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1.    Raising of rooted cuttings

Preparation of nursery mixture
The Nursery mixture is prepared by mixing two parts of fertile top soil, one part of river sand and one part of cattle manure (2:1:1). The moistened nursery mixture should be solarized to get rid of some of the soil borne plant pathogens. To solarize, the moistened nursery mixture is spread on a levelled surface with 1 m width and 25 cm height and of convenient length. These beds should be located in an area exposed to bright sunlight. The beds are covered with transparent polythene sheet of 100-150 guage, without leaving any air gaps. The beds are to be sealed on all the sides with a mud plaster. This would ensure heat buildup, a process called solarization. About 35-45 days of solarization is necessary to be effective. Later polythene sheets are removed. To prevent pathogen contamination, the solarized nursery mixture should be immediately mixed with biocontrol agents viz. Trichoderma harzianum or T. viride (1 g per kg of nursery mixture), Pseudomonas fluorescens (Strain P1) (20 g dissolved in 1 litre water and 50 ml of this solution to be used for one kg of nursery mixture) and VAM/AMF (vesicular arbuscular mycorrhiza /arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) @ 100cc per kg of nursery mixture, Pochonia chlamydosporia (1-2g/kg of nursery mixture). Such solarized nursery mixture mixed with above biocontrol agents would prevent root infection in the pepper cuttings.
Where solarisation of nursery mixture is not possible, unsolarised nursery mixture can also be mixed with biocontrol agents that would protect roots from infection. The nursery mixture is then filled in polybags of size 20X10cm or 15X10 cm, with enough holes to ensure proper drainage.

1 Preparation of cuttings
Select runner shoots produced at the base of mother plant and keep them coiled and raised on a stake to prevent soil contamination and from striking roots in the soil. Separate them from the vines during February-March. The middle one-third portion of runner shoot is preferred for planting. Very tender and too woody shoots are to be avoided. The selected runner shoots are cut into 2-3 noded cuttings. Leaves, if any are to be clipped off leaving a small portion of the petiole on the stem.
Cuttings are to be treated with Pseudomonas flourescens culture by dipping cut ends of the cuttings in slurry of P. flourescens culture (250 g in 750 ml of water) for 20 minutes. Treated cuttings are planted in polythene bags at the rate of 2-3 cuttings /bag.
2 Planting of cuttings in poly bags
The cuttings should be planted at least one node in the soil during February. After planting, the nursery bags should be kept under good shade. In large nurseries, pandals with 50% shade net are to be erected. During rainy season, the top of the pandals may be covered with 200 gauge UV stabilized polythene sheets to prevent dripping of water into the polybag. Judicious watering is recommended in the nursery to ensure high humidity and moderate temperature conducive for optimum sprouting of the cuttings. Heavy watering leading to stagnation should be avoided. Housing the cuttings for about 20 days in a moist chamber covered on all sides with transparent polythene would ensure higher percentage of sprouting and better establishment.
The cuttings with 3 to 4 leaves of 3 to 4 months old would be ready for planting in May-June.
The method requires grown up rooted cuttings in 20 x 10 cm poly bags. Rooted cuttings are arranged in one end of the nursery and each cutting is trained to grow horizontally. As shoot grows, bags filled with the nursery mixture are kept underneath each node and allowed to strike roots. It is essential to ensure that each node touches the mixture. The shoot is then allowed to grow for about 3 months that can produce about 10-15 single noded rooted cuttings. This process continues in such a way that a single node gets rooted in each bag until the shoot reaches the last bag in a row. Once 20 nodes get rooted, the first 10 polythene bags with rooted nodes should be separated by cutting the internodes and the cut ends are also pressed into the bag. The axillary bud from each node in the bag sprouts and develops into 4-5 noded rooted cuttings in about 2-3 months. After a gap of another 20-30 days, the rest of the bags also can be separated. About 40-60 rooted cuttings can be produced from a single plant during a year.

3. Pepper shoot multiplication Mature pepper shoots can be raised on inclined bamboos under shade conditions (coconut grove) or in a net house. These mature shoots can be utilized to raise 2-3 noded rooted cuttings. For this, plant rooted cuttings at one feet depth and distance. Cuttings are allowed to grow on a bamboo/ wooden stake, which are kept at an angle of 450. To prevent root infection, add decomposed farm yard manure mixed with biocontrol agents to each row, and provide irrigation during summer. After a year the shoots may be harvested. About 15-25 numbers of 2-3 noded cuttings can be produced from a single shoot per year.

4.Orthotropic shoots: Orthotropic shoots are erect growing leader shoots along the support/ standard (climbing shoots). Orthotropic shoots can be cut or extracted from the top up to 6 - 7 nodes down on the support. Too tender or too woody shoots need to be avoided. The medium matured green shoots are selected. These shoots with 5-6 node bits are planted directly in the planting pits. Two or three shoots per standards are used and their number varies from place to place. Orthotropic shoots as source of planting materials are obtained from 2-3 year-old vines. Plants raised with these shoots generally flower early and fruiting laterals start right from the base of the vine.

Management of Diseases in the Nursery
The diseases would amply be under control if the below mentioned prophylactic measures during nursery raising are strictly followed. Rooted cuttings raised in nursery mixture mixed with biocontrol agents would prevent root rot. However, if stray disease incidence is noticed, necessary plant protection measures are adopted.
Measures to be taken up to prevent the occurrence of diseases in nursery
•    Spray and drench the plants at fortnightly intervals with 2% Pseudomonas fluorescens suspension.
•    Maintenance of hygiene in the nursery is most important to avoid pest and disease problems.
•    It is desirable to change the site of the nursery at least once in two years to avoid pathogen population build up.

Chemical control Chemical control may be resorted to only in case of disease occurrence.
1.Phytophthora infection: Spraying and drenching the nursery bags with potassium phosphonate 0.3% (3 ml / litre of 40% formulation) or Metalaxyl-mancozeb 0.125% (1.25 g of Ridomil-mancozeb per 1 litre) at monthly interval is recommended. Alternatively, spraying the cuttings with Bordeaux mixture 1% and drenching with copper oxychloride 0.2% (2 g per litre) at monthly interval can also be adopted.
2. Anthracnose and basal wilt: The disease can be controlled by pre-planting treatment of cuttings by immersing in a solution of carbendazim + mancozeb 0.1% for 30 min and spraying Bordeaux mixture 1% or carbendazim+ mancozeb 0.1%.
3. Leaf rot and blight: This disease can be controlled by spraying Bordeaux mixture 1%.
4. Nematode infestation: Root infection (root rot) due to plant parasitic nematodes would result in poor growth, foliar yellowing and some times interveinal chlorosis of leaves of the rooted cuttings. As a preventive measure , nursery mixure may be fortified with talc based formulation of biocontrol agents such as Pochonia chlamydosporia or Trichoderma harzianum @ 1-2 g/kg of soil, the product containing 106 cfu fungus/g of substrate. Regularly check the nursery for nematode infection, if any, and remove such bags with severely infected cuttings from the nursery. Application of neem cake @ 1Kg /Pit at the time of planting may also prevent nematode infestation.
5. Viral Infection
1. Remove and destroy immediately whenever virus infection such as mosaic/yellow mottle symptoms are seen on the leaves. Such uprooted infected vines may be burnt or buried deep in the soil.
2. Insect vectors such as aphids and mealy bugs on the plant once noticed should be controlled with insecticide spray. Insecticides like dimethoate 0.05% can control aphids, mealybugs and other sucking insects. Because of the closed placing of cuttings, chances of spread of mealy bug are more in the nursery. Hence regular monitoring of the nursery for mealy bug is important.