“All leaf removal treatments were applied to two-leaf cotton using hand scissors and were arranged in a randomized complete block design containing four replications.”

Plant growth was monitored throughout the season, with the cotton being carried through to test yield and quality.

“This was conducted on two to three-leaf cotton,” says Collins.

“Results may be different if this test is conducted on four-leaf cotton or just cotyledon cotton where the first true leaf is barely distinguishable.”

At four weeks after planting, when the terminal remained intact, there was no real effect on plant height whether or not the cotyledons were removed, he says.

“When the terminal was removed, we did have an effect of cotyledon removal on plant height, especially when we get down to only one-half cotyledon remaining or both cotyledons removed.”

At 55 days after planting, there’s no effect on plant height when the terminal is intact, he adds. There is a small effect with the most severe treatments.

“At cut-out, when we got to the end of the season, we did see some numerical differences. However, the effect on plant height is not significant. This shows that recovery is possible throughout the season, and some of this injury may just be transient,” he says.

In addition, says Collins, there was no distinguishable difference in nodes above white bloom throughout the season. None of the leaf removal treatments alone had a significant effect on seed cotton yields, he says.

“When the terminal and cotyledon were removed, we saw significant effect, especially when we got to our most severe treatment.”

In conclusion, says Collins, the loss of the terminal alone and terminal and cotyledon can have an effect on plant height and plant growth in the early part of the season.

But, he says, much of this may be transient, depending on the environment. There was no effect on maturity or plant mapping characteristics.

“Lint yield appeared to be affected only when terminal and entire two cotyledons were removed.

In future research, we’d like to look at something similar but in more stressful environments. We did not account for bruising or stand loss, and that is important as well.”