Manual pinching of apical meristems of horticultural crops removes apical dominance and promotes branching, increases flower numbers, and promotes the growth of a rounded, uniform plant canopy. However, manual pinching is a time-consuming and
Mason Marshall, Terri Starman, H. Brent Pemberton, and Calvin Trostle
Terri W. Starman and James E. Faust
Our objective was to determine the effect of planting date and pinching on flowering dates and plant size of field-grown garden mums. Experiments were conducted in the field during two consecutive growing seasons in 1997 and 1998. In one experiment, 15 to 20 cultivars were planted on five dates (14 May, 4 June, 25 June, 16 July, and 4 Aug.) and received no pinching, one manual pinch 2 weeks after potting, or two manual pinches 2 and 4 weeks after potting. In another experiment, four cultivars were planted at the five dates. Pinch treatments were control, one manual pinch, two manual pinches, one Florel spray at 500 mg·L–1, or two Florel sprays at the same time as the manual pinches but on separate plants. Data were collected for days to first color, first open flower, 10 open flowers, and full bloom. Height and width were measured at 10 open blooms. Although the 1998 season was warmer and caused heat delay, the flowering data followed the same trends as the 1997 experiments. Pinching delayed flowering for the early plant dates. Pinching did not affect plant height or plant width. Planting date affected days to 10 blooms for most early season varieties but not late-season varieties. Planting early produced larger plants and more uneven flowering and resulted in greater heat delay of heat-sensitive varieties. Florel delayed flowering and increased plant size. We concluded that pinching was not required to produce high-quality garden mums of many new cultivars.
Terri Woods Starman
Manually and chemically pinched plants of 18 cultivars of Impatiens hybrids (Kientzler New Guinea impatiens) were compared to control plants to determine the effect of shoot apex removal on flowering, plant size, and branching characteristics. Either pinching treatment delayed flowering by ≈3 days compared with nonpinched controls. Pinching had no effect on plant height or fresh or dry weight. Plant diameter and form changes due to pinching depended on cultivar. Total branch count was increased by chemical but not manual pinching although both pinching methods affected mode of branching. The 18 cultivars of Kientzler New Guinea impatiens were best grown as 0.4-liter potted plants without the aid of pinching.
Preliminary experiments with uniconazole (UNZ) at 5- and 10-ppm sprays on Bird Pepper indicated that UNZ could be used to enhance appearance and improve fruiting of Bird Pepper, but some refinement of UNZ rates had to be made. Another experiment was conducted to determine rates of UNZ needed to maintain a suitable plant size with manual pinching and improve yield and total number of red fruit produced. Best overall effects were on plants single-pinched 4 weeks after sowing and treated with a foliar spray of 4 to 6 ppm UNZ. Higher UNZ levels produced too compact plants in which individual branches had to be staked. More-attractive double-pinched plants may be produced if UNZ application is delayed after the second pinch. Bird pepper can therefore be produced as a dual purpose pot plant by pinching followed by foliar applications of of UNZ preferably at 4 to 6 ppm.
Terri Woods Starman
Manually pinched plants of 18 cultivars of Impatiens hybrids (Keintzler New Guinea impatiens) were compared to control plants to determine the effect of apical meristem removal on flowering, growth and branching. Pinching delayed days to anthesis (first flower) of all cultivars, however, further delay in days to marketability (5 flowers open) was dependent upon cultivar. Plant area and fresh and dry weight were not affected by pinching plants of any cultivar. Cultivar influenced response to pinching treatments for plant height and plant width. Secondary branch number was increased by approximately 3 branches for all cultivars when plants were pinched. There were interactions between cultivar and treatment for primary, tertiary, and total branch number. Measured improvements in plant form determined two cultivars, Sylvine and Thecla, should be pinched. Chemically pinching these two cultivars with dikegulac at 780 mg·liter-1 was comparable to manually pinching plants.
Terri Woods Starman and James E. Faust
The objective was to provide options for hanging basket production schedules by varying the number of plants per pot (one to four) and the number of manual pinches per basket (zero to two). Several species were evaluated in Spring 1995 and heat tolerance was assessed throughout the summer. Plugs (82 plugs per flat) were transplanted into 25-cm hanging baskets in a 22/18°C (venting/night temperature set points) glasshouse. Bacopa speciosa `Snowflake', Brachycome iberidifolia `Crystal Falls', Helichrysum bracteatum `Golden Beauty', Scaevola aemula `New Blue Wonder', and Streptocarpella hybrid `Concord Blue' produced quality baskets with three or more plugs per basket and no pinch. Pentas lanceolata `Starburst' and Lysimachia procumbens (Golden Globes) produced quality baskets with fewer than three plants per basket if plants received at least one pinch, however length of growing time was increased. Pentas lanceolata `Starburst', Scaevola aemula `New Blue Wonder', and Streptocarpella hybrid `Concord Blue' proved to be heat tolerant, blooming throughout the summer. Bacopa speciosa `Snowflake', Brachycome iberidifolia `Crystal Falls', and Lysimachia procumbens (Golden Globes) were not heat tolerant, i.e., ceased developing flowers in June and resumed flowering in September. Bidens ferulifolium did not produce an acceptable quality hanging basket under any experimental treatments.
Terri Woods Starman, Millie S. Williams, and James E. Faust
The objective was to determine the optimum number of plants and the number of pinches required to market a basket for hanging basket production using alternative floriculture species. The number of plants per pot varied from one to four, and the number of manual pinches per basket ranged from 0 to 2. Several species were evaluated in spring of 1996 and heat tolerance was assessed throughout the summer. Plugs (50–95 plugs per flat) were transplanted into 25-cm hanging baskets in a 22/18°C (venting/night temperature set points) glasshouse. Three to four plants were necessary for Scaevola aemula `Fancy Fan Falls' and Evolvulus glomeratus `Blue Daze' to produce a marketable basket. One plant per pot was sufficient for Abutilon hybrid `Apricot', Portulaca oleraceae `Apricot', and Tibouchina `Spanish Shaw' without sacrificing quality; however, an additional 1 to 3 weeks production time was needed in comparison to the four plants per pot treatment. Abutilon and Portulaca required one pinch, while Tibouchina did not require pinching. All plants × pinch combinations produced quality baskets with Sutera cordata `Mauve Mist' and Diascia hybrid `Ruby Fields'; therefore, production methods should be based on growers' scheduling and cost analysis. Abutilon, Evolvulus, Portulaca, Scaevola, and Tibouchina performed well in hanging baskets throughout the summer. Two species in the trial, Orthosiphon stamineus `Lavender' and Tabernamontana coronaria, displayed upright growth habits and would be best for uses other than hanging basket production.
Lih-Jyu Shu, Kenneth C. Sanderson, and J. C. Williams
Applications of 0.5% dikegulac sodium (sodium salt of 2,3:4,6-bis-0-(l-methylethylidene-L-xylo-2-hexulofu-ranosonic acid) sprays produced significantly more new shoots on ‘Red wing’ or ‘King fisher’ azalea plants than manual pinching and other chemical pinching agents in 2 experiments. In 5 other experiments involving 5 other cultivars, dikegulac sodium-treated plants generally produced the most shoots, however, the shoot number was not different from shoot number on either manually pinched or 4.2% Off-Shoot-O-treated (mixture of C6 to C12 methyl ester of fatty acids) plants. Sprays of dimethyl dodecylamine caprylate at 0.2% and 0.5%, n-decanol at 2.5%, ethephon [(2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid)] at 0.08%, and UBI-P293 (2,3-dihydro-5,6-diphenyl-1,4-oxathiin) at 1.0% gave inconsisent results but yielded shoot number comparable to dikegulac sodium in some tests. Off-Shoot-O, dimethyl dodecylamine caprylate, and n-un-decanol were destructive pinching agents at some concentrations and caused considerable plant injury. Dikegulac sodium caused minor injury and transient chlorosis. Ethephon, PBA [6-benzylamino-9(2-tetrahydropyran-2-yl)-9H-purine], and UBI-P293 did not produce any visible phytotoxicities. Shoots of plants sprayed with 0.5% dikegulac sodium and 1.0% UBI-P293 were of similar length or shorter than shoots of either manually pinched or untreated check plants 3 weeks after treatment.
Ryan M. Warner
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is an herb grown commercially for the extraction of intensely sweet-tasting, non-caloric, steviol glycosides produced primarily in the leaves and used as a sugar substitute. While most stevia production occurs as an industrial field crop, more recently, consumer demand for stevia for home gardens and patio containers has increased. Research on how environmental inputs impact growth, branching, and flowering of stevia under greenhouse conditions for potted plant production is currently lacking. A series of experiments was conducted to quantify how methods to promote branching, fertilizer concentration, photoperiod and temperature impact branch production, growth and development, and flowering of stevia. Both manual decapitation and ethephon application increased lateral branch production, though hard pinching (cutting plants back to leave four nodes) yielded a more desirable plant architecture. Neither temperature nor fertilizer concentration impacted the number of branches produced by plants given a hard pinch. Shoot dry biomass was similar at fertilizer concentrations (applied at each watering) of 50, 100, and 200 mg⋅L−1 N, but decreased at 300 or 400 mg⋅L−1 N. Stevia responded to photoperiod as a facultative short-day plant, with earliest flowering occurring, both in days to flower and the number of nodes produced before flowering, at photoperiods <13 hours. The number of nodes produced on the longest branch increased as temperature increased from 17 to 26 °C. Plant height and longest branch length were shorter at 17 °C than at higher temperatures. The results of these studies indicate that for potted plant production, stevia should be grown under a photoperiod of 14 hours or longer with moderate nutrient levels, a minimum temperature of 20 °C, and plants should receive one or more manual pinches to promote branching.
landscapes. EFFICACY OF ETHEPHON ON VEGETATIVE ANNUALS Growers of vegetative annuals need plant growth regulators that stimulate lateral bud development and branching and reduce internode elongation to avoid high labor costs associated with manual pinching