Hot sunny days at the beach guarantee sunburned bodies of people who forget to apply sunscreen, but did you know that fruits and vegetables get sunburns too?  Of late I’ve noticed lots of fruits and veggies with ugly damage caused by too much direct sun exposure – called sunscald injury.

pepper damaged by sunscaldAlthough sunscald injury is purely cosmetic and damaged areas can be cut out and eaten around, nothing is more disappointing than waiting all season only to be rewarded with damaged fruit!  According to the Utah Pests, team, sunscald injury can be avoided by:

  • Maintaining good leaf canopy through proper pruning, fertilization, irrigation and pest control.
  • Appropriately spacing plants.
  • Utilizing row covers or shade cloths when appropriate (great idea for peppers)!
  • Controlling diseases such as powdery mildew.
  • Taking care to not damage leaves and stems when harvesting fruit.

sun damage to pepper

For more information on sunscald injury, check out this Utah Pest Advisory and don’t forget to protect your own body from sunburns too – apply sunscreen, wear a hat, keep your skin covered and drink plenty of water!