Well, we're up to our eyeballs in cotton harvest, and since I've covered most everything else to do with cotton, I thought I would talk about defoliating cotton!
Here are my past "Cotton 101" posts if you have missed them:
When cotton is ready in the fall, the bolls start popping open, making the fields turn from green to white. When the bolls are 60% open, we spray a chemical called defoliant. The defoliant is also mixed with a boll opener.
Both of these chemicals speed up the boll opening/leaf sheding process. The fields are ready to be picked about 2 weeks later.
This is what the cotton field should look like when it is first sprayed.
This is what the fields should look like a few days later. Notice the leaves turning brown?
A few days later, the leaves are a little more brown and the cotton is a little more white.
Most of the bolls have now popped open and the leaves have been shed....
And that's when the fun begins!
Here is a close up of what is happening with the bolls themselves...
Here's a fun fact: Did you know that if the freeze (or a bush hog) didn't kill the cotton plant, it would grow to about 13 feet tall like a tree? Wild cotton does this in the jungles of Africa!
Hope you enjoyed learning a little more about cotton!