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Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

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Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  llama momma on 6/28/2012, 10:51 am

I don't understand how corn grows in drought conditions in the cornfield next to me. It's so dry the field is covered with large cracks, yet the 400 acres ( GMO cow corn I assume) already 8 feet tall, dark green and tassled. And loaded with 6-7" ears of corn. The corn diameter an inch or so. Opened it up and the baby corn and cob were so juicy (no rain, so how??) perfectly formed and I must say was sweet and delicious. While next store back at my place I water plants daily and the lawn crunches. Does commercial corn have 8 foot roots or something??
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  CharlesB on 6/28/2012, 11:20 am

I'd be curious as to how far down you'd have to dig in that corn field to hit a bit of moisture.

It obviously has a very aggressive root system but I would be surprised if you went down 12 inches and didn't hit some moisture.
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  claudiamedic on 6/28/2012, 11:39 am

Corn here in E Central Indiana (where the forecast high is 103 today sunny ) isn't looking nearly that good. Maybe there's a watershed underneath that property. Field corn here is about 36" and not a tassel in sight. The leaves are curling in so the plants look more like yucca than corn. Compared to that, my corn looks great. I have some growing in 5 gal buckets that is about 4' tall. The corn in my SFG bed are about 2.5-3' tall -- no tasseling and the bottom leaves are yellowing -- don't know if I'm overwatering or if they just need more nitrogen. I'm a rank newbie and I'll admit that my MM isn't perfect because I couldn't find good compost sources. I water daily, too, but I'm using treated city water and I'm sure the plants don't like that much chlorine!
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  llama momma on 6/28/2012, 11:51 am

CharlesB
Must be very aggressive as you say. I'll have to remember to ask the farmer that cuts our hay. He should know the length of corn roots. The owner of the corn fields lives in FL or I'd ask him myself.

claudiamedic
I don't know about a watershed but its hundreds of acres and it slopes and I am baffled by it. Took my binoculars and its just as green up on the slopes which to me there should be more dry from drainage. It's crazy to me. What kind of Frankinstein corn is this. Maybe I'll post pictures of the crazy stuff.
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  llama momma on 6/28/2012, 11:58 am

ClaudiaM
I did corn last year and asked about the bottoms turning color. Didn't get a conclusive answer. I got corn from it and it was really nice. So maybe a normal aging kind of thing the same way maturing strawberry Leaves show red after awhile, anyway hope its all good.


Last edited by llama momma on 6/28/2012, 12:03 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : meant strawberry leaves, not strawberries)
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  claudiamedic on 6/28/2012, 12:00 pm

Thanks for the feedback on my yellowing corn.....this is all a grand experiment that is fun to boot! Smile
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  llama momma on 6/28/2012, 12:03 pm

I meant strawberry leaves!! not strawberries
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  claudiamedic on 6/28/2012, 3:43 pm

lol! I knew you meant the leaves, and I'm glad to know that isn't a bad thing (because mine are turning red on the edges)!
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  CharlesB on 6/28/2012, 4:58 pm

I found this an interesting read on the size of Corn roots:

http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010139fieldcroproots/010139ch9.html

They indeed can be eight feet deep.
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  claudiamedic on 6/28/2012, 5:12 pm

@CharlesB wrote:I found this an interesting read on the size of Corn roots:

http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010139fieldcroproots/010139ch9.html

They indeed can be eight feet deep.

WOW.
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  llama momma on 6/28/2012, 5:32 pm

Absolutely fascinating, thank you for finding this CHarlesB! I was so excited I read through it quickly and will go back to better digest it. But still I love the description of aerial roots, "...covered with a mucilaginous substance which protects them from drying." How amazing is that? I'm so impressed. So 5 foot roots are normal and could certainly go to 8 ft. And 3 foot wide is normal too. Feels like I just spent time in a lovely agronomy class. Thanks Again for sharing this Very Happy
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  littlejo on 6/28/2012, 5:55 pm

The field corn is probably GMO, and/or hybrid, to be drought tolerant. Sweet corn that we eat may be GMO, but I think they are more herbcide tolerant, rather than drought, maybe both.

http://www.ehow.com/info_8583190_droughttolerant-maize-varieties.html



I told my DH about the Agent Orange Corn, and he made me some more beds and said we will grow our own corn, or we won't eat corn.

Jo


Last edited by littlejo on 6/28/2012, 6:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fogot the link!)
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  JustMe on 6/28/2012, 11:21 pm

Llama momma - I've been wondering the same thing. My six squares of popcorn and sweet corn are barely making it.

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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  CharlesB on 6/29/2012, 10:45 am

@llama momma wrote:Absolutely fascinating, thank you for finding this CHarlesB! I was so excited I read through it quickly and will go back to better digest it. But still I love the description of aerial roots, "...covered with a mucilaginous substance which protects them from drying." How amazing is that? I'm so impressed. So 5 foot roots are normal and could certainly go to 8 ft. And 3 foot wide is normal too. Feels like I just spent time in a lovely agronomy class. Thanks Again for sharing this Very Happy

I felt the same way, what an extraordinary plant. I liked how it says the roots will grow up to 2 inches a day at time. There's actually a lot more going on beneath the soil than up top. I look at my little patch of corn in a whole new light.
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  greatgranny on 6/29/2012, 11:53 am

My Dad was a farmer. He did not like the wet years because the corn toppled over in the wind. When I asked him why, he said the roots did not have to go deep to search for water.

Something just now made me wonder if sweet corn should be grown without the weed barrier cloth. What are your thoughts on this?
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  littlejo on 6/29/2012, 12:15 pm

@greatgranny wrote:My Dad was a farmer. He did not like the wet years because the corn toppled over in the wind. When I asked him why, he said the roots did not have to go deep to search for water.

Something just now made me wonder if sweet corn should be grown without the weed barrier cloth. What are your thoughts on this?



This my 2nd year growing corn in SFG. I remember last yr. I had a devil of a time pulling up the stalks. I fineally waited about 2 wks. and they came up fairly easy. I think I will use a shovel and see if the weed cloth is still there. I have onions in last yrs bed and don't have any weeds,yet!

Jo
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  Lindacol on 6/29/2012, 12:25 pm

@littlejo wrote:


This my 2nd year growing corn in SFG. I remember last yr. I had a devil of a time pulling up the stalks. I fineally waited about 2 wks. and they came up fairly easy. I think I will use a shovel and see if the weed cloth is still there. I have onions in last yrs bed and don't have any weeds,yet!

Jo

I cut the stalks just above the ground soon after harvesting the corn and feed them to the goats. Last year I went back & pulled the roots a couple of weeks later and it was easy to do.This time I am cutting the stalks and am trying to decide if I will pull the roots as I have sweet potatoes growing under the corn.
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  llama momma on 6/29/2012, 1:00 pm

[quote="CharlesB I felt the same way, what an extraordinary plant. I liked how it says the roots will grow up to 2 inches a day at time. There's actually a lot more going on beneath the soil than up top. I look at my little patch of corn in a whole new light.[/quote]

Agree, our silent little gardens are super busy out there. We think we're gardeners but pfft we're not doing much at all. Maybe I should find a soil science book for laymen. Minus all the chemistry that blew me away when I took a college soil science course 30 years ago. Too much chemistry and soil lab experiments glazed over my eyes. Now I could appreciate that knowledge.

greatgranny - Weed cloth? I bet the roots would plow right through it If it wanted to in search of moisture, nutrition, or if genetically prone.
I can speak to having corn w/hardware cloth with 1/4' holes. It was hard to pull out stalks. Your Dad's experience is right in line with us using Mel's Mix. Also the stalks can use horizontal support described in the book, due to the soft/wet Mel's mix, in storms. As for pulling the stalks? Very Hard to pull till I wet it down. Day or two later it was easier to pull up, leave to dry and shake the stems free of MMix.
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  walshevak on 6/29/2012, 1:45 pm

So I guess this means those of us with just Tabletops can't grow corn unless we make reeeaaallly deep beds.

Kay

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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  llama momma on 6/29/2012, 1:46 pm

..or have really tall ladders
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Re: Commercial corn - 8 ft. roots??

Post  claudiamedic on 6/29/2012, 5:45 pm

I'll let you know how mine does... I've got a "tabletop" (raised bed) set (2 squares) and 5 sets in 5 gal buckets. The bucketed corn is 2x as tall now but neither has any sign of fruit yet.
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