3) during the fall was considered optimum for bell pepper growth and yield on Cahaba silt loam soil under greenhouse conditions. Percent dry matter was greatest in the stems, then leaves and lastly fruits, and generally increased in each case with increase in Ca levels. Summer plants had the higher dry matter percentages. Abundant Ca resulted in the production of smaller plants, but stimulated early and higher yield in the fall test. Fruit yield was positively correlated with plant height, plant width, leaf area, length of fruits, diameter of fruit and number of lobes.