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Chilli Capsicum annuum L. an important vegetable crop, widely cultivated in Pakistan. Chillies are native to South and Central America. In Pakistan, Kunri is the home of red chillies. It contributes about 85% of red chillies produced in Pakistan and is known as one of the largest production centers for red chillies in Asia (SBI, 2010). It is a perennial small shrub belongs to the family Solanaceae. It is an important agricultural crop, not only because of its economic importance, but also due to nutritional and medicinal value of its fruits. Chillies are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and it also contains Ca, P and Fe (Horticulture, 1994). Chilli is generally adapted to tropical climate and major chilli growing countries are India, China, Indonesia, Korea, Pakistan, Turkey and Sri Lanka. Chillies are used in salads, chutneys, sauces, pickles and form a key ingredient of diet in every home. It is also used in the preparation of natural colouring agents, cosmetics and pain balms (Savitha, 2008).
It is realized that crop yield is badly affected by the deficiencies of micronutrients (Bose & Tripathi, 1996). Plant nutrition has a great importance in enhancing quality and yield in chillies. If a plant is Zn deficient it can be controlled by direct application of Zn on plant leaves because Zn Salts are easily absorbed by the leaves. Zinc has a great effect on plant life processes, like uptake of nitrogen and protein quality, photosynthesis, chlorophyll synthesis (Potarzycki & Grzebisz, 2009). Deficiency symptoms firstly appear on younger leaves than the older leaves. A typical symptom of Zn deficiency is the stunted growth of leaves. Zn is enzymes activator and is essential for the consumption of sugars and carbohydrates transformation (Kirkby & Romheld, 2004).
Plant requirement of micronutrients like Zn can be fulfilled through soil application but in Pakistan soil pH is too high that limits the micronutrients uptake to plant, so foliar application of micronutrients is preferred over soil application. Foliar application of micronutrients may give 6 to 20 times better results in Pakistan than soil application (Liew, 1988). Foliar application of fertilizers is being used in vegetable and fruit crops. Foliar fertilizers are well-known for immediate delivery of nutrients to the plant tissues and organs (Baloch, Chachar & Tareen, 2008). As Foliar nutrition of micronutrients is a simple method and it does not require much infrastructure so it helps in increasing productivity, better fertilizer use efficiency and lessens environmental hazards.
The research work will be done with the following objectives.
To check the effect of foliar application of Zn on vegetative and reproductive growth of chillies.
To standardize the best dose of Zn for foliar application to increase productivity of chillies.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Botanically, Chilli (Capsicum annuum L.) belongs to the family Solanaceae. Chilli is an important crop not from economic point of view but also due to its nutritional as well as medicinal value. Growth and development is affected by the deficiency or lack of micronutrients. Due to immense importance of micronutrients in relation to plant growth and development a lot of researchers have worked on foliar application of micronutrients on fruit and vegetables. A brief analysis of reported work is given below.
The chilli is supposed to be native to America where they have been cultivated for thousands of years. Mexico and Northern Central America is thought to be the centre of origin of Capsicum annuum L. and were first introduced to Indo-Pakistan sub-continent in the 17th century by Portuguese and Spanish explorers through trade routes from South America (Malik, 1994).
Baloch, et al., (2008) conducted an experiment to check the effect of foliar application of macro and micronutrients on production of green chillies. They applied Higrow which is composed of Nitrophen (4 %), Nitrogen compound (12%), Iron (2%), Magnesium (2%), Manganese (2%), Boron (2%), Copper (4%), Molybdenum (2%), Potash (8%), P2O5 (12%) and Calcium (8%). They found that the foliar application of Higrow at 7 ml/L of water gave better growth and yield compared to other treatments.
Datir, Apparao and Laware (2012) studied the effect of foliar application of organically chelated micronutrients on growth and yield in chilli (Capsicum annum L.). The results indicated that un-chelated micronutrient enhanced the growth and yield and plant characters to 10-15 %, while amino acid spray contributed to 15-20% increase. Whereas amino acid-chelated micronutrients increase the growth and yield contributing characters to 40-100% in chilli.
Dongre, Mahorkar, Joshi and Deo (2000) studied the effect of foliar application of micronutrients (Zn, Fe and B) on yield and quantity of chilli (Capsicum annuum L.) in combination of 0.1%, 0.25% and 0.50% respectively. They found that the treatment (ZnS04 0.50%) showed maximum yield while treatment (FeS04 0.25%) produced maximum number of seeds/fruit.
Singh and Singh (2012) investigated the response of foliar application of micronutrients on growth and yield of chilli (Capsicum annuum L.). The results indicated that plant characters like number of fruit per plant, plant height, fruit length, fruit yield, weight per fruit and weight of fruit per plant were higher by the foliar application of treatments 0.2 % iron and 0.3 % zinc as compared to other treatments and control.
El-Bassiony, Fawzy, El-Samad and Riad (2010) investigated the effect of potassium fertilizes on growth, yield and fruit quality of sweet pepper plants (Capsicum annuum L.). They found that to get the better vegetative and reproductive growth, total fruit yield and chemical composition of sweet pepper could be obtained by foliar application of potassium humate (4 gm/L) or potassium oxide (4 ml/L) as a stimulative dose.
Kaya and Higgs (2002) studied the response of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) cultivars to foliar application of Zn when grown in sand culture at low zinc. They found that the plants grown in low (0.15 Î¼mol lâˆ’1) root zone zinc treatment had higher concentration of P and Fe furthermore plants receiving foliar applications of zinc at 3.5 mmol lâˆ’1 had higher P in both the leaves and fruit. Zn, Fe, P and K concentration increased with increase of zinc concentration in the nutrient solution and also as a foliar spray. At 7.70 Î¼mol lâˆ’1 zinc in the nutrient solution Mg was lower in the roots of plants as compared to all other zinc treatments. They concluded that the negative effect of zinc deficiency can easily be controlled by the foliar application of Zn when it is applied at optimal range.
Nasri, Khalatbari and Hossein (2011) conducted an experiment of foliar application of Zn on qualitative and quantitative features in bean (Phaseolous vulgaris) under different levels of N and K fertilizers. They found that the foliar application of Zn on bean had increased all the characteristics like carbohydrate percentage, carbohydrate yield, chlorophyll of leaves, radiation use efficiency, protein percentage and protein yield etc. and also reduced N fertilizer rate without reduction in plant characteristics.
Abbasi, Baloch, Zia-ul-hassan, Wagan, Shah and Rajpar (2010) studied the growth and yield of okra under foliar application of some new multi nutrient fertilizer products. The results showed that the plant characters like number of branches per plant, plant height, number of fruits per plant, fruit length as well as crop yield of okra found to be maximum by application of all three foliar fertilizers with the recommended soil applied chemical fertilizers.
Kiran, Vyakaranahal, Raikar, Ravikumar and Deshpande (2010) investigated seed yield and quality of brinjal as influenced by crop nutrition. The results indicated that the application of NPK 100:100:50 kg/ha + Azospirillum + Phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) each @ 125 g per ha (root dipping) + ZnSO4 (0.2%) spray gave maximum plant height (89.47 cm), number of leaves (87), number of fruits (20), fruit yield (27.06 t/ha), number of seeds per fruit (1852), number of branches (32), 1000 seed weight (7.90 g), percentage of germination (97), field emergence (91), seed yield (633 kg/ha) compared to other treatments and control.
Kanujia, Ahmed, Chattoo, Nayeema, Naryan (2006) studied the effect of micronutrients on growth and yield of cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.). The results indicated that plant height was maximum during both the seasons when foliar application of Zn was applied @ 100 ppm while maximum foliar application of mixture of all nutrients @ 100 ppm gave maximum plant spread, number of non-wrapper leaves, head weight, head yield and head diameter.
Anees, Tahir, Shahzad and Mahmood (2011) conducted an experiment to check the effect of foliar application of micronutrients (Fe, B and Zn) on the quality of mango (Mangifera indica L.) cv. Dusehri plants. They found that compared to control all the micronutrients gave better results in term of fruit quality. Whereas trees sprayed with 0.4% FeSO4 + 0.8% H3BO3 + 0.8% ZnSO4 produced the maximum pulp weight (169.2 g), ascorbic acid (150.3 mg/100 ml), total soluble solids (27.9 BrixÂ°), non-reducing sugars (8.83%), and less stone weight (28.13 g) along with low acidity (0.178%) compared to rest of treatments and control.
Ghazvineh and Yousefi (2012) studied the effect of micronutrient application on yield and yield components of maize. The results showed that the foliar application of Zn, Fe and Mn with K fertilizer increased the quality and quantity of maize and lessened the high consumption of fertilizers. They also found that the best time of foliar application in maize is at stem elongation stage and cob elongation stage to get the higher yield and efficient use of micronutrients.
PLAN OF WORK AND METHODOLOGY
To check the effect of foliar application of Zn on growth and productivity of chilli crop through different vegetative and reproductive parameters, a research work will be conducted at University College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha, Sargodha.
Variables in the Study
1. Dose of micronutrient
T1 = Control;
T2 = 0.2% Zn
T3 = s0.4% Zn,
T4 = 0.6% Zn,
T5 = 0.8% Zn,
T6 = 0.2% Zn (twice applied)
T7 = 0.4% Zn (twice applied)
T8 = 0.6% Zn (twice applied)
T9 = 0.8% Zn (twice applied),
T10 = 0.2% Zn (thrice applied)
T11 = 0.4% Zn (thrice applied)
T12 = 0.6% Zn (thrice applied)
T13 = 0.8% Zn (thrice applied)
(All other factors or variables will be kept constant.)
Research Design and Layout
The research work will be conducted according to randomized complete block design (RCBD) with 13 treatments and three replications. Hybrid seeds of chilli variety "HP-84" will be sown in the month of Feburary. Firstly seeds will be sown in the pots and to prevent from frost injury and to get early germination pots will be covered with polythene. After two months when chilli plants will attain proper size they will be transplanted to the prepared raised beds with the following dimensions (PÃ-P = 22.5 cm, RÃ-R = 60 cm) and treatments will be applied according to research plan. Foliar application of Zn on chilli plants will be applied with the following doses (0.2%, 0.4%, 0.6%, and 0.8%). The application of Zn doses will be twice and thrice after every 21 days and vegetative and reproductive parameters will be studied.
Place of Work and Facilities Available
The field work will be conducted at Horticultural Research Area while lab work will be performed at Horticulture Lab., Department of Horticulture, University College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha, Sargodha. All the resources and services required for conducting the research are available at above mentioned place.
Data Collection and Analysis
Data about vegetative parameters like plant height, number of leaves, number of nodes, number of branches, fresh leaves weight, dry leaves weight, and data about reproductive parameters like number of flowers, number of fruits per plant, total fruit weight per plant, fruit length, fruit girth, fresh fruit weight, dry fruit weight per plant all will be taken. Plant height from zero nodes to tip will be measured in cm with the help of measuring tape. The data about number of nodes, number of leaves, number of branches, number of flowers per plant, number of fruits per plant will be taken by counting. Fruit length will be measured by measuring tape while fruit weight will be taken with the help of vernier caliper. Data about fresh leaves weight, dry leaves weight, fresh fruit weight, dry fruit weight per plant will be taken by weighing balance. For the analysis of collected data computer software will be used. The attained results will be explained through different statistical methods e.g. the means of data collected will be separated by Analysis of variance (ANOVA) technique. Significant difference between treatment means will be compared by the Least significant difference (LSD) test at P= 0.05% (Steel, Torrie & Dickey 1996).