I have never grown corn before and don't know what to do. A lot of my corn plants are growing a side stalk off of them. What do I do, should I let them grow or do I cut them off?
They are reffered to as suckers. The recommendation use to be to remove them, but now the thought process is it is not worth the time and the plant may actually benifit from them
Yeah, way I see it they're just that much more photosynthesis surfaces to feed the plant with.
Thanx for the replies, I was leaning towards leaving the as I wanted to see what would happen.
Some varieties produce more suckers than others. Looks like you have wide enough spacing to accomodate them.
You'll see tassels any day, sign to fertilize. Since I use a granular organic fertilizer that releases slowly, I pretty much topdress my sweet corn continuously from midseason on.
They just got to knee high the other day and i dug a trench about 6" out and side dressed them with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. If thats wrong what should I be using?
Ten-ten-ten is neither correct or incorrect but corn like Nitrogen so something high in Nitrogen works very well including straight Nitrogen lawn fertilizer.
Just do not go over-board.
For reference in case you don't have it memorized, the X-X-X numbers on fertilizer indicate which nutrients it has and essentially the ratio between them (its actually parts per total weight, but close enough for government work).
The first number is the Nitrogen, second number is Phosphorous, third number is Potassium (NPK).
Like RpR said, corn likes lots of Nitrogen, so you'd ideally want fertilizer with the first number being the highest.
What you used is fine. Probably don't want to go buy anything else to put in on top of it though, as you can over-fertilize.
Side shoots are pretty much only found on older corn varieties and on sweet corn these days. Commercial field corn and most commercial sweet corn is bred to produce a single stalk most of the time.
As stated above, tests have proven that the suckers produce nutrients that feed the plant and can increase ear size and sweetness. This effect is unimportant if the corn has plenty of rainfall, but if there is a drought, having suckers can mean the difference between a good crop and a poor crop.
My thinking is that in normal corn stands, suckers are ok. In more dense stands, removing them will give more light to the legit stalks.