11 Corn-Rising Issues You May Face

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

First, let’s briefly talk about a couple of phases of how corn grows and matures. Varied points will come up throughout every. Then, we’ll undergo 11 rising issues you would possibly encounter and the right way to keep away from them. 

Phases of Corn Progress

Corn crops produce each female and male flowers, that 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 a bit of funky. 

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

Vegetative Phases

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 tip 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 aspect shoots close to the bottom of the plant and are the beginning of the plant’s central stalk. Ears and tassels start to type 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 type. 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 speedy throughout this time. 

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

Reproductive Phases

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 via 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 deal with persevering with the lifetime of the subsequent technology of corn. 

Now, let’s discuss in regards to the tassels atop the corn crops. 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 via insect legs and wings. Throughout 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 result of low moisture ranges, they can not seize pollen and transfer it into the ovule for pollination. 

Kernel Improvement 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, you must shield your crop from critters who might wish to get their arms 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 would possibly encounter. 

Early Points

Poor Germination Price As a result 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 examine germination charges earlier than shopping for.

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

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

Make sure to buy your seeds from a good supply and examine the germination charges earlier than ordering. In the USA, the USDA has germination price necessities that almost all dependable seed firms are required to satisfy on the time of sale; if they don’t meet or exceed these seed germination charges, a dependable vendor won’t promote that seed lot.

The older your seeds are, the decrease their germination price could also be. Bear in mind, your seed is a dwelling factor; inside that seed coat is an embryonic plant. Whether it is saved for too lengthy, it would exhaust the endosperm of the seed (which acts because the plant’s preliminary meals supply) and can die off, making it unable to germinate. For those who’re attempting to germinate a packet of seeds that you simply purchased three years in the past, their germination price won’t be the identical because it was once 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 Price As a result 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 constantly 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 crops germinated, the soil might have been overly chilly or damp. 

Resolution: If you can begin seeds indoors or in a heated space, this will likely yield higher germination outcomes. For those who can solely direct sow in outdoors soil, make sure the soil has reached 50° and stays at this temperature constantly. In any other case, the seed will lie dormant and should change into 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 speedy ear progress could cause inward curling in leaf tissues.

Insufficient moisture ranges are one other corn-growing downside. When ears are shaped, progress is speedy, requiring numerous constant moisture.

Make sure to maintain your eyes in your crop in any respect phases, however particularly in the course of the first 60 days, as plenty 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 crops 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 standard corn-growing downside. Wireworms are about ½ inch – two inches lengthy, hard-bodied, and really slender. They stand out within the soil as a result of their brilliant reddish brown shade and whipping physique actions. They’re the press beetle’s larvae, which is that this pest’s grownup life cycle. You’ve probably 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 immediately sown, leading to no germination.

In any other case, they could feed on the roots and stems of younger corn crops, leading to poor efficiency or crop failure. They’re commonest in April-June, on the most vital progress phases of corn, they usually stick round longer in cool and moist soil situations, 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 threat for loss. Do that by deciding on 5 or so random check websites in your subject. 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 injury occurred. 

Seed remedy can be utilized if low populations are detected. There are additionally pre-plant pesticides. Nonetheless, notice that there aren’t any remedy choices after getting wireworms and there may be important injury. For those who replant a subject when wireworms are nonetheless current, you’ll probably 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 via younger crops at night time.

For those who discover your younger crops merely falling over on the soil floor, you is likely to be experiencing the injury of cutworms. These feisty monsters hibernate and conceal within the soil, are boring in shade, sometimes brown or grey, and have small dots alongside their sides. They curl up once you disturb them, and the larvae can attain as much as two inches lengthy. 

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

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

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

You may as well place a barrier round your younger crops to maintain cutworms from reaching them. This may very well be a bodily barrier, resembling a rest room paper roll across the plant or a hoop of diatomaceous earth powder, espresso grounds, or egg shells. Make sure 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 techniques like scare tape and scarecrows to discourage birds.

For those who conquer the pests, native wildlife is the subsequent potential corn-growing downside. Birds love younger corn crops and should swoop in and snatch them proper out of the bottom when crops 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 crops. Simply you should definitely hoop and canopy quickly after germination when you immediately sow or proper after your transplant. You may as well use scare tape, reflective gadgets resembling pinwheels, or put up up a scarecrow to present 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 shortly, attracting raccoons, deer, and turkeys.

Corn goes from being virtually able to prepared in a short time, and also you might not be the one one ready for the right time to reap. In some way, raccoons, deer, and even wild turkeys know when candy corn is ripe and might destroy a complete crop in a single day or in a daytime cross by. 

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

  • Strive hanging tin pans from a tall put up within the floor close to your corn and permit them to blow round within the wind. Wind chimes work as effectively. 
  • Plug a radio in close by and play it in a single day. Change the radio station typically so it doesn’t change into 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 will 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 combo or sprinkling it on or round your crops. 
  • If all else fails, you possibly can set up a short lived electrical fence when your corn is about to ripen—no must have it on in the course of 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 brought on by the fungus Setosphaeria turcicum (synonym Exserohilum turcicum), which favors temperatures between 65-80° and excessive humidity ranges, making it one of many foremost ailments hanging corn in states like Florida within the spring and throughout the Midwest in mid-late summer season. 

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

There are a lot of forms of scrumptious corn varieties to select from. Strive rising ‘Honey and Cream’ candy corn for a scrumptious choice proof against widespread 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 brought on by a warm-temperature-loving fungus that damages younger seedlings.

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

Signs of SLCB embrace small yellow halos surrounding as much as one-inch lesions and might 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 true, earlier than excessive an infection. Illness-resistant varieties exist, and deep tillage may also work for prevention. For those who 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 type regardless of wholesome stalks, nutrient deficiency is likely to be the problem.

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 type proper-sized ears. 

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

Professional tip: Strive 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 type 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 situations. Silks are extremely delicate to moisture ranges as a result of they want the very best water content material of another 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 provides few or no kernels, also called blanks.  

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

Ideas 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 should carry out finest when planted in blocks or quick rows of 4 spaced 15 inches aside.

Block planting works finest as a result of its capacity to pollinate others within the block as a result 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 crops closely and water 1-2 inches per week.

Facet dressing with composted manure or a common 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 effectively established, and once more once you see tassels begin to type. 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 needs to be milky white when ripe and able to be harvested

Professional tip: When you have an abundance of contemporary corn and might’t probably eat any extra, strive reducing 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.

Last Ideas

There’s nothing like homegrown, candy corn contemporary off the stalk, so it’s completely value rising. Simply pay attention to these points which may come up, plan accordingly, and take pleasure in contemporary corn all season lengthy! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *