Is this sunburn or something serious?

JustAddCoffeeJuly 13, 2014

Okay, so I've been looking around for a while to find some clear images of sunburn on peppers with minimal luck, but I did find a few here so I figured I would post my own pics and clear up this drama.

I have black streaks appearing on several varieties of peppers (hot and not) and in some joints of the plants. Does the plant sunburn as well? Also, is sunburn something I need to prevent or just don't worry about? Should I be rotating the containers to change the sun exposure profile? Is this a response to direct sun exposure? Because Red Bull pepper showing the most discoloration is actually on the shaded side of the plant.

Thank you for any guidance. I've been growing pepper for about five or six years now, and this is the first time I've seen this much discoloration across so many plant so I started worrying that it might really be a fungus in the soil or something serious.

(tech specs: Northern California, typical warm, dry summer, all plants are in Earth Boxes and appear very healthy otherwise, lots of flowers, lots of fruit, healthy leaves, use some light duty organic fertilizer (low nitrogen at this point))

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Here is a young Jalapeno with the same black marks.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 5:29PM
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Black joints in the Jalapeno plant.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 5:30PM
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Black discoloration on Fresno pepper.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 5:32PM
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Yep. Just sunburn and nothing to worry about.

Those black/purple streaks on the plant are totally common. I don't think it's related to sun at all. Just a plant feature. I'm surprised you've never seen them before in years past.

Might be a good idea to rotate containers since sunBURN can lead to scald(not good). Scald will turn a beige color and rots the fruit, but burn is nothing but cosmetic. I notice scald to be more of a problem with thick fleshed, large fruited annuums like Bells and Anaheims. Shade cloth or sheets work great at midday when the sun is at it's most intense.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 7:36PM
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Thanks, Kevin. I had seen the discoloration before, but it was always one pepper here and there so I didn't care. This time, it just seems to be pervasive. On my Jalapeno plants especially, almost every pepper has little black streaks, and that's probably 50-60 baby peppers right now. I worried that because we reuse quite a bit of our soil that we had just spread something bad into every container.

Anyway, thanks for calming my anxiety. Very much appreciated.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 8:05PM
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