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Mason Marshall, Terri Starman, H. Brent Pemberton, and Calvin Trostle

Sunflower ‘Sunfinity’ (Helianthus hybrida) can be produced as a potted plant if apical dominance is removed with a manual pinch to control plant height and promote branching and flower number. Chemical pinching agents such as dikegulac sodium could prove to be valuable tools to reduce the labor and costs associated with manual pinching. Our objective was to determine the time of seedling growth and concentration of dikegulac sodium foliar spray application that would result in morphology similar to manually pinched plants. Dikegulac sodium was applied to sunflower ‘Sunfinity’ seedlings at one of four concentrations increasing from 200 to 500 mg⋅L−1 at the time of growth when the first, second, or third node (N1, N2, or N3) was the apical node and axillary stems at those nodes were undeveloped. Applications of 400 mg⋅L−1 at N3 and 500 mg·L−1 at N2 removed apical dominance because of total senescence of the apical meristem and produced a well-branched plant similar to that subjected to manual pinching. Apical dominance was temporarily inhibited without senescence of the apical meristem when 400 mg⋅L−1 was applied at N2 and when 500 mg⋅L−1 was applied at N3, which, nevertheless, resulted in branching that formed a well-rounded canopy.