Best Management Practices

Plant Growth Regulators - Profusion zinnia

During the spring crop production season growers often use plant growth regulators (PGRs) to manage plant vigor during the grow-out stage.

The objective it to slow stem stretch while still allowing the plant to grow. Low rates of PGRs can be used for this purpose. With low rate applications, the PGRs can be reapplied as needed to control growth. Any of the commercial PGR products can be used at this stage but of course not all species respond the same to any one material.

Guardian Plants

Guardian plants combine multiple interactions between plants, pests and their natural enemies.  They attract the pest and beneficials and are used to monitor for pests and assess natural enemy effectiveness. They provide a sustained food source which ensures the survival of natural enemies. For example in this photo, Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is being used as a guardian plant for this lettuce crop to manage aphids.  Alyssum enhances the activity of syrphid flies to suppress aphids in lettuce.

Water Gauge

Give your plants a drink....and measure the amount.

This simple bottle water gauge helps the grower keep track of how much water is being applied to plants. They place bottles on the bench with their drip nozzle in it and also hang them among their hanging baskets. The ribbon is helpful overhead to see them from a distance and to keep from bumping your head. Good tool to train staff too!

Trial Garden - Sedum 'Lemonball'

Plant trials are important tools. Field trials offer a view of how plants perform in the field and how your customers see plants. The University of Maine began field trials of new annual flowers in 1988. There are 93 plants in the 2007 field trials. The first ratings were done on July 20, about midseason. Sedum 'Lemonball' (vegetative; Proven Winners) 'Lemonball' is a dependable, high quality plant with green-yellow foliage. Its spreading mounded habit is both neat and vigorous. It has not flopped apart in the center, nor has it flowered to date.

Trial Garden - African Marigold 'Vanilla'

Plant trials are important tools. Field trials offer a view of how plants perform in the field and how your customers see plants. The University of Maine began field trials of new annual flowers in 1988. There are 93 plants in the 2007 field trials. The first ratings were done on July 20, about midseason. Marigold (African) 'Vanilla' (seed; PanAmerican Seed Co) 'Vanilla' has the lush dark green foliage and uniform vase-shape habit of many tall marigolds. Plants are topped by 3-4" cream-colored flowers.

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