Early growth stages of corn

Farming is a very challenging profession. Every growing season presents different problems and opportunities. However, if we understand how our crops grow, we can try to do a better job of meeting the needs of our crops and improve yields. Let’s look at what happens as the young corn plants develop.

• The young stage of every organism is critical for development and productivity of the adults. It takes 110-120 Growing Degrees for corn seedling emergence.

• V1 to V2- First and second leaves develop six to seven days after the seedlings emerge. The first roots start to supply water and nutrients to the young seedlings.

• Roots are very small and banded fertilizer close to the roots at this stage should be very helpful in stimulating early growth.

• V3- V4 – About two weeks after emergence, third leaf starts to develop. Seedling roots stop at this stage and the secondary roots known as “Nodal Roots” start growing. These become the permanent root system of the plant.

• Don’t cultivate too close to the plant after this stage because the roots may be damaged.

• The growing point stays below the ground for three to four weeks and is protected from frost or insects on the surface.

• Freeze at this stage may hurt the leaves but growing point is not destroyed since it is below ground. Don’t start thinking about replanting at this stage.

• The nodal roots are growing fast and start taking over the responsibility of gathering water and nutrients for the whole plant. Root hairs also start growing.

• V5- Four nodes develop below the ground. Generally, the first node above the ground is the 5th node. Even at this early stage, leaf and ear shoots are starting to develop. Take care of the young plants and you will have productive healthy adults and a good crop.

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