dig4victory
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Sweetcorn sideshoots

Hi there!

My sweetcorn is green and strong and about 2 - 3ft tall. There seem to be side shoots growing out of the base, with a growing tip on each, if you know what I mean.

My gut instinct is that these are like the side shoots that are pinched out of tomato plants. But I don't know whether to leave them in, whether this will take away growing energy from the main shoot or take them off.

Anyone any experience of this and have some advice? :?

Thanks all!

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Kisal
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I would leave them. If I understand it correctly, the side shoots can help stabilize the plant in the ground.

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freedhardwoods
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They are a parasite, even though they are part of the corn plant. Everyone in this area calls them "suckers" because they "suck" the nutrients away from the main corn plant and rarely produce anything viable. Many do let them grow because they don't have the time to pull them in a large garden. They will just add a little extra fertilizer to feed the main plant. Sometimes I will walk through my corn and pull the larger ones so they don't drain the nutrients away from the main plant.

I have never heard of them helping to stabilize the main plant. It could be true, but I believe they are much more detrimental than helpful. For corn to have good solid roots it needs to be slightly water stressed occasionally while it is growing so the roots will go deep looking for moisture.

Another way to help stabilize corn is to "hill" it. Pull dirt up around the stalks from between the rows anytime it is big enough that you don't knock it over while doing it. My Troybilt tiller has a hilling/furrower attatchment. It can dig a trench up to 7" deep between the rows and piles all that dirt up around the stalks. The corn has to be 2'-3' tall to put that much dirt around it. I can set it shallower if I want to hill it sooner. 8)

dig4victory
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Thanks.

I have been mounding up the earth around the base of the corn anyway, bit like building up the potato plants.

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freedhardwoods
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I hilled some of my corn yesterday. Here is what it looks like.



[img]https://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk129/freedhardwoods/Garden/HilledCorn1.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk129/freedhardwoods/Garden/HilledCorn2.jpg[/img]

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jal_ut
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That is perfectly normal. Leave them alone. They provide more leaf surface to synthesize food for the plant. They may even make an ear of corn if you have the soil fertility. You will get a better harvest if you don't prune them.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Charlie MV
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Freehardwoods, could I see a picture of your Troybuild with the hilling attachment? I didn't know they made that.

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freedhardwoods
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Charlie MV wrote:Freehardwoods, could I see a picture of your Troybilt with the hilling attachment? I didn't know they made that.
I will get it soon. I'm having computer trouble.

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Kisal
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Here's an old thread where the subject of multiple stalks on corn was discussed:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15767

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freedhardwoods
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Charlie MV,

Look here. There are some halfway decent prices.

https://itemlistings.ebay.com/sdcsrp?fl=270292357501&product={query}&sconstraints=IncludeSelector%3DDetails%2CSellerInfo%26ItemType%3DAllFixedPriceItemTypes%26ItemSort%3DBestMatch&xm&siteid=0

I bought mine years ago for $5 at an auction. It was never used; the paint wasn't even scratched. I don't think anyone else knew what it was. A few years before I found that one I had welded my own using scrap pieces of metal from a trailer manufacturing company where I was a welder. The real thing works better.

Charlie MV
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Thanks FHW, I'll get one.

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