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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #435285

Research Project: Environmental Strategies and Plant Growth Regulator Applications to Increase Plant Resilience

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21000-001-005-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2023

The overall goal of this project is to develop efficient and effective use of temperature and lighting strategies, and applications of plant growth regulators (PGRs), to increase plant performance of floriculture crops during shipping, at retail, and after transplant by the producer or consumer.

1. We will investigate how air temperature and root-zone temperature influence root and shoot growth of annual bedding plants and herbaceous perennials during propagation. Combinations of air and root-zone temperature will be delivered in propagation greenhouses to achieve a well-developed root system without excessive shoot growth. 2. Commercial products labeled for floriculture crops that inhibit ethylene action will be applied to potted flowering plants to determine how they influence performance during simulated shipping conditions. In some cases, different simulated shipping temperatures will be delivered to determine how temperature and PGR applications interact to influence efficacy. 3. Plugs and finished annual bedding plant crops will be treated with low to high drench rates of paclobutrazol or uniconazole soon before marketing. Subsequent growth and development will be quantified for several weeks after transplant into the container (for plugs) and in the landscape (for finished plants). Rates that excessively stunt growth will be identified and communicated to growers. 4. Blue and/or ultra-violet A (UV A) radiation will be delivered to annual bedding plant plugs for short periods (< 1 week) in either an indoor growth room or a greenhouse with the objective of hardening and toning plants before shipping. One or more stresses will be imposed on plugs during a period of simulated shipping. Plugs will then be evaluated after transplant to determine impacts on growth and subsequent flowering.