Sunflower morphology and yield as affected by foliar applications of plant growth regulators

Document Type: Research Paper


Democritus University of Thrace, Department of Agricultural Development, 68200 Orestiada, Greece.


Plant height of sunflower is a major agronomic trait affecting crop performance
in the field and its adaptation to mechanical harvest. Field experiments were
conducted to study the effect of foliar application of paclobutrazol (PBZ) at 12.5 g
ai/ha, mepiquat chloride (MPC) at 25.0 g ai/ha and chlormequat chloride (CCC) at
1,500 g ai/ha in single or double applications on sunflower plant morphology,
growth and achene yield and oil content. Single applications of PBZ or MPC
reduced sunflower plant height at maturity by 11.1% and 11.7%, respectively.
Single applications of PBZ, MPC or CCC did not reduce the above ground dry
weight of the plants, provided similar achene yield per plant and 100-achenes
weight compared with those of the non-treated control, whereas increased the total
number of achenes as well as the number of filled achenes per capitulum. Double
applications of PBZ, MPC or CCC reduced plant height by 13.9%, 15.6% and
13.4%, respectively, but proved in certain cases to have a phytotoxic effect on
achene and oil production. Double application of PBZ resulted in lower achene and
oil yield than the non-treated control, whereas double application of MPC resulted
in lower above ground dry weight at maturity, achene yield and 100-achenes
weight. Double application of CCC resulted in reduced 100-achenes weight.
Overall, PBZ and MPC under the single dose scheme applied can reduce plant
height in sunflower without adverse effects on achene and oil yields, thus
providing a basis for reducing the risk of plant lodging.
Keywords: Height; Lodging; Chlormequat chloride; Mepiquat chloride; Paclobutrazol.