Fighting the PGR Nerves

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It’s common for growers, especially beginning growers, to approach the use of Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) with caution and even anxiety. PGRs can do amazing things – encouraging or inhibiting plant growth, branching, rooting, flowering, fruiting, and more – but we’ve all heard horror stories of entire crops lost due to inappropriate PGR usage and none of us want to be the next cautionary tale. But when PGRs are applied at the right time and rate, and with the correct technique, they can be a tool that gives you more control over your crop and happier customers.

Which brings us to Dr. Joyce Latimer, a Professor and Extension Specialist for Greenhouse Crops at Virginia Tech. Joyce is well-known in the horticulture industry as the author of the GrowerTalks/Fine Americas Perennial PGR Guide. She is also a common sight at industry events, such as the upcoming AmericanHort DIG Conference, where she will be speaking on the latest PGR news and research as well as on how to build a PGR Program for herbaceous perennials. Being an expert in the field of PGRs, we asked her recommendations on fighting the PGR nerves.

“Two of the things I talk a lot about with PGRs are matching the chemistry with your experience and being consistent,” says Joyce “If you can be consistent with application, then you can tweak everything else. There are also many ways to get experience without running the risk of destroying your crop. That’s the role of events like the DIG conference – to give growers the background and knowledge to develop those skills. It’s all just a matter of learning how to do it.”

Another thing she highly recommends is to read the PGR Guides (both her PGR guide on perennials and the PGR guide on annuals by Dr. Brian Whipker from North Carolina State University).

“The guides are more than just a list of crops, chemicals, and rates,” says Joyce, “They are the cumulation of years of study by growers, companies, and researchers from across the US. Every two years, they are updated with the newest knowledge and information including detailed articles on recently released research and products.”

So are you ready to take your PGR strategies to the next level? Be sure to register for the online AmericanHort DIG Conference: Disease, Insects, and Growth Regulators, coming up this November 3-5. In addition to Joyce, we will also be welcoming PGR experts:

  • Roberto Lopez, Phd, Associate Professor at Michigan State University;
  • James Gibson, PhD, Technical Lead at Syngenta Flowers; and
  • Todd Cavins, PhD, Technical Services Specialist at Ball Horticultural.

You can check out all of the sessions from our PGR experts by Clicking Here.

If you are looking to trial PGRs in your greenhouse or nursery and don’t know where to start we highly recommend attending both Joyce’s session on Building a PGR Program for Herbaceous Perennials and James Gibson’s session on How to Conduct Practical PGR Trials. You’ll hear directly from the experts and be able to ask your questions on how to build an effective PGR strategy for your business.

In addition, the DIG Conference is a great way to get training for your entire grower team, with discounted registration set up for AmericanHort member companies who register multiple team members. It’s an event that you don’t want to miss!

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