Substrate pH impacts efficacy of ethephon drenches on growth of herbaceous perennials

Ethephon is widely used as a growth regulator in floricultural crop production, with foliar sprays as the typical application method. Ethephon efficacy is determined by rate of uptake and subsequent ethylene evolution, which can be influenced by a number of factors, including solution pH. This study examines whether an ethephon substrate drench would allow for plant uptake in two herbaceous perennials, Verbena bonariensis (L.) ‘Lollipop’ and Veronica spicata (L.) ‘Goodness Grows’, as measured by subsequent effects on shoot growth and days to flower. 

HortScience also investigated substrate pH effects on ethephon drench efficacy by analyzing the shoot responses to ethephon applied at a range of starting substrate pH (4.5 to 7.0) compared with untreated plants grown under the same substrate pH conditions (controls). One or more measurements of shoot growth (height, width, shoot dry weight) were reduced in both taxa treated with ethephon as compared with controls.

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