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C.E. Wieland, J.E. Barrett, C.A. Bartuska, D.G. Clark, and T.A. Nell

Salvia (Salvia splendens F.), vinca (Catharanthus roseus L.), and pansy (Viola × wittrockiana Gams.) were examined to determine efficacy of growth retardants for inhibiting stem elongation of seedlings in the plug stage and after transplanting to 10-cm pots. Studies on salvia showed plugs sprayed with single applications of ancymidol at 10 or 20 ppm, paclobutrazol at 30 or 60 ppm, or daminozide/chlormequat tank mix at 2500/1500 ppm inhibited plug elongation by 17% to 22%. Pansy plugs were sprayed either once or twice with ancymidol at 5, 10, or 15 ppm. Number of applications was statistically significant with two applications reducing elongation by an average of 35%, whereas a single application resulted in a 23% average reduction. Ancymidol concentration was significant in reducing stem elongation with increasing rates in pansy; however, the concentration and application time interaction was not significant. In both pansy and salvia, plant size at flowering was similar to controls after transplanting. Vinca plugs were sprayed with ancymidol at 5, 10, or 15 ppm either the 3rd week, 4th week, or both weeks after sowing. As ancymidol concentrations increased, plug height decreased, and the concentration effect was greater week 3 than at week 4. Two applications of ancymidol was most effective in retarding stem elongation (36%) followed by one spray the 3rd week (29%) and one spray during week 4 (20%).

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J.E. Barrett, C.E. Wieland, T.A. Nell, and D.G. Clark

In some species of bedding plants, rapid hypocotyl elongation during germination makes size control in plug production difficult. Commercial growers often start applying growth regulators as cotyledons are expanding or after the first true-leaves are expanding. Using `Bonanza Spry' marigolds, we evaluated applying paclobutrazol at sowing and after 3 and 6 days. Sprays at 30 mg·L–1 in a volume of 0.2 L·m–2 or 3 mg·L–1 in 0.6 mg·L–1 applied at sowing reduced hypocotyl elongation by 25% and produced more compact plugs. In a second study, plugs of `Double Madness Rose' petunia, `Showstopper Orange' impatiens, `Wizard Rose' coleus, and `Cooler Rose' vinca were grown in 10-cm pots with a growing medium that did not contain pine bark. Uniconazole was sprayed in a volume of 0.2 L·m–2 onto the surface of the medium before planting at concentrations of 25%, 50%, and 100% of the label's recommended concentration for each crop. An additional treatment was uniconazol applied 2 weeks after planting at the label concentration. All early applications reduced final plant size compared to the nonsprayed plants. For impatiens, the early application at 25% of the label concentration produced plants similar to the spray at 2 weeks after planting. For the other crops, the 50% treatment prodcued plants similar to the spray after planting. The early applicaiton of growth regulators offers the industry an additional stradagy to use for controlling the growth of vigorous bedding plant crops.