Determining the Mainstem Node Number for Cotton
To systematically monitor a young crop effectively, it is important to understand the fundamentals about counting and identifying nodes on the plant. A mainstem node is simply the point on the plant stalk where a joint with a side branch (either vegetative or fruiting branch) is formed. The basic point of reference for counting nodes on a cotton plant are the cotyledonary nodes. The cotylendonary leaves are the first two leaves to appear as the plant emerges through the soil after planting, and are actually the former halves of the seed itself. Therefore, the cotyledons form the first nodes on the mainstem of the plant and they are the only nodes which are directly opposite one another, or parallel. When counting mainstem nodes we use the cotyledon nodes as 0, then counting subsequent nodes up the mainstem toward the terminal of the plant.
Reviewed 06/2015. Originally published 02/2001az1207-2015