Plant Density Modifies Within-Canopy Cotton Fiber Quality
- Craig W. Bednarz *a,
- Robert L. Nicholsb and
- Steve M. Brownc
Modifying fruit distribution through varying plant density may affect cotton fiber quality. This study was conducted to determine how fiber quality of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) is manipulated through plant density and fruiting position. Two cotton cultivars were over seeded and hand thinned to 3.6, 9.0, 12.6, and 21.5 plants m−2 at the University of Georgia in 2001 and 2002. Immediately before machine harvest, plants from 6 m of one center row were removed from each plot and hand harvested by fruiting position. After hand harvest, seed cotton from each fruiting position was ginned separately for fiber quality analysis. Much of the data collected in this investigation suggest two recurring patterns with respect to fiber quality and fruiting position. First, the superior fruiting positions in terms of overall fiber quality (i.e., longer, more uniform and mature fibers) occur at first sympodial positions generally in the midcanopy region (i.e., main stem nodes 10–17), also known as inner fruiting positions. The second recurring pattern in this investigation suggests lower plant densities resulted in more desirable fiber properties at these inner fruiting positions. These data suggest reducing the percentage of the total yield produced at inner fruiting positions through reduced plant densities increased the source-to-sink ratio during boll filling in this region of the canopy, resulting in improved fiber properties. If this is true, modifications in crop management may increase the source-to-sink ratio during boll filling of the remaining fruiting positions (i.e., outer fruiting positions), possibly resulting in greater improvements in fiber quality.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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