Aqua 3-IA is a suspendable dry powder containing a proprietary combination of the growth hormone, Indol-3-butryic acid (IBA), B vitamins, mycorrhizae, and beneficial microbes to promote root growth and development in most species of trees and shrubs. Use of Aqua 3-IA encourages and improves overall nutrient and water uptake, thereby enhancing vigor and growth as well as tolerance to environmental stress.

How it Works

IBA is an auxin, and auxins are a subset of plant hormones responsible for the morphogenesis of plants.  They are generally produced in one part of the tree and are transported to other parts of the tree where the auxin concentration affects the tissue type and development. IBA and its sister compound IAA, Indol-3lAcetis Acid, is produced in the apical buds of the plant and travels to the roots where it stimulates new root development. These new roots then acquire additional water and nutrients from the soil to support new growth throughout the tree. In healthy trees the shoot growth and root growth remain balanced resulting in trees that grow at the natural rate for their particular species.

Unfortunately, environmental stressors, construction damage, pest damage, age, and disease can upset this growth balance. If new root growth lags behind shoot growth and sudden change in the environment occurs, such as a drought, the tree can rapidly decline and die in a matter of weeks. This decline can also take several seasons. When the natural balance between IBA production in the buds and root growth stimulation becomes out of step with each other the result is a positive feedback loop leading to a steady decline and eventual death of the tree. Application of the Aqua 3-IA formula has been shown to override the declining auxin cycle and restore the root growth rate so that it can support a healthy growth rate for the entire tree. 

There are many agricultural products that contain IBA, but Aqua 3-IA is unique in the concentration of IBA it provides for use on transplanted or established trees. Only products specifically formulated for rooting of cuttings have higher concentration of IBA.

Much More Than an Auxin

IBA is more biologically active than IAA and because Aqua 3-IA uses the naturally occurring acid form of IBA, rather than the salt form found in most products, it is more persistent in the root zone due to the acid’s lower solubility in water. However, sustaining the root stimulating effects beyond the initial treatment is an important distinction of Aqua 3-IA  versus other products containing IBA or IAA alone or in combination. The addition of B vitamins and microorganisms synergistically increases the initial effects and then sustains positive growth for months after application. The addition of B vitamins to our product exempts Aqua 3-IA from EPA regulation while providing additional benefits to the tree. Recent research has shown Vitamin B1 can be an activator of systemic acquired disease resistance in plants. Vitamin B1 has been shown to increase root development in the lab and when combined with Vitamin B6, those root growth benefits have increased by a factor of sixteen.

These rapidly developing new roots are primed for associating with mycorrhizae. These beneficial fungi work with plant roots to extract more water and nutrients from the soil than the tree roots alone can.  Mycorrhizae also actively compete against soil pathogens creating a root zone biome that helps sustain continued root development. Aqua 3-IA contains living propagules from eleven species of mycorrhizae in a carrier rich in complex carbohydrates. The carbohydrates encourage germination of the propagules and rapid association with the tree roots.

Mycorrhizae do more than acquire extra nutrients for trees and sustain a healthy root zone. Studies show that once symbiosis is established these beneficial fungi highly upregulate plant genes involved in the biosynthesis of IAA, the uptake and metabolism of nitrogen, and the uptake of phosphorus. The increased production of IAA helps sustain the effects of the initial application of IBA.

Finally, Aqua 3-IA contains Bacillus amyloliquefaciens which has been shown to be antagonistic to a variety of pathogenic fungi in the soil biome. B. amyloliquefaciens is known to produce several plant growth factors when present in the soil. The establishment of B. amyloliquefaciens sustains the root growth initiated by the IBA at the time of application. Note: Aqua 3-IA does not contain plant nutrients and optimum results require a regular fertilizing program.