A vital tool in the late stages of eradicating the boll weevil from U.S. cotton fields, and especially in south Texas where the destructive pest is making its last stand, is stalk destruction.

Growers in the Lower Rio Grande Valley have until Sept. 1 to complete the task following this year’s mostly successful crop.

“As the September 1 deadline approaches it is important to practice timely and effective stalk destruction,” says Texas AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist Danielle Sekula-Ortiz. “Stalk destruction is key to controlling boll weevil populations by disrupting their life cycles to avoid overwintering. Cotton stalks should be either completely plowed down or shredded down to 6 to 8 inches in height.

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“Standing cotton stalks should be sprayed with label-approved herbicides at least within 7 days after harvest for good control to avoid any regrowth” she added

Regrowth can be a big problem with the warm weather and late summer rains that sometimes occur in the Valley. “Waiting until 60 percent to 70 percent of the bolls are open can help reduce the amount of cotton regrowth you will see in your fields.”