Greenhouse Management: Why are plant growth regulators important?

Jim Kruger: PGRs have become important tools in greenhouse production and even more so now as issues with availability and cost of labor afflict the industry. In the early years, we controlled plant growth by hand pinching and mechanical pruning. This successfully reduced growth, induced branching, or eliminated unwanted flower buds. With today’s PGRs, you can get the same results with significantly reduced labor input and an equally important benefit of not creating open wounds, which can leave a plant more susceptible to disease and insect issues. So, PGRs can help the grower bring a healthy, high-quality, saleable plant to market in a shorter time frame with lower input costs.

“PGRS can help the grower bring a healthy, high-quality, saleable plant to market in a shorter time frame with lower input costs.” — Jim Kruger

GM: What products from Fine Americas would you recommend to growers?

JK: We have a complete arsenal of PGR chemistries to meet the needs for management in most greenhouse crops. Fine supports university researcher and trials across the country to help us understand how to best utilize PGRs on a variety of cultivars grown today. This year, our newest introductions are formulated plant hormones. Crest and Advocate reflect the commitment to growers to bring new technologies and provide information on the best ways to utilize them. Plants grow by either cell division or cell extension. These hormones influence growth in specific areas of a plant. Cytokinins and auxins promote cell division in various locations of the plant, while gibberellins promote cell elongation throughout the plant. Advocate is an auxin that influences root development. Applications stimulate callous cells, which differentiate into root cells. Treat unrooted cuttings, plugs, and seedlings. This liquid formulation can be applied as a foliar spray or basil dip, as well as a basal or long soak. Crest is a liquid formulation of auxin, cytokinin, and gibberellin A3. Spray applications are made to improve seed germination and plant emergence early, as well as seedling and plant development through the crop cycle.

GM: How should growers best use these solutions?

JK: These two products complement each other. Use Advocate when you need to get those roots developed or growing. Crest supplies three hormones to promote balanced growth early in the crop cycle, but it can be used to jump start established plants that are not responding to your nutrition program or if the grower is located in a state like Michigan – known for not having many hours of sunlight in the late winter and early spring. It is effective any time during the year. Remember, Advocate for the roots and Crest for a balance of root, leaf, and shoot growth.