Growth Retardants Control Height of Herbaceous Perennials

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture, Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI 48824

Twenty species of perennials were trialed to determine the effectiveness of five growth retardants on final plant height and flowering. Growth retardant treatments consisted of five sprays: 100 ppm ancymidol, 1500 ppm chlormequat, 5000 ppm daminozide, 30 ppm paclobutrazol, or 15 ppm uniconazole. Also included for comparison were two drenches of 15 ppm paclobutrazol or 7.5 ppm uniconazole. Spray treatments consisted of one application every 10 days until anthesis. Drench treatments consisted of one application only. Data for days to visible bud and anthesis, bud number, and final height were collected. Plant response varied significantly between growth retardant treatments. Sprays of ancymidol, chlormequat, daminozide, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole effectively controlled the height of 4, 3, 13, 4, and 12 species, respectively. Daminozide and uniconazole were the most effective sprays at controlling height on a broad range of species. However, daminozide delayed anthesis compared to control treatments of at least 5 species. Drench treatments of paclobutrazol and uniconazole were effective on 14 and 15 species, respectively. The number of responsive species increased significantly when paclobutrazol was used as a drench rather than a spray. All species tested were responsive to at least one growth retardant treatment.

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