They were all over this place like bolls on cotton.
The first flowers usually appear in June, and the bolls ripen from early in August.
Flowering and fruiting go on continually, although in diminishing degree, until the advent of frost, which kills the flowers and young bolls and so puts an end to the production of cotton for the season.
In either case an adequate but not excessive rainfall, increasing from the time of sowing to the period of active growth, and then decreasing as the bolls ripen, with a dry picking season, combined with sunny days and warm nights, provide the ideal conditions for successful cotton cultivation.
It sheds its " forms " (as the buds are called), blooms, and even half-grown bolls in great numbers.
It has frequently been noted that even well-fertilized plants upon good soil will mature only 15 or 20% of the bolls produced.
The careless gathering of dead leaves and twigs, and the soiling of the cotton by earth or by the natural colouring matter from the bolls, injure the quality.
These do not drop, but as the grubs develop the cotton is ruined and the bolls usually become discoloured and crack, their contents being rendered useless.
Also, inside the young bolls which had been pierced a similar poliferation or growth of the tissue was set up, which enveloped and killed the pest.
They bore holes and penetrate into flower-buds and young bolls, causing them to drop. Fortunately the " worms " prefer maize to cotton, and the inter-planting at proper times of maize, to be cut down and destroyed when well infested, is a method commonly employed to keep down this pest.
The " cotton stainers," various species of Dysdercus, are widely distributed, occurring for example in America, the West Indies, Africa, India, &c. The larvae suck the sap from the young bolls and seeds, causing shrivelling and reduction in quantity of fibre.
Small red-brown spots appear on the bolls, gradually enlarge, and develop into irregular black and grey patches.
- Seed should be selected from early and late opening bolls, according to requirements.
In some instances a slight difference in the shape, mode of opening, &c., of the boll prevents this, and accordingly seed is selected from bolls which suffer least under the particular adverse conditions.
As a general rule the removal of the " bolls " or capsules by the process of rippling immediately follows the pulling, the operation being performed in the field; but under some systems of cultivation, as, for example, the Courtrai method, alluded to below, the crop is made up into sheaves, dried and stacked, and is only boiled and retted in the early part of the next ensuing season.
By rippling he separated 1946 lb of bolls which yielded 910 lb of seed.
Thus the weight of the fibre was equal to about 9% of the dried flax with the bolls, 12% of the boiled straw, and over 16% of the retted straw.
One hundred tons treated by Schenck's method gave 33 tons bolls, with 27.50 tons of loss in steeping; 32.13 tons were separated in scutching, leaving 5.90 tons of finished fibre, with 1.47 tons of tow and pluckings.