General information

How to grow cotton


How to plant and grow cotton. How to prepare the ground. How to water, fertilize, feed. How to sow seeds. How to harvest (10+)

Cotton since ancient times is the most important spinning culture. It was grown even 3000 years BC. It is widely applicable in our country, as well as around the world. From it is obtained a long fiber and valuable seed mats. Approximately 30-45 kg. fiber goes from 1 p. raw cotton. Seeds from the same amount are 52-65 kg. 20 m of linen fabric is made of 1 kg of cotton fiber. So this is the main raw material in the textile industry. But cotton seed oil has nutritional and technical properties. Cotton is also a valuable honey plant.

general information

Cotton belongs to the Bombac family. This is an annual plant with a height of about 80-100 cm. It has a developed taproot and 7-15 lateral branches. The stem is woody in the lower part, and it has buds in the leaf axils. Branches appear in the kidneys of 3-5 leaves, and the remaining buds are dormant. And the branches of this plant are growth and fruit. Growth or monopodial branches appear at the bottom of the stem and grow at an acute angle. Fruit or sympodial branches grow above the growth branches on the stem. Branches from the stem depart at an obtuse angle, and because of this a little hanging down. Flowers grow on them, and then fruit-boxes form. In early cotton varieties, fruit branches grow from a sinus of 3-4 leaves. In late maturity - from the sinus 5-7 leaf. Fruit branches have different number of internodes and different length of internodes. There are varieties having only 1 interstitial. This is because fruits and buds grow on all the buds and on it, and this stops the growth of the branch. And the branches containing a large number of internodes are divided into types that differ in the length of internodes. A bush with branches of the first unsaturated type has an interstice of 2-5 cm. It has a pyramidal shape with a narrow base. A bush with branches of the second type has an internode 5-15 cm and also of pyramidal shape with a medium base. The third type of internode is 15–25 cm. It has a pyramidal shape with an extended base. In cotton, the first 2-3 leaves of the main stem are entire and heart-shaped. And all subsequent blades are growing.

The flowers of this plant are quite large. They have an underdeveloped calyx and a yellow five-leafed halo. These flowers bloom early in the morning. In the afternoon, they turn red and close, and by the evening the flower gets stuck. The next day, he acquires a purple color, and soon begins to dry and fall. The fruits of this plant are a box that cracks and breaks when seeds are ripe. The result is 5-11 seeds, which are covered with long and short hairs. Cotton fiber has a length of 20-50 mm. In one box can form from 2 to 10 grams. raw On the bush can grow about 200 mature boxes. Seeds are oval-ovoid. They may be covered with a pad, or completely naked. Pods can be white or colored.

Cotton is a plant that loves warmth and light. The most suitable temperature for the growth of cotton is 25-30 C. At lower temperatures, the plant develops more slowly. Seeds germinate at a soil temperature of 12–16 ° C, but germinate more quickly even at 20–25 ° C. Water needs a percentage of 60% of their mass to swell the seeds. After the shoots appeared, after 8-10 days, the first leaf is formed, and after a month the buds begin to develop. There are early ripening, mid-ripening, middle-ripe and late ripening varieties of cotton. The vegetation period in the early 100-110 days, in the middle-ripening 115-120, in the middle-late ripening 130-135, and the late ripening 150-170 days.

A powerful cotton root system feeds on moisture from deep layers of soil. Therefore, it is sufficiently resistant to drought, but with good watering the crop of this plant increases significantly. He likes soils rich in nutrients and well permeable.

How the soil is treated

Winter plowing is usually carried out in August-September to a depth of 40 cm with bunk plows. Before lifting the ground, the leaves are peeled 5-6 cm after alfalfa. This event prevents its regrowth. Also at the same time combed out rhizomes of weeds, apply herbicides and fiery burning out. If the soil is saline, they are washed after autumn plowing and loosened by plows and cultivators. In the spring, make a reservation of the soil in two tracks. Making manure in the spring, plowing plowing. Then they wash the soil with watering and chisely.

How irrigation is produced

To increase the moisture in the plowing layer and remove harmful salts from the soil, additional seed and wash irrigation are carried out. If the land is highly susceptible to salinization, washing irrigation is carried out annually in October-December. At this time, groundwater is deposited most deeply. Vegetation irrigation promotes the growth and development of plants. The lack or excess of moisture adversely affects the yield, so the main thing is to comply with the norms and timing of irrigation. It is very effective to irrigate cotton crops with flexible irrigation pipes and sprinkling hoses. Pipelines in the plots are a replacement for outflow furrows and temporary irrigators. For the development of the root and aerial parts of the plant spend 1-2 watering. This is done before flowering - 1 time when there are 3-5 true leaves, and the second - in the budding phase, somewhere in 20-25 days after the first watering. During flowering and fruit formation the need for water in the plant increases. When cotton ripens, the rate of irrigation should not exceed 600-700 cubic meters per hectare. Such irrigation provides normal soil moisture before defoliation. Watering is carried out no later than 5-7 days before defoliation.

How to fertilize crops

Fertilize cotton fractional, making a large amount of fertilizer. To get 1t. raw cotton, you need 45-50 kg of nitrogen, 40-50 kg of potassium and 12-17 kg of phosphorus. Organic-mineral mixtures contribute to better utilization of mineral fertilizers. Under exhausted and scanty soils, manure or compost, as well as phosphate and potash fertilizers are applied under the plowing. Seeding superphosphate is also very effective. In the phase of true leaves, budding and flowering, nitrogen fertilization is carried out. Potash fertilizers are used in the budding phase, and phosphorus is used during flowering and fruit formation.

How sowing is carried out

First of all, seeds are prepared before sowing. They remove podushek mechanically or chemically. Then subjected to air-thermal heating, soaked in water and boric acid solution and disinfect them. The earlier the sowing is carried out, the better is the harvest in the qualitative and quantitative sense. Cotton is sown at soil temperature of 12 ° C. Sow square-breeding method and rectangular-breeding. 80-120 thousand plants located on 1 hectare of land. Ridge method of sowing seeds contributes to increasing the yield of raw cotton. When caring for this plant, the crust is destroyed, 3-4 inter-row cultivations are carried out in two directions, they are pierced in nests and watered as necessary. Herbicides and mulching help destroy weeds. Removing the tops of the growth branches and the tops of the main stem can increase the yield of raw cotton and reduce abscission of buds and ovaries.

Cotton harvesting

Since the maturation in cotton occurs unevenly, and the bolls open gradually over 1-1.5 months, remove it in several stages. Defoliation is also very common in cotton. This removal of leaves before cleaning, as they spread pathogenic bacteria and fungi, and also interfere with the work of cotton harvesting machines. When most plants open 1-2 or 2-3 boxes (with 11-15 fruit branches), they are treated with defoliants. If it is done too early, you can lose part of the crop, and if it is late, the efficiency is not high. This is usually done early in the morning or in the evening with the help of tractor sprayers or pollinated from airplanes. Defoliation accelerates the ripening of the boxes. When the opening of the bolls reaches 50-60%, cotton is harvested using special machines.


Cotton is propagated only by seeds. They should be sown as early as possible, around January or February. It is necessary to dig them into the soil by about 1 cm. From above, be sure to cover with glass. Germinate them in a bright place at a temperature of from 20 ° C to 22 ° C.

The first shoots appear after a few days. During this period, they need to provide good humidity. It is not recommended to spray water from the sprayer, as it is possible to damage the delicate stalks. It is best to moisten the soil between the rows of seedlings with a medical syringe or pipette.

When the plants become crowded, they need to pick out in a more spacious capacity. When they reach 10 cm in height, they are seated in pots with a diameter of 15 cm. In them they remain until the end of their lives, that is, until the autumn. Cotton begins to bloom, usually 8 weeks after germination.

In the spring, the field is harrowed in 2 tracks. If dung is applied during this period, plowing is recommended. Before sowing cotton, the field is usually watered, after which it is necessary to carry out chiseling at a small depth (up to 15 cm) with repeated harrowing. A field that has not been watered in winter needs to be cultivated.


A good cotton harvest can be expected only when a large amount of fertilizer is applied. According to calculations, to get a ton of raw cotton, you need to spend on average about 50 kg of nitrogen, 15 kg of phosphorus and 45 kg of potassium. However, fertilizers should be made strictly taking into account the soil and climatic conditions.

On depleted soil or after grain, about 20 tons of manure or compost per hectare must be applied before plowing. It is also desirable to fertilize the field with phosphate and potash fertilizers.

Practice shows that cotton yields increase dramatically if a small amount of superphosphate is introduced during sowing. Further fertilizing with nitrogen is desirable to hold at the moment when the plants throw out the first true leaves, as well as at the stages of budding and flowering. In addition, during the budding period, cotton must be fed with potassium, and during the flowering and fruit formation period - with phosphorus.

Cotton watering

In the cultivation of this crop, not only vegetative, but also pre-sowing irrigations are used. Moreover, the second type of irrigation is done not only to moisten the arable layer, but also to remove excess salt from it.

In the fields that are prone to salinization, the pre-seed irrigation was carried out at the end of autumn - the beginning of winter, when there are no severe frosts yet, but the groundwater has already reached the maximum depth. The rate of irrigation on lightly saline soil is 3 thousand cubic meters per hectare before plowing, on strongly saline - 3-4 thousand cubic meters per hectare after plowing with one or two repetitions.

Vegetation irrigation is necessary in order to obtain maximum fiber quality and increase the efficiency of all other agrotechnical measures. All terms and norms of irrigation are calculated so that the plants do not have a shortage of water throughout the entire growing season. The need of plants for water increases especially during periods of flowering and fruit formation.

Seed preparation and sowing

Before sowing, seed is heated in the open air for 3-4 weeks, and then successively soaked in water and boric acid solution. After that, the seeds are disinfected with copper trichlorophenolate suspension.

Since cotton has a long growing season, sowing should be done as early as possible so that the bolls have time to ripen before frost. But at the same time it is impossible to allow crops to suffer from spring frosts. This is what creates difficulties for growing cotton in Russia. It is recommended to start sowing when the soil reaches a temperature of 12 ° C.

For cotton, a square-breeding method of planting is used in increments of 60 or 45 cm. About 80–120 thousand plants should be used per hectare. However, many farmers note the economic feasibility of wide-row crops, where the distance between plants is 90 cm. The average seed consumption per hectare is about 40–70 kg, depending on the seeding pattern and seed size.

Plant care and cleaning

During the growing season of cotton, it is necessary to carry out measures to destroy the surface crust on the ground, remove weeds and water the crops. In addition, with the appearance of 1-2 true leaves at cotton shoots, nests should be thinned. However, if modern precision planters are used, the need for manual planting is completely eliminated.

After the emergence of seedlings, it is necessary to cultivate between rows to a depth of 10 cm. Further, during the initial growing season, several more cultivations are carried out until the cotton plants close their rows.

Weed control is carried out either with the help of herbicides or by mulching. The second, by the way, can significantly reduce the labor costs for the care of fields with cotton.

An effective way to increase the yield is timely embossing of plants, that is, cutting the tops on the growth branches and the main stem. This procedure allows you to increase the yield by an average of 10 quintals per hectare.

Due to the fact that the cotton bolls ripen extremely unevenly (within 1-2 or even 3 months), for a long time this crop was harvested exclusively by hand in several stages. Today, special cotton harvesters are used for these purposes.

Defoliation is also practiced in cotton growing - the removal of leaves shortly before harvesting. This is done due to the fact that the leaves are a breeding ground for various fungi, bacteria and insects that can harm the crop.

Short description

This is a common name for a biological genus that unites more than 50 plant species. Their distribution began simultaneously with two foci - India and America. All representatives of this culture are herbaceous one- or two-year-olds. In height they can reach 2 m. The core rhizome is well developed, goes to a depth of more than 30 cm.

On the woody stem below, in the process of growth, side branches (8–15) are launched. Branches are divided into growth and fruit. The first are located at the bottom of the stem and started at an acute angle. Fruit go above them, the angle of inclination is smaller. It is on them after the appearance of flowers fruit boxes are formed. Leaves in the form of 3 or 5 lobes are strictly alternate, with oblong petioles visible on them. In early varieties, fruit branches grow from the sinus of 3-4 leaves, whereas in later varieties they appear on the 5-7 leaf count.

Large single flowers of different color (most often white or yellow) have a whip of 3-5 petals and a double toothed calyx, around which a large three-lobed wrapper is started. In July – September, you can see how the flowers open in the morning, and closer to dinner they turn red a little (you can see the effective cotton blossoms in the photo). After the color changes to purple, the flowers dry and fall off. In September and October, box-shaped fruits of oval or round shape ripen. There can be up to 200 such fruits on one bush.

When ripe, the box cracks and crumbles; 5–10 oval seeds fall out of it, covered with fibers 5–45 mm long. From one box remove from 2 to 10 g of raw.

In the agricultural turnover, the most important are four types of cotton:

  • ordinary (he's Mexican),
  • Peruvian,
  • treelike
  • grassy.
The choice of variety depends on the conditions of the area, where they grow a specific type of cotton. In the European part, the Transcaucasus and Central Asia, they traditionally cultivate an ordinary line with a high stem and short fibers. The remaining species for our latitudes are considered "exotics."

Place in the rotation

The key to a good harvest is the use of alfalfa in crop rotation. This culture improves soil composition, helps to accumulate humus. After its landing, the ground gets good drainage, normal air circulation in the upper layer.

Such a "multi-field" looks like this: 6–7 fields for cotton are “prepared” by 2–3 alfalfa tracts. If alfalfa is not planted, do not worry: any grain and legumes are considered good predecessors in the area. This also applies to sugar beets with corn.

Preparatory work

Before sowing, you should learn more about where, on which soils, cotton grows best.

The ideal option would be the land without salt "traffic jams". Groundwater should be buried deeper - waterlogging is undesirable. The soil will have to be brought to the desired condition from the autumn, in several stages.

Sowing seeds

The optimum soil temperature for successful sowing is at least + 12 ° C ... + 14 ° C. You should not hurry - in the cold soil the seeds will simply die.

The seeding pattern depends on the chosen method, but in any case, the row spacing is no less than 60 cm. Here are examples of such schemes:

  • 60x25 (ideal for the dotted mode),
  • 60x45 for rectangular-nested,
  • 60x60 with square-cluster method,
  • применяются и широкорядные посевы из расчета 90х15 («шаг» можно увеличить до 20 или 30 см).

В лунку помещают 2–3 семянки, глубина заделки для обычных серых грунтов составляет 4–5 см (на луговых или болотных берут мельче: 3–4 см).

The consumption rate depends on the chosen method, but it is selected so as to exclude thinning in the period of plant growth. This figure can vary from 40 to 70 kg / ha. Bare seeds require much less than pubescent - for example, 40–42 kg of “clean” seeds are needed for 1 ha, while “fluffy” for the same area you need at least 60 kg. Plant density - from 80 to 120 thousand / ha. Rows are immediately treated with 80% coranoil. In 100 l of water (hectare norm) add 1.5–3.5 kg of this agent, and the mixture is sprayed with a wide (30 cm) stripe.


Collection is in September – October. Boxes (especially in large areas) ripen and open unevenly, so you have to resort to different methods. When at least 2 boxes on all branches are opened on the bulk of the plants, they make defoliation. It is nothing like removing the leaves before collecting. The benefit of such a procedure is that it prevents the spread of diseases and pests that nest on sheets.

To do this, apply these tools:

  • A mixture of sodium silicofluoride and calcium cyanamide in a ratio of 2: 1. Cyanamide with no more than 40 kg / ha.
  • Magnesium chlorate (9–10 kg / ha).
  • Chlorate-chloride calcium, which is somewhat slower.

When preparing for processing, keep in mind that all desiccants, with the exception of cyanamide, dry the plants strongly. All of these solutions stimulate the growth of the bolls, thereby "pushing" the low-growing bushes. The cleaning itself is carried out either manually or by machine. The technique is used only after at least 55–60% of the fruit has opened.

With normal care, about 27-30 centners of raw material are removed per hectare.


Having found out how and with the help of what measures valuable cotton is grown, we proceed to the final stage.

Raw material processing is a long and laborious process. It involves both specialists and a number of technical means. In short, the path from collection to receiving textiles looks like:

  • Raw materials are taken to the collection points or directly to the company. The first step is collecting folded on a dry flat ground.
  • After harvesting cotton is a mixture of fibers and seeds, on which a lot of dirt has adhered. In special drums, fibers are separated from any impurities.
  • Then the longest fiber is chosen (at least 20 cm). This is already pure material. Raw materials longer than 25 cm are considered to be of high quality, they are allowed on clothes, thin linen and bedding. Shorter ones are future cotton wool and components of explosives.

It looks seemingly simple, but in fact it is a very hard work requiring expensive devices.

Now, cotton care is no secret to our readers. Hopefully, the sowing process will also not be difficult. Good yields!