How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Assessing Stand Establishment

(Reviewed 5/13, updated 5/13)

In this Guideline:

Assess stand establishment to see if your crop is growing satisfactorily. By comparing the plant population per foot with the seeding rate per foot, you can determine if the stand is optimal, weak, or excessive.

  • If the stand is weak, monitor for and identify any pests such as seedling diseases or seedling insects associated with poor stands.
  • If the stand is unacceptable or if there are multiple adjacent rows without plants, your main management option is to replant.
  • If the stand is excessive, thinning may be required. Dense plant populations, combined with conditions of adequate moisture and nutrients, can lead to rank growth, making the crop more vulnerable to insects and diseases. Depending on the cotton variety, a plant stand in excess of 60,000 plants per acre may require thinning.

The following table gives a general range for plant stand populations—although ideal densities are variety and condition dependent. For cotton plants growing in low vigor situations, higher plant densities may be desirable.

General range for plant stand population
Stand establishment Plants per acre
Optimal 40,000-60,000
Weak below 30,000
Excessive more than 60,000
To estimate plant population:
  • Take at least 4 measurements from several representative areas of the field and average them.
  • Use the table below to find the length of row that represents 1/1000th of an acre for various row widths.
  • in your field, count the total number of plants in the 1/1000th acre area and multiply by 1000.
Length of row representing 1/1000 of an acre for various row widths
Row widths (inches) 1/1000 acre (row feet)
30 17.4
32 16.3
36 14.5
38 13.8
40 13.1


[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Cotton
UC ANR Publication 3444

General Information

  • L. D. Godfrey, Entomology, UC Davis
  • P. B. Goodell, UC IPM Program and Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Parlier
  • E. T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension - Desert Research and Extension Center, Imperial County
  • D.R. Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County and UC IPM Program
  • V. M. Barlow, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County and UC IPM Program

Top of page

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   Contact webmaster.