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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Early Season Floral Bud Removal and Cotton Growth, Yield, and Fiber Quality


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 84 No. 2, p. 209-214
    Received: May 9, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. W.T. Pettigrew ,
  2. J.J. Heitholt and
  3. W.R. Meredith Jr.
  1. USDA-ARS, Cotton Physiology and Genetics, P.O. Box 345, Stoneville, MS 38776



Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) has a capacity to partially compensate for the loss of floral buds (squares). A 2-yr (1989 and 1990) field study was conducted to determine how growth, yield, and fiber quality traits of different genotypes were affected by early season square removal. Early developing squares were removed by hand, or were induced to abscise by ethephon [(2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid] application. Genotypes used were ‘DPL 50’, a normal leaf type, and three leaf type isolines of ‘MD 65-11’ (normal, okra, and super okra). Compared to the check, the ethephon application decreased plant height by as much as 11% early after application, but the treated plants ultimately exceeded the check by 5% in height, in 1990. The seasonal maximum vegetative dry weight and leaf area index (LAI) did not differ between treatments either year, though the ethephon treatment did increase mainstem node number to 26, compared to 24 nodes for the check. Lint yields did not differ between treatments in 1989. but the ethephon treatment yielded 7% less than the check in 1990. Ethephon application reduced boll size 7% each year, compared to the check. Fiber quality traits were not affected by treatments in 1989, but in 1990 micronaire, maturity, and cell wall thickness were decreased by 6% on fiber from the ethephon plots as compared to the check. This study demonstrated that cotton has potential to compensate for early square loss but did not suggest that early square removal consistently leads to improved yields or fiber quality.

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