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Jianjun Chen, Russell D. Caldwell, and Cynthia A. Robinson

Gynura aurantiaca is a colorful foliage plant with creeping stems and velvety purple hairs that cover the green leaves. It grows rapidly, but is cultivated primarily for those attractive purple leaves. Annually during the spring, this plant produces prominent flowers both in appearance and smell, gaudy and malodorous. Flowering coupled with acquiring an over-grown leggy appearance have been key limitations in its production and use in interiorscaping. This study was undertaken to determine if an available commercial plant growth regulator could inhibit flowering. A-Rest (ancymidol), B-Nine (daminozide), Bonzi (paclobutrazol), cycocel (chlormequat chloride) and florel (ethephon) each diluted to three different concentrations were sprayed in two applications in early spring at 2-week intervals. Flowering and bud numbers and plant growth (number of lateral shoots, vine lengths and internode lengths) were recorded. Results indicated that applications of A-Rest, B-Nine, Bonzi and Cycocel, regardless of treatment concentrations, were ineffective in suppressing the flowering of this plant; whereas, florel completely suppressed flowering at the three concentrations used. The florel-treated plants also grew more lateral shoots, which produced a compact and dense bush-look, indicating that appropriate concentrations of florel application not only will stop flowering of purple passion but can also improve and prolong its aesthetic value as a potted or hanging-basket interior plant.

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H. Yakushiji, K. Morinaga, and Y. Koshita

The effects of 2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid (TIBA) and naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) on berry maturation and photoassimilates partitioning were investigated. Five-year-old potted `Kyoho' grape grown under a non-heating glasshouse were used. TIBA (200 mg/L) and NAA (200 mg/L) were applied to clusters at the beginning of veraison (45 days after full bloom). TIBA application increased not only soluble solids concentration in the juice but also anthocyanin content of peel, compared with those of control. On the other hand, the application of NAA reduced berry growth and delayed the berry maturation with harder flesh, lower soluble solids, higher acidity and poor coloration. In order to examine the effect of both plant growth regulators on photoassimilates partitioning in plant tissues, the whole plants were fed with 13CO2 at 10 days and 20 days after application of TIBA and NAA. The 13C distribution of pericarp and peel in NAA application was found on the lowest among the treatments. However, there were no significant differences in the 13C distribution and 13C absorption rate of pericarps between TIBA and control. These results indicate that NAA weakened the sink activity in grape berries, resulted in smaller berry size and the delay of maturation, whereas the berry ripening induced by TIBA application could not be explained by the distribution of photoassimilates in grape berries.

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Leslie K. Lake, Warren E. Shafer, Sheryl K. Reilly, and Russell S. Jones

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are often used in crop production for specific niche market needs. PGRs are frequently viewed as secondary business opportunities by the private sector, especially when compared to herbicide, insecticide, and/or fungicide markets. Nonetheless, PGRs are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and the additional cost of regulatory compliance as part of commercial development is significant. Of the two broad classes of pesticides regulated by the USEPA, conventional chemicals and biological pesticides (or biopesticides), many PGRs belong to the biopesticide class, specifically the biochemical category. Because of USEPA's responsibility to assure that any pesticide used in commerce will not result in unreasonable adverse effects to humans or the environment, specific data requirements have been established for product registration. Registrants must address each requirement, either by submitting relevant data or a request to waive the requirement, prior to receiving a federal registration. For biochemical PGRs, the acceptability of data or waiver requests, as well as any proposed label uses, are reviewed by the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD). The BPPD was formed in 1994 to facilitate the development of biopesticide products. Given the time and expense associated with PGR product development and commercialization, registrants should work closely with the USEPA and other stakeholders to help ensure successful product development.

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James L. Gibson and Brian E. Whipker

Vigorous osteospermum (Osteospermum ecklonis) cultivars Congo and Wildside received foliar sprays of daminozide or daminozide + chlormequat (Expt. 1). Both cultivars responded similarly to the plant growth regulator (PGR) treatments. Only a limited amount of plant height control occurred using 5,000 mg·L-1 (ppm) daminozide + 1,500 mg·L-1 chlormequat or 5,000 mg·L-1 daminozide + 3,000 mg·L-1 chlormequat. Flowering was delayed, phytotoxicity was observed, while peduncle length increased, suggesting that higher concentrations of daminozide or chlormequat may or not be effective at any concentration and may result in increased phytotoxicity. In Expt. 2, `Lusaka' received foliar sprays or substrate drenches of paclobutrazol or uniconazole. Foliar sprays ≤80 mg·L-1 paclobutrazol or ≤24 mg·L-1 uniconazole were ineffective in controlling plant growth. Substrate drenches of paclobutrazol (a.i.) at 8 to 16 mg/pot (28,350 mg = 1.0 oz) produced compact plants, but at a cost of $0.23 and $0.46/pot, respectively, would not be economically feasible for wholesale producers to use. Uniconazole drenches were effective in producing compact `Lusaka' osteospermum plants. Uniconazole drench concentrations of 0.125 to 0.25 mg/pot were recommended for retail growers, while wholesale growers that desire more compact plants should apply a 0.25 to 0.5 mg/pot drench. Applying uniconazole would cost $0.06 for a 0.25 mg drench or $0.12 for a 0.5 mg drench.

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C.L. Gupton

Several concentrations of mefluidide (Embark), a plant growth regulator; sethoxydim (Poast), a grass herbicide; and triclopyr (Rely) a nonselective herbicide, were evaluated to determine if italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) growth could be suppressed. Ryegrass grows prolifically during the winter in states adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico and may serve as a living mulch for strawberry (Fragaria×ananassa Duch.) and other winter crops if its growth can be controlled. Different chemicals and concentrations were screened over 5 years for their efficacy to produce living mulch. Mefluidide produced good ryegrass control but was not evaluated after Study 1 because it is designed for industrial use and does not have an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fruit crop label. Triclopyr, which has a label for several fruit crops, was studied only in the final year and it provided desired ryegrass control at the 0.016 and 0.030 mL·L-1 (parts per thousand) rate. Prime oil (paraffin base petroleum oil + polyol fatty acid esters) concentration affected results when sprayed with various sethoxydim rates. We concluded that 0.156 mL·L-1 sethoxydim plus 0.25 mL·L-1 prime oil will control ryegrass growth at the desired level (reduce growth by 40% to 50%) for living mulch. These rates are too low to cause much ryegrass browning. Chemical names used: N-[2,4dimethyl-5-[[(trifluoromethyl)-sulfony]amino]phenyl]acetamide, 2-[1-(ethoxylmino)buty1]-5-[2-(ethylthio)propy1]-3-hydroxy-2-cyclohexen-1-one), and ammonium-Dl-homoalanin-4-yl-(methyl) phosphinate.

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Matthew J. Fagerness, John Isgrigg III, Richard J. Cooper, and Fred H. Yelverton

Questions exist as to whether growth-inhibiting chemicals mimic the effects of reduced mowing heights on putting green ball roll. An experiment was initiated during Spring 1997 to investigate ball roll and visual quality parameters of putting greens maintained at 3.2, 4.0, or 4.8 mm with plant growth regulator (PGR) treatments applied monthly over the course of 1 year. Additional experiments were conducted during Fall 1995 and 1996 and Spring 1996 to investigate diurnal PGR effects on ball roll. All experiments were conducted on pure stands of `Penncross' creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds). Treatments included trinexapac-ethyl and paclobutrazol, both inhibitors of gibberellin biosynthesis. In the one-year experiment, mowing height was inversely related to ball roll. However, compromises in turfgrass visual quality and shoot density in `Penncross' turf mowed at 3.2 mm make this a questionable mowing height in areas with severe summer conditions. Ball roll during summer months was reduced by PGRs, suggesting that PGRs have little potential as alternatives to decreasing mowing height for increased ball roll. Paclobutrazol reduced turfgrass quality and shoot density during summer months, suggesting that it be used with caution. Other PGRs, particularly trinexapac-ethyl at 0.05 kg·ha–1 a.i., increased afternoon ball roll by as much as 5% to 10% in diurnal experiments. Use of PGRs on creeping bentgrass putting greens may therefore produce short-lived increases in ball roll with subtle to negative effects on bentgrass growth over more extended periods of time. Chemical names used: 4-(cyclopropyl-α-hydroxymethylene)-3,5-dioxocyclohexane carboxylic acid ethylester (trinexapac-ethyl); (+/–)-(R *,R *)-β-[(4-chloro-phenyl)methyl]-α-(1,1dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Xunzhong Zhang, R.E. Schmidt, E.H. Ervin, and S. Doak

Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) is an extensively used cool-season grass for fine turf areas such as golf course putting greens, but suffers from poor summer stress tolerance. These studies were conducted to investigate the influences of natural plant growth regulators (NPGR) and Fe on creeping bentgrass photochemical activity (PA), antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, root growth and leaf color under two fertilization regimes. The bentgrass was maintained in well-watered field conditions or water-stressed glasshouse conditions. A mature bentgrass was treated monthly during the field season with seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum Jol.) extract (SWE) at 50 mg·m-2 or humic acid (HA) at 150 mg·m-2 or in combination with or without FeSO4 at 520 mg·m-2 and grown under a low or a high fertilization regime. Foliar application of SWE + Fe increased PA (14% to 15%), while applications of SWE + HA or SWE + HA + Fe increased SOD activity (49% to 114%) of creeping bentgrass in Summer 1997 and Summer 1998. There was no significant fertilization × NPGR interaction for PA and SOD activity. Bentgrass PA was increased by 13% to 46% when treated with NPGR with or without Fe compared to the control measured in May. The addition of Fe with each NPGR application improved fall and winter leaf color. All NPGR and Fe treatments increased root mass (17% to 29%) in Aug. 1997 and 1998, except HA alone in 1998. Under sustained low soil moisture (-0.5 MPa) conditions, application of NPGR with or without Fe increased PA and SOD activity. The data indicate that SWE and HA enhance the physiological function of `Southshore' creeping bentgrass, resulting in improved root growth regardless of low or high fertilization regime. However, addition of Fe to these NPGR served primarily to improve late season leaf color. The results suggest that, in addition to maintaining adequate plant-available nutrients, applications of natural PGRs, such as SWE and HA, prior to and during summer abiotic stresses would be beneficial.

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Bruce P. Bordelon and J.N. Moore

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) [antigibberellins (mepiquat chloride, uniconazole, ancymidol, daminozide, chlormequat, ethephon, methazole), cytokinins (BAP, kinetin, BTP, 2iP), and ABA] were evaluated at various concentrations and timings for promotion of seed trace development and germination of four stenospermic grape cultivars (Vitis spp.): `Venus', `Mars', `Reliance', and `Saturn'. Data include seed trace number per berry, percent of seed traces with endosperm (sinkers), sinker fresh weight, and percent seed trace germination. Several PGRs effectively increased seed number and percent sinkers over control treatments. PGRs had little effect on seed fresh weight and percent germination. PGRs promoted greater increases in percent sinkers than seed number on all cultivars. The number of viable seeds per sample (seed number × percent sinkers) was increased over controls by up to 802% on `Reliance', 239% on `Saturn', 154% on `Mars', and 153% on `Venus'. A moderate percentage of viable seeds from treatments and controls of `Mars', `Venus', and `Saturn' germinated and established normal seedlings. The very small seed traces of `Reliance' did not germinate from either controls or treatments. The results indicate that PGRs can stimulate seed trace formation in some stenospermic cultivars and therefore may be useful tools in grape breeding programs. Chemical names used: abscisic acid (+/-)cis-trans isomer (ABA); a-cyclopropyl-a-(4-methoxy-phenyl)-5-pyrimidinemethanol (ancymidol); 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP); 6-benzylamino-9-(2 tetra-hydropropanyl)-9H-purine (BTP); (2-chloroethyl) trimethyl-ammonium chloride (chlormequat); succinic acid 2,2 dimethyl-hydrazide (daminozide); (2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid (ethephon); 6-(dimethyl-allylamino) purine (2iP); 6-furfurylaminopurine (kinetin); N,N-dimethyl-piperidinium chloride (mepiquat chloride); [2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1,2,4-oxadiazolidine-3,5-dione] (methazole); E-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-di-methyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)-1-pentan-3-ol (uniconazole).

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Patrick E. McCullough, Haibo Liu, and Lambert B. McCarty

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are commonly used to enhance putting green quality and ball roll distances but their effects with various mowing operations have not been reported. Three experiments were conducted and repeated at Clemson University, Clemson, SC, on an `L-93' creeping bentgrass putting green to evaluate the effects of mowing operations and PGRs on diurnal ball roll distances. The PGRs tested included ethephon at (a.i.) 3.8 kg·ha-1, flurprimidol at (a.i.) 0.28 kg·ha-1, paclobutrazol at (a.i.) 0.28 kg·ha-1, and trinexapac-ethyl at (a.i.) 0.05 kg·ha-1. Mowing operations tested included rolling vs. mowing, morning mowing vs. morning plus afternoon mowing, and single vs. double morning mowing, all with and without PGRs. PGR by mowing operation interactions did not occur in any experiments. Ball roll distances decreased from 12:00 hr to evening observations in all experiments. In Experiment 1, rolling the green without mowing reduced ball roll distance 4% (5 cm) compared to mowing. Turf rolled without mowing in the morning and treated with flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, and trinexapac-ethyl produced similar ball roll at 12:00, 15:00, and 18:00 hr to mowed untreated turf. In Experiment 2, all plots were mowed at 08:00 hr and half of each plot was remowed at 12:30 hr. The second mowing at 12:30 hr enhanced ball roll distances 6% (8 cm) over the day. Turf mowed only at 08:00 and treated with paclobutrazol and trinexapac-ethyl had greater or equal ball roll distances at 12:30, 15:30, and 18:30 hr to untreated turf that had a second mowing at 12:30 hr. Turf receiving ethephon and 08:00 hr mowing had 4% to 12% (4 to 17 cm) shorter ball roll distances throughout the day compared to untreated turf mowed at 8:00 and 08:00+12:30 hr, respectively. In the third experiment, mowing twice in the morning increased ball roll 3% (4 cm) compared to mowing once. Trinexapac-ethyl and paclobutrazol treated turf mowed once in the morning had greater or equal ball roll distances throughout the day to untreated turf mowed twice in the morning. Overall, PGR use may provide putting green ball roll distances similar to or greater than untreated turf despite additional mowing; however, ethephon reduced ball roll distances regardless of mowing operations. Chemical names used: [4-(cyclopropyl-[α]-hydroxymethylene)-3,5-dioxo-cyclohexane carboxylic acid ethyl ester] (trinexapac-ethyl); {α-(1-methylethyl)-α-[4-(trifluoro-methoxy) phenyl] 5-pyrimidine-methanol} (flurprimidol); (+/-)-(R*,R*)-β-[(4-chlorophenyl) methyl]-α-(1, 1-dimethyl)-1H-1,2,4,-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol); [(2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid] (ethephon).

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Craig A. Campbell

This paper describes the field research and development (FRD) process followed by agrochemical companies when developing a new plant growth regulator (PGR). Specific approaches used by Valent BioSciences Corporation in developing EcoLyst, a newly registered PGR for use on orange (Citrus sinensis) in the United States, are cited as examples of this process. Agrochemical companies acquire some new PGR compounds from outside sources, while others are discovered internally. Internal development of new compounds is simpler to control and manage. When a new PGR is identified from an outside source, a company must first determine if the compound is available for licensing or outright purchase. If so, they assemble a team of internal experts to review all available data (due diligence) to determine if it has sufficient value to warrant pursuit. Once a PGR passes the initial screening processes and is approved for acquisition and potential development, negotiations begin with the owner of the compound. Many projects stop abruptly when the negotiating companies fail to reach an agreement. Immediately after an agrochemical company successfully acquires a new PGR, a well-coordinated chain of events is initiated throughout the company's organization to accelerate work on the project. One component of this involves the FRD team, which creates a comprehensive field research plan for the PGR containing clearly defined development goals that are global in scope. The FRD team works throughout the world, near important crop production areas, conducting research with the company's products. Members of the FRD team generally report to a research leader located at the company's main headquarters. The FRD team is one part of a larger development team, that works collectively to find and develop promising new compounds and new uses for existing company products. If initial research results from a new compound are favorable, the objectives of the workplan increase significantly after the first year. University and government researchers are generally brought into the research programs after a year or two of in-house testing. Early stage work is often done under a secrecy agreement in order to protect proprietary information and interests. Specific control points are identified in the development process, where decisions are made to continue or not, based on reviews of research data, business plans, and regulatory progress.