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How to Use Plant Growth Regulators

By DoMyOwn staff

You can cut down your mowing time in the summer months while improving turf health by using a plant growth regulator.

 How to Use Plant Growth Regulators Video Play

Video Transcript

Many homeowners struggle to keep up with their frequently growing lawns, especially during the summer months. You mow the lawn on a Monday and by Friday you're right back to where you started. There is a way to slow down the growth of your grass while improving the health of your lawn at the same time, and that is by using a plant growth regulator.

Plant growth regulators are chemicals that, when applied to turf, slow the upward growth of grass by up to 50 percent for a period of time. The health of the turf improves with the use of plant growth regulators as the turf uses less energy to grow upward and more energy toward improving the strength of the grass roots. This helps turf stand up to the pressures of stresses like drought, disease, and cutting the blades too short in heat better than frequently growing grass. Turf treated with plant growth regulators also produces more healthy, durable grass blades.

Many homeowners choose to use growth regulators around the bases of trees and along the edges of driveways, planters, and sidewalks to reduce the need to trim and edge, even if they do not treat their entire lawn with the regulator. Plant growth regulators can reduce mowing time by 50 percent, another plus if your lawn contains steep hills and other hard to mow areas.

Plant growth regulators also create a greener foliage, an indicator of the health of the turf. Many can also be used in greenhouses and gardens to slow the growth of ornamentals, including flowers.

The majority of plant growth regulators are liquids, applied as a spray with a hand pump or backpack sprayer. Large plots of land may use a truck mounted or cart pulled large capacity sprayer.

Consult the label of your plant growth regulator and mix the recommended amount of product into your sprayer along with water and shake thoroughly to combine. You may want to add a temporary marking dye to your mixture to help remember where you have sprayed.

Then, walk back and forth across your lawn, spraying evenly. Be sure your plant growth regulator is labeled for your turf type or you may damage your lawn. Plant growth regulators work differently based on grass type. In Warm Season grasses such as Bermuda and zoysia that spread naturally, plant growth regulators are used to promote lateral growth and surpress upward growth as a result of the stimulated horizontal growth. Warm season grasses can spread on their own and fill in bare spots. In cool season grasses like fescue, plant growth regulators promote better roots and grasses and reduce mowing frequency. If you have bare spots in your cool season turf, you may need to seed each fall to fill in bare spots.

Regulators can inhibit growth for 4 to 8 weeks before reapplication is needed. Consult the product label for reapplication intervals and instructions.

Wear personal protective equipment, including long sleeves, pants, closed toe shoes, and gloves when applying your regulator. Do not apply during periods of wind to prevent the product from drifting into neighboring lawns and other unwanted areas.

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