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11 Corn-Rising Issues You May Face

People have been rising corn for hundreds of years, and we aren’t stopping any time quickly. Nevertheless, rising corn efficiently requires data of frequent corn-growing issues.  

First, let’s briefly focus on a couple of phases of how corn grows and matures. Numerous points will come up throughout every. Then, we’ll undergo 11 rising issues you may encounter and methods to keep away from them. 

Levels of Corn Progress

Corn vegetation produce each female and male flowers, which means they’ve a monoecious flowering behavior within the plant world. If one factor doesn’t go in keeping with plan when getting pollen from the male flowers to the feminine ones, correct pollination doesn’t happen, and issues begin to get slightly funky. 

Till the vegetative stage, when the corn seed is just within the emergence stage, it solely makes use of power saved contained in the seed. 

Vegetative Levels

Close-up of a small young cob of corn with silk in the garden. The corn plant has a strong upright stem with large, elongated and blade-like dark green leaves. Corn leaves are characterized by parallel venation, that is, the veins run parallel to each other along the entire length of the leaf. The silk of the corn plant is pinkish in color, is a long thread-like structure that emerges from the tips of the cobs. Each silk represents a separate female flower or potential seed.
Ears and tassels develop, decrease leaves die, and pollen-loaded tassels mark the top of vegetative progress.

As soon as a corn seed has emerged and has two totally developed true leaves, it depends on photosynthesis for its power and vitamins within the soil to proceed rising. 

Throughout this time, tillers begin forming, which appear to be facet shoots close to the bottom of the plant and are the beginning of the plant’s central stalk. Ears and tassels start to kind on the stalk, the primary true leaves wither away, and decrease leaves might die off.

No additional vegetative progress will happen when the tassels are totally developed and prolonged. Leaves might proceed to develop, however no new ones will kind. When silks start to emerge a couple of days later, the plant has moved into reproductive phases. 

The vegetative phases of corn final for about 60 days, and progress appears fast throughout this time. 

Do you know? The phrase “Knee-high by the Fourth of July” refers to candy corn progress and methods to decide in case your crop is the place it must be for a wholesome harvest.

Reproductive Levels

Close-up of male cornflowers in a sunny garden. Сorn flowers are the reproductive structures of the plant and are grouped together in structures known as inflorescences. The male flowers are found on the tassel at the top of the plant.
Tassels launch pollen, which fertilizes ovules by way of the corn’s silks.

As talked about above, the primary signal of reproductive phases in corn is marked by the emergence of silks. The kernel quantity is decided at this level, however the plant should nonetheless be pollinated so correct kernel formation can happen. The plant is now shifting its give attention to persevering with the lifetime of the subsequent technology of corn. 

Now, let’s discuss in regards to the tassels atop the corn vegetation. They’re the male a part of the plant and include pollen when totally matured. When silks emerge, they catch pollen that falls from tassels, blows by within the wind, or is transferred by way of insect legs and wings. Inside the subsequent 24-36 hours, the pollen strikes down into the ovule (the feminine a part of the plant), the place pollination happens. 

That is the time of the corn flowers cycle when moisture ranges and vitamins are a very powerful. If silks don’t emerge on time or dry up as a consequence of low moisture ranges, they can’t seize pollen and transfer it into the ovule for pollination. 

Kernel Growth and Plant Maturation 

Close-up of ripe corn cobs in a sunny garden. Corn cobs are large, elongated, cylindrical, with small yellow kernels arranged in rows. The corn plant has upright, strong stems with large, long, ribbon-like, dark green leaves with pointed tips and smooth edges.
If pollination is profitable and moisture is enough, kernels develop.

If correct pollination happens and moisture ranges are ample, the kernels will develop, filling with moisture and changing into candy and starchy. Kernels will harden and change from white to yellow. Silks will start to brown over about three weeks, alerting you that it’s time to reap. 

Professional tip: Right now, it is best to shield your crop from critters who might wish to get their palms in your candy corn! Extra on how to take action a bit later.

Now that we’ve had a quick lesson on how corn grows and matures, let’s discover some corn-growing issues you may encounter. 

Early Points

Poor Germination Fee Because of Seed Viability

Close-up of female hands planting corn seeds into the soil. Corn seeds are dry yellow corn kernels. There is also a rake and a cardboard bag of seeds on the ground.
Buy seeds from a good supply and test germination charges earlier than shopping for.

The primary corn-growing downside is a probably low germination fee. In case your seed packet says the germination fee is 85% or above, however you’re experiencing a a lot decrease fee, this may be thought-about a poor germination fee. 

Resolution: Guarantee seeds are viable earlier than sowing. Do that by finishing a germination check. Place ten seeds on a moist paper towel, fold it in half, put them in a plastic baggie, and place in a protected, heat place, like atop the fridge. Wait a number of days, after which depend what number of seeds have germinated.

This gives you an estimate of your germination fee. Whereas this check doesn’t precisely depict the general germination fee of all of the seeds in your packet, having 9 out of 10 seeds germinate implies that 90% of these seeds efficiently germinated, indicating a excessive germination success fee.

Remember to buy your seeds from a good supply and test the germination charges earlier than ordering. In america, the USDA has germination fee necessities that almost all dependable seed firms are required to fulfill on the time of sale; if they don’t meet or exceed these seed germination charges, a dependable vendor is not going to promote that seed lot.

The older your seeds are, the decrease their germination fee could also be. Bear in mind, your seed is a residing factor; inside that seed coat is an embryonic plant. Whether it is saved for too lengthy, it’s going to exhaust the endosperm of the seed (which acts because the plant’s preliminary meals supply) and can die off, making it unable to germinate. In case you’re attempting to germinate a packet of seeds that you just purchased three years in the past, their germination fee is not going to be the identical because it was whenever you bought it!

Professional tip: If no seeds have germinated every week or two after the conventional germination time listed on the packet, toss them. They’re no good.

Poor Germination Fee Because of Rising Situations

Close-up of young corn sprouts in a sunny garden. The sprouts consist of short, strong stems with elongated, sword-shaped leaves with pointed tips. The leaves are smooth, dark green in color, covered with raindrops.
For direct sowing, make sure the soil is persistently at 50°F to keep away from dormancy, pests, and decay points.

Search for seen indicators of germination. In case your seeds have been viable however few vegetation germinated, the soil might have been overly chilly or damp. 

Resolution: If you can begin seeds indoors or in a heated space, this may increasingly yield higher germination outcomes. In case you can solely direct sow in outdoors soil, make sure the soil has reached 50° and stays at this temperature persistently. In any other case, the seed will lie dormant and should turn out to be susceptible to pests, rot, or just not germinate. 

Leaf Points 

Leaves Rolling Inward

Closeup of corn leaves rolled inward. The leaves are large, elongated, blade-shaped, pale green. The edges of the leaves are curled inward.
Lack of moisture throughout fast ear progress could cause inward curling in leaf tissues.

Insufficient moisture ranges are one other corn-growing downside. When ears are shaped, progress is fast, requiring a lot of constant moisture.

Remember to maintain your eyes in your crop in any respect phases, however particularly throughout the first 60 days, as loads of stuff is occurring inside. Search for indicators the plant might offer you that one thing is amiss. 

Resolution: Water closely and sometimes. When the soil is dry about 4 inches down, water once more. Closely mulching your corn vegetation will assist preserve moisture and is extremely advisable. 

Pest Points


Close-up of Wireworms in black loose soil. Wireworms are slender, hard-bodied larvae of click beetles. They have elongated, cylindrical bodies that can range in color from reddish-brown to yellowish-brown. Their bodies are segmented and appear shiny.
Wireworms are reddish-brown, slender pests that feed on roots and seeds, typically damaging newly planted crops.

Pests are a typical corn-growing downside. Wireworms are about ½ inch – two inches lengthy, hard-bodied, and really slender. They stand out within the soil as a consequence of their vivid reddish brown shade and whipping physique actions. They’re the clicking beetle’s larvae, which is that this pest’s grownup life cycle. You’ve seemingly encountered each of them someplace alongside your gardening journey. 

Wireworms feed on the roots and seeds of newly seeded or transplanted crops. Wireworms might hole out the seeds when corn is instantly sown, leading to no germination.

In any other case, they could feed on the roots and stems of younger corn vegetation, leading to poor efficiency or crop failure. They’re commonest in April-June, on the most important progress phases of corn, and so they stick round longer in cool and moist soil circumstances, shifting deeper when temperatures heat up. 

Resolution: Arrange a bait station about three weeks earlier than planting out your corn to find out the wireworm ranges within the soil and estimate your potential danger for loss. Do that by deciding on 5 or so random check websites in your discipline. Bury a handful of untreated corn and wheat seeds about 6 inches down, cowl it with black plastic to heat the soil, and mark it with a flag for straightforward identification later. Earlier than transplanting the corn, dig up the seeds and see how a lot harm occurred. 

Seed remedy can be utilized if low populations are detected. There are additionally pre-plant pesticides. Nevertheless, word that there are not any remedy choices after getting wireworms and there may be important harm. In case you replant a discipline when wireworms are nonetheless current, you’ll seemingly see the identical outcomes. 


Close-up of a Cutworm eating and destroying an ear of corn in a garden. The cutworm is a caterpillar-like pest with a cylindrical body in brownish-grey hues.
Cutworms are brown or grey soil-dwelling pests that chew by way of younger vegetation at night time.

In case you discover your younger vegetation merely falling over on the soil floor, you may be experiencing the harm of cutworms. These feisty monsters hibernate and conceal within the soil, are uninteresting in shade, usually brown or grey, and have small dots alongside their sides. They curl up whenever you disturb them, and the larvae can attain as much as two inches lengthy. 

Cutworms come out at night time and chew proper by way of the stems of vegetation on the soil floor, decapitating your valuable crops. Cutworm harm is often discovered within the spring, as they prefer to feed primarily on younger vegetation.

Professional tip: If direct sowing, begin a tray or two of seedlings indoors to interchange any fallen prey to cutworms. If transplanting, save the extras for a similar purpose and easily go alongside your plot and exchange any which were misplaced.

Resolution: Instantly kill cutworms should you see them in your soil. Nevertheless, take away all particles to stop them from hanging out in your backyard. 

You can too place a barrier round your younger vegetation to maintain cutworms from reaching them. This could possibly be a bodily barrier, akin to a rest room paper roll across the plant or a hoop of diatomaceous earth powder, espresso grounds, or egg shells. Remember to reapply after every rainfall. 

Moreover, you might interplant sage, tansy, and thyme, as these strong-scented herbs repel cutworms. 


Close-up of a blue jay eating ripe corn kernels in a garden. The blue jay is a brightly colored bird with bright blue plumage on its wings and back, a white belly and a characteristic crest on its head. The corn cob is elongated, has yellow kernels arranged in rows.
Use insect netting, reflective gadgets, or scare ways like scare tape and scarecrows to discourage birds.

In case you conquer the pests, native wildlife is the subsequent potential corn-growing downside. Birds love younger corn vegetation and should swoop in and snatch them proper out of the bottom when vegetation are simply rising or newly transplanted. Corn is among the crow’s favourite issues to snack on, so be careful for them. 

Resolution: Insect netting can be utilized to guard younger, susceptible vegetation. Simply make sure to hoop and canopy quickly after germination should you instantly sow or proper after your transplant. You can too use scare tape, reflective gadgets akin to pinwheels, or submit up a scarecrow to offer them a run for his or her cash, er, corn.

Raccoons and Different Critters

Close-up of a raccoon eating a ripe ear of corn in the garden. The raccoon is a medium-sized mammal known for its distinctive appearance, including black eye markings and bushy, ringed tails. The raccoon has a greyish-brown fur coat, pointed muzzle and dexterous forepaws resembling hands. The cob consists of a central core to which juicy yellow kernels are attached.
Corn ripens rapidly, attracting raccoons, deer, and turkeys.

Corn goes from being nearly able to prepared in a short time, and also you is probably not the one one ready for the right time to reap. By some means, raccoons, deer, and even wild turkeys know when candy corn is ripe and may destroy a complete crop in a single day or in a daytime go by. 

Resolution: Raccoons come out and wreak havoc at night time and spook simply by people and loud noises. Just a few issues which will scare them off: 

  • Attempt hanging tin pans from a tall submit within the floor close to your corn and permit them to blow round within the wind. Wind chimes work as properly. 
  • Plug a radio in close by and play it in a single day. Change the radio station typically so it doesn’t turn out to be simply background noise to the animals you hope to discourage. 
  • Sprinkle blood meal round your corn plot. They’ll assume a predator is lurking close by and may keep away from the world. 
  • Movement-activated lights or sound. 
  • Make a DIY deterrent by mixing cayenne pepper and blended garlic right into a gallon of water and a teaspoon of cleaning soap. Spray or pour round your plot. Cinnamon can be believed to confuse raccoons’ sense of odor, so you might strive including that to the combination or sprinkling it on or round your vegetation. 
  • If all else fails, you may set up a brief electrical fence when your corn is about to ripen—no have to have it on throughout the earlier phases. 


Northern Leaf Corn Blight

Close-up of corn leaves affected by Northern Leaf Corn Blight. The leaves are large, elongated, blade-shaped, dark green. The leaves have affected areas in the form of dry brown stripes.
This fungus favors heat temperatures and humidity and causes lesions on leaves.

Northern Leaf Corn Blight (NLCB) is attributable to the fungus Setosphaeria turcicum (synonym Exserohilum turcicum), which favors temperatures between 65-80° and excessive humidity ranges, making it one of many major illnesses putting corn in states like Florida within the spring and throughout the Midwest in mid-late summer season. 

Lesions attributable to NLCB are grey to brown, will be as much as six inches lengthy, and may seem water-soaked. The spots start on decrease husk leaves first, work their approach up, and darken when the fungus is sporulating. The size, measurement, and shade of the spots rely upon the variability and age of the corn. Important loss can happen if this illness is contracted earlier than the corn silks. 

There are numerous kinds of scrumptious corn varieties to select from. Attempt rising ‘Honey and Cream’ candy corn for a scrumptious choice immune to frequent rust and Northern leaf blight. 

Southern Leaf Corn Blight

Close-up of a corn leaf affected by Southern Leaf Corn Blight. The leaf is large, long, ribbon-like. bright green. The surface of the leaf is smooth, covered with many irregular small markings of pale green and brownish hues.
This blight is attributable to a warm-temperature-loving fungus that damages younger seedlings.

Southern Leaf Corn Blight (SLCB) is attributable to the fungus Bipolaris maydis, which favors hotter temperatures between 68-90°. States like Georgia and Florida normally encounter SLCB within the fall. 

Signs of SLCB embrace small yellow halos surrounding as much as one-inch lesions and may destroy younger seedlings if not caught in time.

Resolution: Strobilurin and sterol-inhibiting fungicides can be utilized preventatively however will solely be efficient if utilized when the time is correct, earlier than excessive an infection. Illness-resistant varieties exist, and deep tillage may also work for prevention. In case you observe no-till strategies, no less than a two-year crop rotation plan is advisable.

Normal Plant Points

Small Ears 

Close-up of a corncob with the husk removed, in a sunny garden. The corn plant produces an elongated cob that has small yellow kernels arranged in rows. The top half of the cob has small, immature kernels due to lack of nutrients.
If small ears kind regardless of wholesome stalks, nutrient deficiency may be the difficulty.

In case your stalks look wholesome however the ears being produced are all comparatively small, they could not have had the vitamins they wanted to kind proper-sized ears. 

Resolution: House corn vegetation 9 to 12 inches aside in a row of two per selection to permit for correct pollination. Any lower than 9 inches is not going to enable them to develop outward sufficient, obtain ample airflow, or trigger them to run brief on vitamins when it comes time to mature the corn ears. 

Professional tip: Attempt including a well-balanced fertilizer alongside your corn plot a couple of month after they’re transplanted and once more mid-season to make sure they’ve what they should kind good, full cobs.

Incomplete or Delayed Silk Emergence

Close-up of a woman's hand checking the silk of young corncobs in the garden. The silk of the corn plant is a long, filamentous, pale green structure that emerges from the tips of the cobs.
Incomplete silk emergence may end up from low moisture ranges, resulting in poor pollination.

This may not sound like an enormous deal, however the corn plant transitions into reproductive phases when the silks emerge from the husks. Every silk represents a feminine flower of the plant. Each being pollinated results in a kernel of corn.

The commonest prevalence that may trigger incomplete silk emergence is extreme drought circumstances. Silks are extremely delicate to moisture ranges as a result of they want the best water content material of every other corn plant tissue. When low moisture ranges are current, silks emerge extra slowly or fail to take action in any respect. 

If “silking” is delayed too lengthy or fails to occur in any respect, little pollination or none in any respect happens as a result of most or all the pollen has already been shed, resulting in an underdeveloped corn cob that gives few or no kernels, often known as blanks.  

Resolution: Water commonly and mulch closely to carry in that moisture. 

Suggestions For Success

Close-up of ripe corn cobs in a corn field. The plant has strong upright stems with large, long, blade-shaped leaves. The cobs are elongated, cylindrical in shape, consisting of many bright yellow-orange kernels attached in rows. The husk is dry, brown, hanging down at the base of the ears.
Verify corn cobs for ripe kernels when silks brown and leaves dry up.

Corn performs finest when grown in well-draining soil filled with natural matter that receives full solar. It can carry out finest when planted in blocks or brief rows of 4 spaced 15 inches aside.

Block planting works finest as a consequence of its potential to pollinate others within the block as a consequence of their proximity to one another. Pollen can simply drift over to a corn good friend when the wind blows. Likewise, when bees discover your block, they’ll fly from one corn plant to the subsequent simply.

Delay planting till the soil temperature is no less than 62-65°. Don’t rush it! Beginning corn indoors is advisable for a head begin or throughout a cool spring. Mulch vegetation closely and water 1-2 inches per week.

Facet dressing with composted manure or a basic fertilizer is a good suggestion, as corn is a heavy feeder. This may be completed a couple of month after being transplanted, and they’re properly established, and once more whenever you see tassels begin to kind. They want ample vitamins to supply wholesome, lovely corn cobs. 

Begin checking the information of your corn cobs for totally shaped kernels about three weeks after you begin seeing silks. The leaves will dry up, and the silks will brown when corn is ripe. The juice from a kernel must be milky white when ripe and able to be harvested

Professional tip: If in case you have an abundance of recent corn and may’t probably eat any extra, strive slicing it off the cob and freezing it on a cookie sheet. As soon as utterly frozen, retailer them in a freezer-safe bag for as much as 12 months. Use it in soups, chowders, and dips all winter lengthy.

Closing Ideas

There may be nothing like homegrown, candy corn recent off the stalk, so it’s completely price rising. Simply concentrate on these points which may come up, plan accordingly, and get pleasure from recent corn all season lengthy! 



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