Plant Growth Regulators Important Tool for Georgia Cotton Growers

Clint Thompson Georgia

Photo by Clint Thompson/Cotton plants in a field in Tift County.

By Clint Thompson

The Georgia Cotton Commission and University of Georgia Extension Cotton Team remind growers about the importance of using plant growth regulators (PGRs). The state’s cotton crop has benefited from recent rains which has spurred growth in the plants. It means the time has come for PGR consideration, says Camp Hand, UGA Extension cotton agronomist.

“Plant growth regulators are a big deal right now especially on that dryland crop that’s getting going now that we’ve gotten a little bit of rain,” Hand said. “The main goal of Pix is to keep the plant short. Cotton is a perennial plant, and it would grow as tall as you would let it if you didn’t do anything about it. That leads to other issues like diseases, lodging, harvestability, stuff like that. We have to have plant growth regulators to keep it at the level where we can pick it. Namely it affects plant height but also it can affect maturity. It can hasten maturity in a cotton crop. It can affect disease pressure.”

Increased Rainfall

Photo by Clint Thompson/Cotton plant up close in Tift County.

Much of the summer has been extremely dry across Georgia, which had stalled growth in the state’s cotton crop. But that has changed in recent weeks with increased rainfall. Hand said it has even led to more optimism among the growers.

“It seems like across the board we have caught rain. Everybody that needed one has gotten one,” Hand said. “Even some of the stuff that we have in Tifton was planted May 1, April 30, and it did not look real good. But with that rain that we’ve had in the last couple of weeks, it has shot off. We’re going to spray a little bit of Pix this week on it.

“It seems like things are turning a corner. Most of our crop is squaring. I think the USDA had us at about one-quarter of the crop was blooming. We’re starting to put some fruit on and filling bolls out in some of our earlier planted crop. It seems like things overall are on the up and up right now.”

Hand said growers will typically apply PGRs during the third week of bloom as well.