The Q&A Archives: Cutworms For Corn????

Question: I planted some corn a while ago, only to find it either dug up, or mainly broken off at ground level after it reached about 1 inch in height. Could this possibly be cutworms, or most likely squirrels?

Answer: If your plants are actually dug up, I'd suspect either squirrels or crows have been harvesting the tasty corn shoots. If they are severed at ground level (or slightly above), then cutworms are probably the culprits. You can keep critters out of the corn patch by covering it with bird netting or floating row cover until the plants are 6" or so high. This will help them get off to a good start and by the time they're that tall they shouldn't be as attractive to wildlife. If cutworms are the problem you can protect your newly emerging corn stalks by placing a paper collar around them or a small stick right next to each sprout. Cutworms do their damage by encircling the sprout and gnawing completely through. A barrier such as mentioned above will stop them from feasting on your corn stalks.

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