Questions with Jozsef Racsko

Questions with Jozsef Racsko

Advertorial - Ask The Experts: PGRs

Learn about ConShape, a new PGR available from Mycorrhizal Applications.

November 7, 2022

NM: What is ConShape® and what is it designed to do?

JR: ConShape® is a new class of PGR developed by Valent BioSciences. Originally introduced for central leader control in Christmas tree production, it now has an expanded label that makes it an important growing tool all growers will want to use. ConShape is now registered for leader control in all types of conifers ranging from Christmas trees to nursery plants and landscape planting.

NM: Why is a leader control PGR useful?

JR: Christmas tree growers have a problem with leader elongation — very long tree tops. Every year they could get 30-40 inches of growth. That is just too long because the bud density would be very loose or light on these leaders. In the past, what they did was they cut the leader to a desired length, which is normally 12 inches in the U.S. But the problem is when they cut the leaders back, they normally remove half of the buds from those leaders. That’s not really good. ConShape actually reduces or stops the growth after application.

NM: How does this product give growers an advantage?

JR: Once growers feel that they are almost at the desired length of the leader, they apply the ConShape with an Easy Roller tool. They keep all the buds on the leader, and because the leader is shorter, bud density is much higher which is very desirable because the value of the Christmas tree is determined by the shape and density of the branches. This really helps develop a very nice-shaped Christmas tree.

NM: In what other applications could growers use ConShape?

JR: In ornamental horticulture, ConShape is now also registered for the temporary reduction of water stress and the delay of wilting during production, transportation and while at retail. This benefit is a result of treated plants temporarily closing their stomata and preventing water evaporation from the plant. In ornamentals, this can help with transplant shock or with transportation, like when potted plants are shipped to a big box store. There are a lot of plants sold through Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart that get discarded because of drought stress. The garden center associates at these stores don’t necessarily know watering requirements. You can reduce the loss of plants in these big box stores and this is important because all the growers and nurseries get paid after the plants are sold. If they send the plants to Home Depot and the plants die, they’re not going to get paid for it. Growers that spray plants with ConShape before shipping can save quite a few plants.

Petunia that has been treated with ConShape vs. untreated petunia.
Photos courtesy of mycorrhizal applications

NM: Is there anything else ConShape can do?

JR: Another new horticulture use that was added to the label recently is defoliation of deciduous ornamental trees and shrubs. The active ingredient in ConShape is S-abscisic acid (S-ABA). A spray application of S-abscisic acid speeds up the natural process of putting the plants into dormancy accelerating leaf drop. This stimulates the remobilization of nutrients and carbohydrates into the trunk and into the roots for the winter. That helps the trees better survive the winter and have a better bud break with more vigorous shoots in the spring.

This is particularly important when putting material into cold storage to keep it in a dormant state. You don’t want any leaves on the trees because they can carry diseases and you want to avoid infection spreading during the dormant stage.

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