The Q&A Archives: Dead Corn

Question: Last year I planted corn in Febuary and it grew fine until it started to get warm. There were developing ears on the stalk but the plants died before the corn matured. What can I do this year to prevent this from happening? Did it die due to the heat? Ican not recall the kind of corn I planted but will you suggest a good sweet yellow corn that will grown in Florida?

Answer: I can't tell without more information on just why your corn died. Did it get enough water? Did it look tall and healthy, then all of a sudden turn brown, or was it stunted all along? Were the leaves a nice green color, or were they pale, or even purplish? Did you inspect the plants for signs of insects or disease? <br><br>Here are some general growing instructions: Corn thrives in hot weather. Make sure your soil's pH is between 6 and 7. Fertilize at planting time with 10-10-10 fertilizer. When corn is about knee high side dress with the same fertilizer; at this time it is also helpful to gently rake soil up around the plants to help keep them from falling over. A little extra nitrogen when plants are waist high also helps. I use nitrate of soda, but there are other forms of nitrogen you can use. Give corn 2" of water a week. Take into consideration the amount of rainfall you get and water accordingly. <br><br>Corn should be planted in patches--that is, a block of short rows rather than one long row. This configuration is important because corn is wind-pollinated.<br><br>A good yellow variety for your area is Burpee's Yellow Golden Cross Bantam. Another variety is Burpee's Early<br>Xtra Sweet. There are other varieties that would do well<br>in your area. My favorite corn is Silver Queen, a white<br>variety.<br><br>Your County Extension Service can check your pH for you.<br>There is little or no cost. The Extension Service Office<br>in Polk County is in Bartow. The telephone number is (941)533-0765.

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