-What is gh ?-
Grass-growing hormone was first discovered in the 1920s by Japanese scientists, but they did not understand exactly how it worked. It was found to increase plant vigor rather than its size or number of leaves. This prompted farmers to use it on crops such as coffee or corn fields. When the horticulture industry saw this increase in productivity they adopted the hormone for their own use and have used it ever since.
How it works?
The plant hormone, called IAA or indole-3 acetic acid, is a naturally occurring chemical. It stimulates cell growth in the stem and roots. A plant’s stem and root system are essential to absorb water, minerals and nutrients from the soil that are needed for growth. Once taken inside, the chemicals can be stored for use at a later date. This is why it is ideal for crop production as the plants don’t have to produce the hormone itself.
Where does it come from?
It comes from a species of wild yam called dasheen (dioscorea rotundata), which can be found in tropical countries such as Argentina and Brazil . Dasheen contains a precursor to make IAA called diosgenin. It is harvested, purified and changed into the active hormone by adding a few simple ingredients together.
I should know how much to use?
The amount needed can vary depending on the purpose but it is usually in the range of 0.05 – 1.0 grams per tree per application. For citrus trees, a higher dose of 0.2 – 1 grams per tree per application every 2 months while they are in production is necessary to increase fruit size and number as well as shelf life and flavor.
1. To induce flowering: Generally, 0.5 - 1 grams per tree per application may be applied when the tree is in full growth or during the rainy season.
2. To increase fruit size and number: 0.2 - 1 gram per tree per application every 2 months.
3. To improve fruit shelf-life: 0.05 - 1 gram per tree every month from when fruit set starts until maturity of the fruits (about 50% of the fruits dropped).
4. To improve flavor and quality: 0.05 - 1 gram per tree every month from when fruit set starts until maturity of the fruits (about 50% of the fruits dropped).
5. To improve the tree’s water-uptake and water-use efficiency: 0.05 - 1 gram per tree every month from when fruit set starts until maturity of the fruits (about 50% of the fruits dropped).
6. To control growth habit: Start at 0.5 - 1 grams per tree in full growth, follow up by using 0.1 - 0.3 grams per tree for about one month before harvesting fruits or pruning to control excessive height of trees and to encourage denser cropping of fruit clusters.
7. To induce flowering and fruiting: Use 0.5 - 1 grams per tree in full growth. This will induce early flowering and fruiting in citrus trees that are normally late-flowering or non-flowering.
How to use?
The best time to apply the hormone is when the tree is in full growth, as this is when it will be most effective for increasing productivity. Measure out between 0.05 – 1 grams of gh per tree depending on how much you need and then dissolve the hormone into 100 ml of warm water (not over 50°C). Make sure you don’t mix it with cold water as this will destroy some of its effectiveness and dilute out the active ingredients. The solution should be applied to the tree regularly for about one month. Apply it by spraying it directly on the leaves and stems of the tree. It is essential to keep your gh covered up in a dark cool place at all times as this will protect it from light and degradation.
How to use on citrus trees?
Apply the hormone exactly as you did with the other plants but keep in mind that it will be most effective when applied regularly at full growth. The active ingredients are stable in water so there is no need to worry about keeping them covered up, although they are also volatile so they need to be kept away from sunshine and heat, which can cause degradation of the active ingredients.
What should I use to store the hormone?
Never mix any natural or synthetic hormones together. You can use a plastic sealed glass container for storage of your GH if you wish, but make sure that there is no light getting through such as through the container’s lid. The solution will release its active ingredients over time so it is important that the environment is kept at a constant cool temperature and away from sunlight.
Where can I buy it?
You can find it for sale easily in most garden centers and nurseries, however if you are looking for a more natural way to make your own gh, then here is the ideal recipe.
To make your own gh all you need is a teaspoon of dasheen seeds and some basic household ingredients. The seeds are most commonly found in powdered form but you can also find them whole or cut up in pieces. To make your GH you will need:
2 cups of water
½ cup of dishwashing liquid (Dawn)
1 teaspoon of crushed dasheen seeds
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until they have become a smooth solution. Pour the mixture into a plastic container or glass jar and set it aside in a cool dark place. Don’t forget to label your gh with the date so you know how old it is. When you are ready to use it, strain the liquid though a cheesecloth and then use it as normal with your plants.
When it is finished, keep the leftover dasheen seeds left over from making your gh in a sealed container and add them directly to your compost pile, this will help to get rid of them and make sure they don’t go to waste.
The benefits of using this type of natural hormone to increase fruit size, crop yields and shelf life are difficult to ignore. The information provided here has hopefully made you a little more informed about this hormone and how it can be used. If you would like to learn more about this use of a natural hormone, then visit my article on the benefits of using natural hormones in agriculture . If you have any questions about using gh, feel free to contact me as I’d love to hear from you!
1) "Synthetic Genes and Variations" by Roger Leakey
2) "Dasheen's Roots: An Introduction To Dioscorea" by Dr. Martin J.J. Smithers
3) "Dasheen (Dioscorea) Information" by Dr. Martin J.J. Smithers
4) "The Buna-Seed Study" by Denton Ewan Watson
5) "Crop Hormones 101: Pecans, Pistachios and Pears" by Lawrence A. Dees