Cotton planted in late April is now squaring and about 9 – 10 leaves. Later planted cotton is around 5 to 6 leaves and not yet squaring. There has been discussion over irrigating during squaring and pushing the plant to develop roots. UGA Cotton Extension Agronomist, Dr. Guy Collins and Dr. Jared Whitaker, have research on this subject and found prebloom irrigation has impact on cotton yields. Where it was originally thought that stressing cotton during squaring increases its root system, cotton does not rebound if stressed from no irrigation through squaring. Below is yield response showing to prebloom irrigation:
Dr. Collins says regardless of variety, yield is reduced if we don’t irrigate during squaring. Also, we do not want to wait until cotton is wilting before we apply irrigation. 1 inch at prebloom is recommended over 2 inches. The best method of application is split-apply weekly rates. Instead of one inch of water one day each week, do 1/2 inch two times during the week.
Below is irrigation recommended irrigation from squaring to 8th week of bloom: