Highonliven
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 5:21 pm

Corn plants grow great then wither away

I have an issue with my corn plants in soil.

I started this batch in peat moss seed starting pellets. They looked awesome really quick while under the dome. When they wouldn't fit in the dome anymore I transferred them into a soil mound. Since they havent't grown much, the leaves turn brown and brittle, however the plant is still green in general. I think they grew maybe 1/2 an inch in the past three weeks.

My first guess was maybe they were root bound, or possibly under watered. I have tried watering longer per watering and twice a day instead of just once a day. This last 5 days I have even been watering using a miracle grow sprayer and see no difference in signs of life.

I also planted some fresh corn seeds in "pots" to rule out a soil contamination or pest problem. Also ruling out the possibility that maybe the plants were damaged during transplant. In these "pots" I filled them with soil, saturated to the soil with water and let them dry out. Then planted a seed about two knuckles down in the soil. Watered with about 6 ounces of bottled water and let them go to town only watering when the soil looked dry. These are still looking good and I'm watching to see if they change at all when they come of age compared to their ground level counterparts.

Any help would be great. Tha is in advance.

Highonliven
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 5:21 pm

Re: Corn plants grow great then wither away

Here are some pictures for reference...
Close up of corn plant
Close up of corn plant
sick Corn.JPG (44.34 KiB) Viewed 895 times
Sick corn again.JPG
Sick corn again.JPG (43.78 KiB) Viewed 895 times
Corn In Row.JPG
Corn In Row.JPG (43.66 KiB) Viewed 895 times

joed2323
Senior Member
Posts: 164
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:28 pm
Location: upper michigan

Re: Corn plants grow great then wither away

One question, why would you start them in pots and not sow the seed in the ground?? From what i hear corn doesnt like to be transplanted...

What corn variety are you using?

Have you tried putting the seeds in the ground and trying it the old fashioned way to see if you run into the same problems?

Could be a nitrogen deficiency problem as well.. I always thought when the leaves turn yellow on corn its a nitrogen shortage, maybe mix in some blood meal
Id almost bet it needs more nitrogen

Maybe a more experienced gardener can chime in

Are you growing these in a sand box?? looks very sandy
What is your soil like? Do you have alot of compost and other rich nutrients in the soil? Corn is a heavy feeder...

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27813
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Corn plants grow great then wither away

In the last pic in the foreground, it looks like you didn't take the covering/netting off the pet pellets.

I'm experimenting with 2" soilblocks -- tightly packed potting mix, no cover. When I planted them, some of them had sent out a taproot into neighboring soilblocker, etc. with approx. 2" sticking out. I had tried planting additional seeds in 4"x4"x6" deep pots of loose mix, and these had long taproots between 4-6" or more as well as side roots. With the netting on, all that is squashed inside with few if any chance of escaping.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Dillbert
Greener Thumb
Posts: 955
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:29 pm
Location: Central PA

Re: Corn plants grow great then wither away

no, corn does not like to have its roots disturbed.

the peat pots look to be still there, confining the roots, sticking up into the air and wicking away moisture from the root zone.

planted in long rows vs a block, so even if they do grow, pollination will be seriously less than good.

likely set out too soon, corn likes warm soil and full sun and lots of heat.
if it's cool, they're going to not do much of anything and may wind up quite stunted by the time the weather is more to their liking.

I'd be tempted to start over.

Highonliven
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 5:21 pm

Re: Corn plants grow great then wither away

Thanks everyone for your input. The plants that are int he ground (first batch)... We're started in peat moss under the dome because of inclement weather and me not being patient. What looks like the netting of a peat moss pellet is actually a toilet paper roll to try and protect the then fragile stalk during a wind storm.

I have three plants in pots now that should have Enough space to root out without needing a transplant so we will see how they do.

The "bed" frame is made from old posts that I had taking up space and then I used 18 cu ft of potting soil and made a mound. The sand on either side of the mound is more or less to keep the soil from washing away as I water it. The plants are planted in the soil only.

Would a simple fertilizer be good enough to help the nitrogen deficiancy or would a fresh start with a mixture of soil, fertilizer and maybe some perspire to lighten up the mix so it doesn't compact be a better option.

joed2323
Senior Member
Posts: 164
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:28 pm
Location: upper michigan

Re: Corn plants grow great then wither away

where are you located? sorry if you posted it, i must have missed it

The corn is still fairly young enough, so worst comes the worst if they die off, you should still have enough time to sow seed into the ground... What are your temps like where you are located?? Is/was the ground temp warm enough for the corn, i know must corn does not like anything colder then 50 degrees, and still that may be too cold for some...

blood meal, you can pick it up at walmart for about 5-6 bucks works good for giving corn a good shot of nitrogen, usually you can use this to side dress your corn when they get about a foot tall... Depending on what condition your ground is in, it probably would hurt anything to apply some now..

Hopefully Jal_ut comes across this thread soon and adds his knowledge

coonhound
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 12:46 am
Location: northeast, MO zone 5

Re: Corn plants grow great then wither away

I'll echo what others have said. Corn does best with warm soil and direct seeding. They don't transplant well at all. I would suggest direct seed them and watch me go

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Corn plants grow great then wither away

I always plant corn in the ground directly where it will grow. No use starting it.

I have at times had good luck moving corn that was about 2 to 3 inches tall to fill in a row that had blank spots. I am talking about taking a trowel, dig a hole where its going then go get the plant on the trowel and bring it over and set it in the hole. Water. These have always taken well. I was moving corn that was growing outside so no big diff in the exposure etc.

I just planted my first corn on May 4. I plan to plant 3 rows each week for several weeks.

You can start planting corn outside directly about a week before the date of your last average frost.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”