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  1. #1
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    Growth and Plant Hormones

    Growth

    All living organisms begin in the same form: as a single cell. That cell will divide and the resulting cells will continue dividing and differentiate into cells with various roles to carry out within the organism. This is life and plants are no different. Plant growth can be determinate or indeterminate, meaning some plants will have a cycle of growth then a cessation of growth, breakdown of tissues and then death (think of a radish plant or a tomato plant) while others (think of a giant cedar tree) will grow and remain active for hundreds of years. A tomato plant is fairly predictable and is said to have determinate growth, while the cedar tree has indeterminate growing potential. Development refers to the growth and differentiation of cells into tissues, organs and organ systems. This again all begins with a single cell.
    Plant Growth Regulators and Enzymes

    Genetic information directs the synthesis and development of enzymes which are critical in all metabolic process within the plant. Most enzymes are proteins in some form or another, are produced in very minute quantities and are produced on site—meaning they are not transported from one part of the organism to another. Genetic information also regulates the production of hormones, which will be addressed shortly. The major difference is that hormones are transported from one part of the plant to another as needed. Vitamins vital in the activation of enzymes and are produced in the cytoplasm and membranes of plant cells. Animals and humans utilize plants in order to provide some vitamin resources. In general, hormone and vitamin effects are similar and are difficult to distinguish in plants, and both are referred to in general as plant growth regulators.
    Plant Hormones

    The growth and development of a plant are influenced by genetic factors, external environmental factors, and chemical hormones inside the plant. Plants respond to many environmental factors such as light, gravity, water, inorganic nutrients, and temperature.
    Groups of Hormones

    Plant hormones are chemical messengers that affect a plant's ability to respond to its environment. Hormones are organic compounds that are effective at very low concentration; they are usually synthesized in one part of the plant and are transported to another location. They interact with specific target tissues to cause physiological responses, such as growth or fruit ripening. Each response is often the result of two or more hormones acting together.
    Because hormones stimulate or inhibit plant growth, many botanists also refer to them as plant growth regulators. Many hormones can be synthesized in the laboratory, increasing the quantity of hormones available for commercial applications. Botanists recognize five major groups of hormones: auxins, gibberellins, ethylene, cytokinins, and abscisic acid.
    Auxins

    Auxins are hormones involved in plant-cell elongation, apical dominance, and rooting. A well known natural auxin is indoleacetic acid, or IAA which is produced in the apical meristem of the shoot. Developing seeds produce IAA, which stimulates the development of a fleshy fruit. For example, the removal of seeds from a strawberry prevents the fruit from enlarging. The application of IAA after removing the seeds causes the fruit to enlarge normally. IAA is produced in actively growing shoot tips and developing fruit, and it is involved in elongation. Before a cell can elongate, the cell wall must become less rigid so that it can expand. IAA triggers an increase in the plasticity, or stretchability, of cell walls, allowing elongation to occur.
    Synthetic Auxins

    Chemists have synthesized several inexpensive compounds similar in structure to IAA. Synthetic auxins, like naphthalene acetic acid, of NAA, are used extensively to promote root formation on stem and leaf cuttings. Gardeners often spray auxins on tomato plants to increase the number of fruits on each plant. When NAA is sprayed on young fruits of apple and olive trees, some of the fruits drop off so that the remaining fruits grow larger. When NAA is sprayed directly on maturing fruits, such as apples, pears and citrus fruits, several weeks before they are ready to be picked; NAA prevents the fruits from dropping off the trees before they are mature. The fact that auxins can have opposite effects, causing fruit to drop or preventing fruit from dropping, illustrates an important point. The effects of a hormone on a plant often depend on the stage of the plant's development.
    NAA is used to prevent the undesirable sprouting of stems from the base of ornamental trees. As previously discussed, stems contain a lateral bud at the base of each leaf. IN many stems, these buds fail to sprout as long as the plant's shoot tip is still intact. The inhibition of lateral buds by the presence of the shoot tip is called apical dominance. If the shoot tip of a plant is removed, the lateral buds begin to grow. If IAA or NAA is applied to the cut tip of the stem, the lateral buds remain dormant. This adaptation is manipulated to cultivate beautiful ornamental trees. NAA is used commercially to prevent buds from sprouting on potatoes during storage.
    Another important synthetic auxin is 2,4-D, which is an herbicide, or weed killer. It selectively kills dicots, such as dandelions and pigweed, without injuring monocots, such as lawn grasses and cereal crops. Given our major dependence on cereals for food; 2,4-D has been of great value to agriculture. A mixture of 2, 4-D and another auxin, called Agent Orange, was used to destroy foliage in the jungles of Vietnam. A non-auxin contaminant in Agent Orange has caused severe health problems in many people who were exposed to it.
    Gibberellins

    In the 1920's scientists in Japan discovered that a substance produced by the fungus Gibberella caused fungus-infected plants to grow abnormally tall. The substance, named gibberellin, was later found to be produced in small quantities by plants themselves. It has many effects on a plant, but primarily stimulates elongation growth. Spraying a plant with gibberellins will usually cause the plant to grow to a larger than expected height, i.e. greater than normal.
    Like auxins, gibberellins are a class of hormones that have important commercial applications. Almost all seedless grapes are sprayed with gibberellins to increase the size of the fruit and the distance between fruits on the stems. Beer makers use gibberellins to increase the alcohol content of beer by increasing the amount of sugar produced in the malting process. Gibberellins are also used to treat seeds of some food crops because they will break seed dormancy and promote uniform germination.

  2. #2
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    Ethylene

    The hormone ethylene is responsible for the ripening of fruits. Unlike the other four classes of plant hormones, ethylene is a gas at room temperature. Ethylene gas diffuses easily through the air from one plant to another. The saying "One bad apple spoils the barrel" has its basis in the effects of ethylene gas. One rotting apple will produce ethylene gas, which stimulates nearby apples to ripen and eventually spoil because of over ripening.
    Ethylene is usually applied in a solution of ethephon, a synthetic chemical that breaks down and releases ethylene gas. It is used to ripen bananas, honeydew melons and tomatoes. Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits often remain green when they are ripe. Although the fruit tastes good, consumers often will not buy them, because oranges are supposed to be orange, right? The application of ethylene to green citrus fruit causes the development of desirable citrus colors, such as orange and yellow. In some plant species, ethylene promotes abscission, which is the detachment of leaves, flowers, or fruits from a plant. Cherries and walnuts are harvested with mechanical tree shakers. Ethylene treatment increases the number of fruits that fall to the ground when the trees are shaken. Leaf abscission is also an adaptive advantage for the plant. Dead, damaged or infected leaves drop to the ground rather than shading healthy leaves or spreading disease. The plant can minimize water loss in the winter, when the water in the plant is often frozen.
    Cytokinins

    Cytokinins promote cell division in plants. Produced in the developing shoots, roots, fruits and seeds of a plant, cytokinins are very important in the culturing of plant tissues in the laboratory. A high ratio of auxins to cytokinins in a tissue-culture medium stimulates root formation. A low ratio promotes shoot formation. Cytokinins are also used to promote lateral bud growth in flowering plants.
    Abscisic Acid

    Abscisic acid, or ABA, generally inhibits other hormones, such as the auxin IAA. It was originally thought to promote abscission, hence its name. Botanists now know that ethylene in the main abscission hormone. ABA helps to bring about dormancy in a plant's buds and maintains dormancy in its seeds. ABA causes the closure of a plant's stomata in response to drought. Water stressed leaves produce large amounts of ABA, which triggers potassium ions to be transported out of the guard cells. This causes stomata to close, and water is held in the leaf. It is too costly to synthesize ABA for commercial agriculture use.
    Other Growth Regulators

    Many growth regulators are widely used on ornamental plants. These substances do not fit into any of the five classes of hormones. For example, utility companies all over the country often apply growth retardants, chemicals that prevent plant growth, to trees in order to prevent them from interfering with overhead utility lines. If is less expensive to apply these chemicals than to prune the trees, not to mention safer for the utility workers. Also, azalea growers sometimes apply a chemical to the terminal buds rather than hand-pruning them. Scientists are still searching for a hormone to slow the growth of lawn grass so that it doesn't have to be mowed so often.

  3. #3
    Keepin it simple
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    Smart and good info Jimmi!!!
    Be safe and reap the rewards!!!

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    Good read up Jimbo

  6. #6
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    Great Post Jimmy ,

    The potential bad news is , The Jury's still out on the long term effects on food treated with Growth Hormones & Inhibitors . It surely makes ya wonder the effects on Our Children's Children & the subsequent generations . Take a look at Monsanto & how they cornered the market on Genetically Altered Corn & such , Feckin Scary I tell ya .

    Many commercial ornamental & annual flower growers use growth Inhibitors as well as Retardants to have a wholesale or retail crop ready fer a certain sales & planting time frame . Not so bad with flowers & shrubs but feckin scary with vegetable crops & edible plants , not chance I wanna take . Too much shit in the stuff we eat as their is . Well Except fer Hostess Twinkies & Jaffa Cakes .

    Be Well ,,,
    Póg mo bán Irish thóin !

    Is gairid ár gcairt ar an saol seo ,,,

    Sláinte !

    "This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever."
    Sigmund Freud about the Irish

    Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.
    George Carlin




  7. #7

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    Jimmi, just wondering.. why no mention of the fact the ethylene encourages feminization in ALL plants having seperate sexes (not just pot, look at holly)? Ethylene gas is produced naturally by ripening fruit. Bananas produce more & produce it faser. I often end up with no males for pollen because I place bowls of bananas in the grow room to ripen. Ethylene gas also increases trichrome production in budding, & speeds ripening of buds & seeds. I induce ethylene gas to my grow three times. First time, just as they leave seedling stage & enter into rapid vegetative growth. Second time, the day I switch to 12/12. Third time, when the buds speed up trichrome production. My seeded plants receive a fourth treatment. After the others have been removed/harvested, I add bananas again to help fatten & ripen the seeds. I sometimes wonder if this doesn't also encourage more seed to be female. I would have thought all this would have been an important thing to mention, considering what we do here.
    Last edited by catbuds; 12-13-2013 at 01:20 AM.

  8. #8

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    Good info jimmi! Excessive amount of Ethylene can deform and could even kill your plants. Therefore for proper growth of marijuana plant, accurate amount of ethylene is very important.

  9. #9

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    Very true. & over doseing of anything is pretty common once we learn how to synthesize & concentrate a substance. But it only takes a small amt to do the trick. Like what one would find in nature. Such as rippened fruit that has fallen near the base of its tree. So in the grow room, all we need do is place a few pieces of fruit around. It would be pretty darned hard to over dose them that way, unless you turned your grow room floor into a compost pile! Here's an example (yeah, I know I'm long winded). My flowering cabinet is small. For airspace purposes, its 5' x 2 1/2' 5' high. I evenly space 4-5 ripening bananas around, remove them while they're still edible. Bananas rippen quickly, so start green. Or use those tiny lunch box apples. Because they ripen slower than bananas, start with fruit already slightly ripe, & since they release ethelene slower than bananas, add 2-3 more. Again, remove them before they are over ripe. Some people think this is a pain, but I like to play!

  10. #10

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    Hormones in plants influence vegetative growth, branching, flowering, and setting seed or fruit, and dormancy. They can be produced within the plant as a result of environment. It is not the quantity of hormones that influence the plant, but the balance and ratios of hormones present in plant that helps to influence plant growth.

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