Cotton Update – Squaring

In the Pee Dee, we have cotton fields ranging from 1-2 leaves to squaring.  The hot, dry weather is still causing wilting in a lot of sandier fields.  This is causing some slow growth and we probably won’t have very tall cotton this year.

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Here is some squaring cotton below.  When cotton starts squaring, its time to start thinking about our sidedress N.  1/4 to 1/3 of the crop’s required N should have gone out at planting and the remainder goes out at sidedress to carry it through harvest.  Sidedressing should be done somewhere between first square and first bloom.  If the cotton is slow growing and pale green, then sidedress earlier in this window, later if the cotton is growing fast and is dark green.

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It’s been fairly quiet on the insect front.  A few plant bugs have been observed.  In Clemson Entomologist Jeremy Greene’s last Cotton/Soybean Insect Newsletter, Dr. Greene states, “Historically, plant bugs have not been an issue in the Southeast, but there have been more reports of injury and presence in recent years.”  Occasionally, we can see plant bugs cause abortions of squares.  Dr. Greene cautions that drought, excessive temperature swings, extended cloudy and rainy conditions, etc can also cause abortions so spray decisions should be made based on the presence of plant bugs.  He recommends the threshold of 1 plant bug per 2 row feet and square retention below 75-80%.  For treatment options, see pages 103-104 of the SC Pest Management Handbook.  A tarnished plant bug is pictured below.

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Aphids and spidermites also have the potential to be injurious at this stage of growth.  Always scout before making spray decisions.  Thresholds for these can be found on page 101 of the SC Pest Management Handbook.  Treatment options for aphids are on page 103 and spidermites on page 107.

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