Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry officials say cotton plants may look beautiful in private home landscapes but the state must monitor all planted cotton for boll weevils, including cotton used for ornamental purposes.
Todd Parker, LDAF assistant commissioner for the Office of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, said state boll weevil eradication laws provide that anyone who wants to plant cotton for non-commercial purposes must receive prior permission from the Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry.
“We need to know where all cotton plants are located throughout the state so we can monitor for the presence of boll weevils in order to protect Louisiana’s cotton industry,” Parker said. “The LDAF sets a number of traps in cotton fields every year to check for the presence of boll weevils.”
Parker said increasing numbers of gardeners outside of traditional cotton growing areas are planting cotton to add interest to their garden landscapes. Others plant small plots for the fiber they use to spin their own thread for fabrics. The LDAF must place a boll weevil trap at these locations, Parker said.
Historically, the boll weevil has been cotton’s most destructive pest. All cotton-growing states have eradication programs. Cotton remains one of Louisiana’s leading crops. The 2010 figures indicated a harvest of more than 247,000 acres with a value of $210.1 million.
For more information regarding planting non-commercial or ornamental cotton, please contact the Louisiana Boll Weevil Eradication Program office at 225-952-8105.