Gaura ‘Siskiyou Pink’ – The New Configure Poster?

Joyce Latimer, Virginia Tech

We’ve talked often about the excellent manner in which Configure improves the branching, pot fill and appearance of Echinacea. However, that’s not the only crop that shows such a significant improvement with Configure applications. Gaura ‘Siskiyou Pink’ is very responsive to Configure (Photo 1). The growth habit of Gaura actually makes these responses easier to see than with Echinacea. In this case, two applications of 600 ppm Configure after transplanting increased the number of shoots on the plant, the number of branches on those shoots, and the number of flowers on those branches. Look at the pot fill!!

Gaura - poster child

Furthermore, as with Echinacea, Configure actually increases the capacity for branching in Gaura ‘Siskiyou Pink.’  In other words, over the production period, plants not treated with Configure typically do not develop as many shoots or branches as those treated with Configure. The untreated controls don’t “catch up” to the treated ones. So, as you make plans for Spring PGR applications, PLAN to use Configure on your ‘Siskiyou Pink.’

I am sorry to say that we have not tested Configure on many other Gaura cultivars. ‘Whirling Butterflies’ was not as responsive as ‘Siskiyou Pink’ but run your own trials on other cultivars. If the 600 ppm rate worries you, 300 ppm Configure applied twice has been just as effective as 600 ppm for many cultivars. We strongly recommend two weeks between Configure applications to avoid phytotoxicity issues. But, start early, in the liner stage, and get two or three applications on the responsive crops like Gaura ‘Siskiyou Pink.’

Key Points for Applying Configure

  • Make sure that liners are actively growing before the first application.
  • Repeat application within one week after potting but at least two weeks after the first application.
  • Use the recommended spray application volume (1 gallon per 200 square feet) to thoroughly wet leaves.
    • Good coverage is critical since Configure is primarily taken up by the leaves.
  • Apply Configure foliar sprays when plants are under low stress conditions.
  • Add a good surfactant to your spray solution.
    • The Configure label permits but does not require additional surfactants. While we have found excellent results without it, others have successfully used Capsil with Configure. Use a surfactant labeled for your crop and follow label directions.
  • Keep records of your applications and results.
    • Always keep notes to aid in improving your results with subsequent crops. Include notes on the environmental conditions as they affect drying time.
  • Do not irrigate overhead within four hours of Configure application.

Plants should ALWAYS be treated with PGRs under low stress conditions, but products like Configure are absorbed best under low drying conditions, e.g., early or late in the day, cloudy days, or under high humidity. It is very important to be consistent in your applications. Fast drying conditions reduce uptake and efficacy which may encourage you to apply higher rates, which may in turn be excessive under long drying conditions. That’s why the records are so important!