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PGRs on perennials

Configure on lobelia cardinalis

With the crazy spring we’ve had this year, some of your perennials may be needing a little help to get ready for market, especially if you are using a bedding plant production model to fast-track your herbaceous perennials. If you haven’t already applied Configure (BA, Fine Americas), or, even if you have, you might want to consider another application. Configure has significantly improved pot fill in many of our perennials, which can result in earlier and greater pot fill, thereby enhancing early sales. Lobelia cardinalis is one crop that has been especially responsive to this branching agent.

by Joyce Latimer, Virginia Tech

In a series of screening trials with commercial liners, we applied Configure as a foliar spray at 600 ppm at the label-recommended volume of one gallon per 200 square feet using a hand-held CO2 pressurized sprayer once, about two weeks after potting, at which time the plants had resumed active growth and roots had reached the edge of the pot. Plant height and number of branches were measured every 2 weeks until flowering or market-ready.

Configure increased the number of basal branches in the pot with differences evident at 2 weeks after application, with treated plants averaging 13 basal shoots per pot as compared to 4 shoots per pot in the untreated control plants. By increasing plant branching, Configure increased pot fill earlier in the production cycle and improved plant symmetry and appearance.

At 4 weeks after application, the untreated plants had added three additional basal shoots, but development was significantly delayed compared to those plants treated with Configure. At the conclusion of the study, 6 weeks after application, plants treated with Configure averaged 16 shoots per pot as compared to 11 shoots per pot in untreated control plants.

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