Saturday, July 10, 2010

Is your Sweet Corn suffering from drought?

If the leaves of your sweet corn plants are rolling, this is a clear indication of a lack of water. When this happens your plants are stressed. When corn plants lack water during silking and tassel development you run the risk of having ears missing many of the kernels you like to munch on.

When you water, ensure the water penetrates the soil to a depth of six inches. You can determine the depth to which the water penetrates with a shovel or probe. Don’t allow the soil to get so dry that the leaves roll. At the same time, don’t water every day.

Remember to fertilize your sweet corn when it is about knee high and again when tassels start to show. Apply one-third pound of nitrogen per 100 foot row. One and one-half pounds of ammonium sulfate contains almost that amount of nitrogen. If you use another fertilizer, divide .33 by the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer. The answer will be the pounds of the fertilizer you will need to apply.

Tassels form at the top of the corn plant and produce pollen (i.e ‘sperm’). Silk forms on the tip of the ears. When a pollen grain falls on the silk it develops a tube that extends the length of the silk until it reaches the “egg”. If you want kernels on your corn, do NOT remove either the tassels or the silk and be sure to fertilize.

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