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N.K. Damayanthi Ranwala, Anil P. Ranwala, and William B. Miller

One of the problems associated with preplant bulb dips into plant growth regulator (PGR) solutions is the lack of knowledge of solution efficacy as an increasing number of bulbs are treated. We evaluated the effectiveness (“longevity”) of paclobutrazol (Bonzi) and uniconazole (Sumagic) solutions repeatedly used to dip hybrid lily (Lilium sp.) bulbs. Experiments were conducted over a 2-year period, using sequential 1-minute dips into paclobutrazol (100 or 200 mg·L–1) or uniconazole (2.5 mg·L–1). No difference in plant height occurred as the number of bulbs dipped into PGR solutions increased to at least 55 bulbs per liter. This was true whether bulbs were washed (with tap water to remove soil particles attached to the bulbs) or unwashed prior to the PGR dip. These findings have an important impact on cost effectiveness of bulb dips, as the more times the solution can be used, the lower the cost. Washed bulbs were taller than unwashed bulbs due to lower PGR liquid uptake in washed bulbs (about 1 mL less per bulb) compared to the unwashed bulbs. These results indicate that the hydration condition of bulbs prior to dipping can affect the amount of PGR liquid uptake and therefore final plant height.

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Christopher J. Currey and Roberto G. Lopez

gently removed as 40 uniform bulbs were selected. Ten bulbs were placed in each of 4 L of solution containing 30, 60, or 120 mg·L −1 paclobutrazol (Bonzi; Syngenta Crop Protection, Greensboro, NC) or 4 L of reverse-osmosis water (control) for 15 min to

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John M. Ruter

Paclobutrazol was applied as a foliar spray, root-medium drench, and impregnated spike to `New Gold' lantana grown in 2.8-liter pots. Plants were treated 14 June 1993 at rates of 0, 0.5, and 1.0 mg a.i. paclobutrazol/pot and were harvested 27 July 1993 when control plants required further pruning. Impregnated spikes reduced plant size and flowering to a greater degree than spray applications. Drenches reduced root dry weight and biomass compared to spray applications. Plants treated with 0.5 and 1.0 mg a.i. paclobutrazol/pot were not different in regards to plant growth and flowering. Compared to nontreated controls, plants treated with paclobutrazol had a reduced growth index, decreased shoot and root dry weight, and fewer flowers with open florets. All plants in the study were marketable, even though growth control was considered excessive. Lower rates than used in this study should be considered for controlling growth. These results suggest that impregnated spike formulations of paclobutrazol may control plant growth in pine bark-based media.

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James L. Gibson and Brian E. Whipker

Ornamental cabbage and kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) plants of cultivars Osaka White and Nagoya Red were treated with paclobutrazol and uniconazole as foliar sprays or substrate drenches. These treatments were compared to the industry standard of daminozide foliar sprays. Applying drenches of paclobutrazol (a.i.) at 4 mg/pot or uniconazole (a.i.) at 1 mg/pot (28,350 mg = 1.0 oz) resulted in 6% or 17%, respectively, shorter `Osaka White' plants while a 2 mg/pot paclobutrazol drench or a uniconazole drench at 0.25 mg/pot resulted in 25% shorter `Nagoya Red' plants. Although effective, the expense of substrate drenches for both plant growth regulators (PGRs) would not be economically feasible for growers to use. Paclobutrazol foliar sprays at concentrations of up to 80 mg·L-1 (ppm) were ineffective in controlling plant height and diameter of either `Osaka White' or `Nagoya Red'. A uniconazole foliar spray of 16 mg·L-1 resulted in 17% shorter `Nagoya Red' plants and 6% shorter `Osaka White' plants. A daminozide foliar spray of 2500 mg·L-1, sprayed twice, resulted in 21% shorter plants for both cultivars. Spraying daminozide would provide optimal height control for the retail grower. Although spraying daminozide twice controlled plant height and costs half the amount of an uniconazole spray at 16 mg·L-1, plant diameter was not affected with daminozide, therefore a wholesale grower who would desire a smaller diameter plant should use a uniconazole spray of 16 mg·L-1.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, Ingram McCall, and John M. Dole

Preplant bulb soaks of ancymidol, flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole; foliar sprays of flurprimidol; and substrate drenches of flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole were compared for height control of `Prominence' tulips (Tulipa sp.). Height control was evaluated at anthesis in the greenhouse and 10 days later under postharvest conditions. Substrate drenches of ancymidol, flurprimidol, and paclobutrazol resulted in adequate control using concentrations of 0.5, 0.5, and 1 mg/pot a.i. (28,350 mg = 1 oz), respectively. At these concentrations, ancymidol drenches cost $0.06/pot and paclobutrazol drenches $0.03/pot. Since flurprimidol is not yet available and no price is available, growers will need to assess the cost compared to ancymidol and paclobutrazol. Flurprimidol foliar sprays at <80 mg·L–1 (ppm) were ineffective in controlling height during greenhouse forcing, but during postharvest evaluation 80 mg·L–1 resulted in 14% shorter plants than the untreated control. Preplant bulb soaks of flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole at concentrations of 25, 50, and 10 mg·L–1, respectively, effectively controlled plant height. Preplant plant growth regulator soaks are a cost-effective method of controlling plant height of tulips because of the limited amount of chemical required to treat a large quantity of bulbs.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, Ingram McCall, and John M. Dole

Preplant bulb soaks of flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole; foliar sprays of ethephon and flurprimidol; and substrate drenches of flurprimidol were compared for height control of `Anna Marie' hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis). Preplant bulb soak concentrations of flurprimidol and paclobutrazol were from 25 to 400 mg·L-1, and uniconazole from 5 to 80 mg·L-1. Height control was evaluated at anthesis and 11 days later under postharvest conditions. Ethephon (250 to 2000 mg·L-1) and flurprimidol (5 to 80 mg·L-1) foliar sprays were ineffective. Flurprimidol (0.25 to 4 mg/pot) drenches had no effect during forcing, but controlled postharvest height at concentrations ≥0.25 mg/pot a.i. with at least 4% shorter plants than the untreated control. Preplant bulb soaks resulted in height control with flurprimidol ≥25 mg·L-1, paclobutrazol ≥100 mg·L-1, and uniconazole ≥40 mg·L-1; having at least 9%, 6%, and 19%, respectively, shorter plants than the untreated control. Based on our results, flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks have a greater efficacy than either uniconazole or paclobutrazol. Preplant PGR soaks are a cost-effective method of controlling plant height of hyacinths because of the limited amount of chemical required to treat a large quantity of bulbs.

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James E. Barrett, Carolyn A. Bartuska, and Terril A. Nell

Experiments with' White Christmas' and `Carolyn Wharton' caladiums (Caladium × hortulanum Birdsey), croton (Codiaeum variegatum), brassaia (Brassaia actinophylla Endl.), `Annette Hegg Dark Red' poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Wind.), and `Super Elfin Red' and `Show Stopper' impatiens [Impatiens wallerana (L.) Hook.f.] determined effectiveness of paclobutrazol in solid spike form as compared to media drench applications for height control. Paclobutrazol drenches and spikes were effective for all crops tested, with a similar concentration response for all, except that drenches had greater efficacy than spikes on caladium. A reduced effect was observed when spikes were placed on the medium surface of `Super Elfin Red' impatiens, while placement in the middle of the pot or around the side was equally effective. These results indicate that the spike formulation of paclobutrazol has potential to provide adequate size control for floriculture crops with the possible exception of rapidly developing crops, such as caladiums. Chemical name used: (2RS, 3RS)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl-) penten-3-ol (paclobutrazol).

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, and Ingram McCall

Eight experiments were conducted to develop height control protocols for greenhouse-forced hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) bulbs. `Pink Pearl' hyacinth bulbs were treated with flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks to determine optimal timing of treatment, soak duration, quantity of bulbs that could be treated before the solution lost efficacy, bulb location of solution uptake, and if higher concentrations of flurprimidol can be used to overcome stretch that occurs with extended cold treatment. No difference in height control occurred when bulbs were soaked in flurprimidol the day of, 1 day before, or 7 days before potting; therefore, growers can treat bulbs up to 1 week before potting with no difference in height control. All preplant bulb soak durations of 1, 5, 10, 20, or 40 min controlled plant height. Any soak durations ≥1.3 min resulted in similar height control, which would provide growers with a flexible time frame of 2 to 40 min in which to soak the bulbs. When 1 L of 20 mg·L-1 flurprimidol solution was used repeatedly over 20 batches of five bulbs, solution efficacy was similar from the first batch to the last batch, indicating the soak solution of flurprimidol can be used repeatedly without loss of efficacy. Soak solution temperature was also tested to determine its effect on flurprimidol and paclobutrazol uptake. Temperature of the soak solution (8, 16, or 24 °C) had no effect on flurprimidol and only at a temperature of 8 °C was the efficacy of paclobutrazol lower. Postharvest heights of `Pink Pearl' hyacinths were similar whether only the top, bottom, or the entire bulb was soaked. Control provided by flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, or uniconazole preplant bulb soaks varied among the three hyacinth cultivars Delft Blue, Jan Bos, and Pink Pearl, so growers will have to conduct their own trials to determine optimal cultivar response to preplant bulb soaks. Also, `Pacino' sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) were treated with residual soak solution of flurprimidol to determine if substrate drenches could be used as a disposal method. Fresh and residual solutions of flurprimidol (1.18, 2.37, or 4.73 mg/pot a.i.) applied to `Pacino' sunflowers were similar in their efficacy of controlling height, which would enable growers to avoid disposal problems of residual soak solutions.

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James C. Sellmer, Craig R. Adkins, Ingram McCall, and Brian E. Whipker

Plant growth retardant (PGR) substrate drenches (in mg a.i per pot.) of ancymidol at 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, or 4; paclobutrazol at 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16; and uniconazole at 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, or 4 (28,350 mg = 1.0 oz) were applied to pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana). Control of height growth during greenhouse forcing and the residual effects on plant growth in the landscape were evaluated. During greenhouse forcing, plant height exhibited a quadratic dose response to paclobutrazol and uniconazole, while ancymidol treated plants exhibited a linear response to increasing dose. All rates of uniconazole resulted in plant heights which were 56% to 75% shorter than the nontreated control, whereas paclobutrazol and ancymidol treatments resulted in 6% to 64% and 5% to 29% shorter plants, respectively. Severe height retardation was evident with {XgtequalX}2 mg uniconazole. When the plants were transplanted and grown in the landscape (24 weeks after the PGR application), all plants treated with ancymidol, paclobutrazol, and {XltequalX}0.5 mg uniconazole exhibited heights similar to the nontreated control, suggesting no residual effects of the PGR for these treatments. Only plants treated with uniconazole at {XgtequalX}1 mg remained shorter than the nontreated control in the landscape. These results demonstrate that plant growth regulators can be effectively and economically applied in the greenhouse production of pampas grass.

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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.