See all the advantages and disadvantages of using plant growth regulators in a landscape setting.

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are making their way into the landscaping industry, thanks to use in the golfing sector, according to an article in Turf Magazine. The article, which was originally published by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, shared the benefits of using PGRs in your landscaping operation. See them below.

A Look at Plant Growth Regulators

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) do exactly what they sound like they do—they regulate a plant’s growth. PGRs are used to slow the growth of both turfgrasses, ornamental plants, shrubs, and trees, according to the article.

Advantages of using PGRs include:

  • “PGRs reduce mowing frequency.”
  • “Properly used PGRs also increase turf color and turf quality of a healthy, actively growing lawn.”
  • “Using PGRs can also support reduced water use to maintain the quality of the turf, potentially providing an environmental benefit in arid climates, during droughts, and when water use is limited or restricted.”
  • ““When used on shrubs, landscape companies can enjoy fewer pruning cycles, less green waste, less fuel consumption, fewer dumping fees, less disruption to the property, less wear and tear on equipment, less wear and tear on laborers, improved safety for workers by reducing ladder usage.”
  • “PGRs can reduce time spent maintaining a property,” thus saving labor money.”
  • “Treated shrubs keep a manicured appearance. The shrubs will also look healthier due to physiological changes that occur as a result of growth inhibition. Growth-regulated shrubs often have darker green foliage, enhanced flower set, improved drought tolerance, and are less susceptible to foliar diseases.”

Disadvantages of using PGRs include:

  • “If the turf is over-regulated, it can become stressed and vulnerable to diseases.”
  • “Discoloration can occur after the first application or if the turf is under stress,” though “A small amount of water-soluble nitrogen or chelated iron added to the spray solution can mask the discoloration and the plant will grow out of it in a few days.”
  • “There is a rebound effect with PGRs where the plant stores energy and gets a flush of growth after the regulation wears off.”
  • “They can add to an already busy spraying schedule.”
  • “The applicator must get uniform spray coverage, and be careful with overspray to non-target plants in the landscape.”

The article advises that applicators need to be strategic about the use a rates of PGRs and that they follow the label instructions. It maintained that “companies are seeing dramatic savings in labor costs that outweigh the product cost,” with correct usage.

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