The Q&A Archives: Immature Corn

Question: My corn crop is full of immature kernels. Can you please tell me why? We've had a very foggy summer and not much heat. Did I water to much? Not enough sun? Thanks for your assistance.

Answer: Corn is a warm-season crop which thrives during long, hot summers. Cooler than normal weather will affect the growth and production of corn. Each stalk will only develop two ears, and the kernels won't fill out unless they're pollinated. Therefore, if the weather has been cool or wet, incomplete pollination is is the likely cause of poor kernel development. For future success, be sure to plant your corn in blocks rather than in long rows to insure complete
pollination. When the tassels are mature they will drop tiny dust-like yellow pollen down on the leaves of the plants. The silks on the ears are connected to the kernels on the cob. The pollen must touch the silks and be transported down to the immature seed on the cob. When your corn tassels are ripe and begin to shed pollen, you can help in the process by gently shaking each stalk, to help the pollen drop down to the silks. Or, you can break off a tassle and brush it against the silk of each ear on each stalk.

Another way to beat the odds is to try a corn variety that matures in a shorter season. That way the ears of corn will have time to become plump and fully mature.

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