Big Corn Concepts: Planting Early

deformed mesocotyl elongationWere you planning to plant your corn early? Here are some factors to consider before you get too excited:

  1. Soil temperature- Corn will not germinate if the soil temperature is below 50° F. The soil temperature at a 2-inch depth should be at least 50°F with the temperature warming in the 5-7 day forecast. Even in the 50’s growth will be extremely slow. Prolonged exposure to low temperatures will increase sensitivity to some herbicides and show signs of nutrient deficiencies due to the slow metabolism of the plant. If temperatures fall below 25°F it can damage the emerging plant possibly causing death.
  2. Avoid planting before temperature swings- If the average soil temperature is above the 50°F the temperature range could still swing enough to cause damage to the plants causing uneven germination and stands. If the temperature swings more than 25°F mesocotyl growth will suffer.
  3. Rain free period- When a dry seed imbibes cold water (typically 50° F or below), imbibitional chilling injury may result . Cold water can also cause cell walls in the germinating seed to rupture. Ruptured cells can have negative effects on developing seedlings and can also attract disease pathogens and insects.

Be sure to stay tuned for our local soil temp updates beginning next week. We will be the first to let you know when that ground is above 50 degrees!

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