Cotton Main-Stem Leaves in Relation to Vegetative Development and Yield
- D. M. Oosterhuis and
- M. J. Urwiler
Understanding the relative contribution of specific leaves to structural growth and yield development is critical in improving the management of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) crops. Studies were conducted to investigate the role of main-stem leaves in the growth and development of field-grown cotton. A range of leaf removal treatments was compared to a control with no leaf removal in two field trials in differing localities. Removal of main-stem leaves as they appeared had a dramatic effect on plant growth and yield. When main-stem leaves were removed after they had expanded there was a less severe influence on yield but still a large influence on height. Leaf removal had no significant effect on either plant height or yield if the sympodial branch was allowed to develop before the mainstem leaf was removed. Removal of monopodial branches had no effect on yield or plant height. These results indicate that main-stem leaves are involved in the structural development of the plant necessary to provide an adequate framework with sufficient leaf area and fruiting points for optimum yields. The earlier the main-stem leaf removal, the more drastic the resulting effect on plant growth and yield. Once the main-stem leaves had contributed to structural development, their contribution to plant productivity appeared to diminish rapidly.
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