evtubbergh
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Location: South Africa

Corn pollination

Any one have any good methods to pollinate corn? Or as we call them, mielies ;)

I planted a few plants and they're all tasselled on top and I'm getting the silk at the leaves where cobs will form. I was think of breaking off some tassels and just brush them over the silk. Or using a brush.

Yes I know they are wind pollinated but there is not much wind and I only have a couple of plants. This was just for fun.

Also what do I feed at this stage?

evtubbergh
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Location: South Africa

Re: Corn pollination

Ok so I don't have a fan and to be honest all I would do it blow the pollen away from the plant. I used a brush just now and then only realised that a lot of pollen landed on the leaves and never got to the tassels and what I thought were young male flowers were actually already burst. Oops. I might be able to salvage that one but to be honest the silk looks old already. I do hope it got pollinated.

The other plants are behind so I will pay attention and try to do better.

They are actually in pots so I think I should give them some low N food. And yes, water.

sepeters
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Location: AZ, zone 9

Re: Corn pollination

It is probably too late for you to hand pollinate now, but maybe this will be helpful next year. Another member told me about this great method and it worked for me flawlessly!

If your crop is small (I had less than a dozen plants) you can cut a few flowers off each morning when the pollen is dropping and just sort bang them against the silks til you stop seeing pollen come off. Do this each morning until you see the pollen stop dropping, as new silks emerge daily and each silk is a potential kernel. Try not to pollinate a plant with its own flowers, even though corn easily cross pollinates it doesn't self pollinate well and you will end up with sparse kernels on the cobs.

I used this method and every stalk yielded 2 full ears. Good luck!

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applestar
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Re: Corn pollination

This turned out not to work so well when your corn grows to over 12 feet... But bending the tassels every morning and tapping the pollen onto a printer paper creased in half, then pouring the collected pollen into the silks of several ears worked well for me with no significant loss of the precious pollen. The same tassel seemed to produce pollen for 2-3 days.

This is also a method posted by a member here, though I'm sorry I'm drawing a blank about who it was.
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.

imafan26
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Re: Corn pollination

I used to bag my tassels and hand pollinate the silks from the bag. Corn is one crop that should be planted in a block and more than a few.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Corn pollination

No wind is good for only a couple of plants. When it is dead calm the pollen will fall like snow flakes to the silks but wild will blow the pollen away. Corn does not do well in a small crop so it will be best if you self pollenate your plants. I read online silks can only be pollenated for a few days when they are sticky and tassels make pollen for about 1 week. It also says online if summer temperatures are too hot corn will not pollenate. It does not say how hot too hot is? I have pollenated corn before with a paint brush, brush the tassels then brush the silks. Do that morning, noon and night for several days.

I had a nice crop of corn last summer about 150 plants. It was 110 to 112 degrees when the plants tasseled. I did the paint brush trick to pollenate them but it did not work. I harvested my whole crop and got about 300 seeds just enough to replant and nothing to eat.

SOB
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Re: Corn pollination

Here's a good read on corn pollination - very informational and covers a lot of the questions and comments in this thread.

https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/new ... ssels.html

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