Corn Height Question

dilbert(z5 IL)August 12, 2006

My sweet corn is always shorter than advertised. I never could get a handle on it. Other than genetics, what is the main variable controlling height? In my trials, it doesn't seem to be the amount N fertilizer or amount of sunlight.

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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

corn has a pretty extensive root system. Try digging a few rows deeper than others in the spring and see if that makes a difference. Soil not well-turned can definitely stunt growth.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 12:52PM
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dilbert(z5 IL)

At what stage of growth is the total number of leaves on a corn stalk determined? It would be nice to control height via that, but, it seems to be determined before the seeds germinate.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 4:19PM
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dilbert(z5 IL)

I did a Google search and found this:

According to this, the total number of leaves is determined at the V3-V5 stage and cold soil temperatures increases the total number of leaves.

It is well known that cold soil temperatures reduces phosphate uptake. My theory is that high phosphate uptake at the V3-V5 stage is responsible for my short corn. What I have been doing wrong is fertilizing with Miracle grow 15-30-15 at the V3-V5 stage. Instead, I should be fertilizing with just N & K or even applying P agonists. Next year, I will test my theory.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 5:23PM
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sandbagger(Eastcoastzone7) more leaves at v3-v5 stage = taller corn?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 11:05AM
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v3-v5 mean three leaves stage to five leaves stage, I believe.

Where does it say the total numbers of leaves is determined at the v3-v5 stage? My understanding, after reading just the one paragraph, is that during v3-v5, cold soil temperatures can:

increase the time between leaf stages
increase the total number of leaves formed
delay tassel formation
reduce nutrient availability

So yes, if you have cold soil temperatures there will be more leaves, but I doubt cold soil termperatures would give you tall plants for many reasons.

In trying to grow tall sunflower and tall corns I think that ferts help very little. I didn't use any ferts this season.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 4:27AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I say dig the soil a little deeper (a lot?) and see what happens. Few years ago i was growing some giant sunflowers in a spot that wasn't well prepared (didn't break up the soil at all). Those sunflowers never did get very tall vs my others that reach giant heights.....You could atleast test the theory???

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 1:18PM
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dilbert(z5 IL)

" more leaves at v3-v5 stage = taller corn?"

No, the number of leaves at the v3-v5 stage is set by definition to be 3 to 5. The total number of leaves at maturity is determined at the v3-v5 stage. Assuming constant spacing between leaf nodes on the stem, this translates to taller corn.

"I doubt cold soil termperatures would give you tall plants for many reasons."

Why not, if the soil is warm after the v5 stage? In fact, I am proposing intentionally using a phosphorus deficiency at the v3-v5 stage. That does not mean I shouldn't or won't correct it after the v5 stage.

"I say dig the soil a little deeper (a lot?) and see what happens."

I always till the depth of the top soil and have top soil over 1' deep. Do you want me to dig into the clay sublayer?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 1:33PM
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mrwatson(z6 KY)

Just a thought but Corn is an extremely heavy Nitrogen user. When looking at N fertilizer trials it is always easy to tell the low or no N plots as they are shorter and generally a lighter green. I'd pay close attention to the rate of nitrogen I'm applying.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 10:10AM
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try google news archive search you will find a variety that is good for 20ft and above.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 11:36PM
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What search keywords did you use for the 20' variety? Thanks.

PH level makes nutrients available and unavailable too. Checking that might help. But yeah to groomed soil - that should be the answer.

Re leaf initiation and phosphorous:

Regarding the article showing cool soil temps = more leaves in the matter of maize height is very oblique or convoluting. A true investigation of primary (i.e. not secondary) scientific literature would remove the issue of soil temperature and focus on the basic, natural maize growth environment. The literature incontravertibly shows more leaves with higher temperatures. This effect will only mean a couple of leaves in normal-size maize, however many many leaves in the tallest maize. As per phosphorous, a quite cyber-accessible recent publication by mexican scientists shows, among other topics, that phosphorous deprivation can cause something like a 30% decrease in leaf number in leafy(read: tall) maize. Whereas nitrogen does not affect leaf number, only (my cursory recollection) regulating growth rate (just as water and temperature does). And potassium likewise did not affect leaf number.

And I am not sure that it has been made clear in this column that "v" = leaf collar, i.e. "ligule". It does not mean "visible leaves", but visible (protruded) leaf collar. Commercial, Cornbelt, maize is sensitive at this stage, and sensitivity for material of this height is quite moot when the interest is the matter of height. What this entirely means, is that if you are working with a commercial temperate variety, then contemplating the "V" stage - height - is wacky. The temperature sensitivity window for commercial temperate-size (8') maize is small (a couple of days). It is small and any influence that you could wage on it would not be very consequential when you are talking about small maize. Influencing this stage in small (normal-height) maize can only mean a couple of leaves, tops. The temperature-sensitivity stage for maize rationally would only be relevant when working with extremely tall maize, where influencing this stage would mean tons of leaves which directly = tons of height.

Nitrogen makes maize taller premierely by lengthening internodes, just as abundant water and high-density plantings do.

No need for theories. They have long-ago been made and tested in the maize theater.

The tallest maize is sensitive up to when the whorls are standing ten-feet high.

More leaves with higher temperatures has to do with photosynthetic rate and that of most maize physiological reactions. More heat, daylength, water, P, nutrients, and root mass = faster growth = more leaves initiated before the sensitivity window is closed by differentiation of the apical meristem into a tassel. Heat is the limo which will take the plant to optimal height. But water is the wheels for the limo. Temperature over 30 C is vain or detrimental to leaf induction rate (phylochron [sp]) with disproportionately insufficient additional water. 104 F is as high as it should ever go, 96 F has been a safely visited, and fecund, ceiling in scientific studies.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 10:55PM
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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

I grow giant corn, and if you are looking for a variety that you can get plants over 20 ft. tall is Jala Valley Landrace Maize. Jala also boast some of the largest ears in the world.

Here are some of my pics. I'm 6'3" to give you an idea of the plants.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 1:47AM
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Is the fourth photo down of Jala?

What is a landrace? What is the difference between race and landrace? Do you have a citation for the coining of the word? What's your rationalization for employing this term?

What datas do you use for the claim about Jala ears?

Which Jala Valley landrace are you referring to? Is it the DeKalb? When is it sown there? How much of the land in the valley is under cultivation to this landrace? What is the planting density there? From what racial complex is it? What is its field height there? Are there any altitude-induced discrepancies in its plant height?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 1:55AM
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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

The fourth picture, there is some question whether it's Jala or not. That row was seed given to me by someone in upstate NY. At first, I thought it was from the seed given to me, but I found notes taken during the year where I had lost some plants in the row, and transplanted
NSL 2834 instead, but my records didn't indicate the exact positions. It may be another type of corn, but I'm still a bit sketchy on what he exactly gave me. There is a possibility that it may be NSL 2834; so I included the picture.

This is a good question. Maybe someone else has a better understanding of this than I do. My understanding is landrace a plant suited for high yield in a local area, and where little human breeding has taken place.

The person I get my seeds from is probably the most knowlegeable on this subject

Dekalb? The seed co.? Wasn't aware they cultivated Jala maize.

Jala is found in the Jala valley of the southern Nayarit state in western Mexico. It's found an altitude of about 1,000 meters.

From my readings, it said the parentage is Comeitico and Tabloncillo.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 1:59PM
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- a past post made too quickly,

It might be more accurate to say tertiary, not secondary literature.

Temperature affects yield, that is why commercial maize literature visited the topic of the v3-v5 stage.

Maize yield is affected by plant height, which is affected by temperature. So temperature, groomed soil, pH, would seem to be most relevant for consideration in shorter-than-advertized sweet corn.

Temperature might fix (commercial) "sweet corn" height. The fix will be no more than a few feet - to the height that it is supposed to be, or maybe even a teeny bit taller. Sorry for perhaps being off-question, onto tall maize insted of full-height sweet corn - if this is the case. I might have been thrown-off by the Google news archive 20ft variety offering.

One more thing is the slip of including planting density with nitrogen and H20 in the assertion that prodigious amounts of these components make maize plants taller by making internodes longer; the assertion should not include planting density.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 2:10PM
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Another part was wrong too: it wasn't 32% decrease in leaf number, but phyllochron - still, which entirely affects leaf number. And though tropical, it was commercial maize which, grown commercially, wouldn't be any much leafier or taller than temperate commercial maize.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 5:50PM
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The plant in the fourth photo has twice as many leaves per unit of height as the Jala plants in all the other photos. The plant, leaf and stalk, architecture is fully different too. Are the Comiteco readings at the two URL's?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 10:32AM
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giant, tallest and Jala, maize corn seed @

Here is a link that might be useful: giant crops seed

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 8:16PM
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- the source of the huge plant in Brian's photos.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 7:19AM
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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

That statement above is not a 100% correct. The 2005 pictures, Linus is the seed source. With the exception of one picture from 2006, all those Jala plants from 2006 were from a new and different seed source. In fact, they averaged about 2 ft. taller than the material received from Linu5. They also seem less susceptible to corn smut.

Anyone interested in some giant Jala corn from me then go on ebay and check out my weekly listings (sunflower_info).
Just do a search on giant maize or giant sunflower and you'll find my listings. If anyone wins a bid on ebay from gardenweb, just let me know you read this one gardenweb and I'll double your seed count for being a gardenweb member.

For anyone in Germany or the rest of Europe, you can get Jala from me through and through the from my friend's shop - Schorims Tropenwdchen. You can just do a search for "riesen mais" or to search for giant sunflowers "riesen sonnenblume"

You can also find Jala from me through P&P World Record Seeds, along with many of my giant sunflower varieties and other giant vegetables.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 5:36PM
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The statement intrinsically cannot be correct or incorrect. The issue could entail a hesitation which could come in identifying the plant which is "huge". The tallest plant in the photos is shown in a broadside shot, being exclusively leafy (as mentioned above), 20' in height, and has no tassel. The new seed source is the USDA, at:

This accession is temporarily unavailable since Brian ordered it; however, Jal 44 is available here:

And 4 decent ones are available here:

The 2834 most-likely was the USDA's composite of the oldest available collections which occurred just before some possible contamination, about which information was given on this site by a person who did not site the source, which would have legitimized his claim and made reading the claim more worth one's time, and would have given basic respect to the author, as is the professional custom, which is based on a fundamental understanding of how the fabric of a fair society is sustained.

Since Brian basely sabotaged my interest in disseminating seed to individuals via the link that I posted, (diving to serious professional and personal libel, attacks, and threats by boorish acquaintances - disclosures of stalking my previous address and-all - due to anger in response to the questions that I asked him through the internet) he preserved his desire to be the lone salesman of a shorter maize on the internet. The tallest maize which the USDA has to offer can be found and ordered from the list:

It is substantially taller than Jala. And if you want tall Jala (Brian said he was out, just before traducing me, but if he isn't, then his seed may have a few tall segregates because the oldest Jala accessions might be taller due to the contamination in the late 40's, and 2834 probably is of these earliest collections) then order the earliest accessions. I cannot find the identity of the Jala which I sent Brian; however, 2834 was taller and less diseased that that which I had sent him because most likely it was not a composite and it also was the mature seed that I had at the time, the taller plants only having immature seed.

The banks were not rigged for supplying the seed to soliciting parties every year, like a catalog or store; the accession should only be requested once and you have to increase the seed yourself thereafter. So good luck in preserving future access to the bank. The tallest maize requires three weeks of 14 hour completely uninterrupted long nights to make seed, and heterosis is negative for photoperiodicity,thus, could ruin height.

It's all yours Brian! Good-luck if hell exists!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 1:00PM
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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

That's right! 2834 was the real deal, and I've got plenty of it. If you did your homework, maybe you would have the seed instead of me.

I obtained Montana material over a month ago, but thanks for the info. You confirmed my suspicions.

Send me your new home address and I'll priority mail you a framed picture of me holding the my Guinness World Record Award when I break the corn record. I'll even do you one better and personally sign it for you: "Thanks for your help, but Ins'not your record - Brian"

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 1:20AM
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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

For the record, that is rubbish that I did anything to sabatoge your interest in selling corn. I have zero knowledge of any threats or stalking by any of my "boorish acquaintances."

However, let's take a look at this letter sent by a customer of Linu5 on
I'm gonna grow some 15ft plus sunflowers and corn this year just for you Ins so you can sell some proper seed on ebay,hey you can even use my pics! NOT!!
why list giant corn seed on ebay and then the second i bid on them you end the listing? is it because you don't know what you are talking about and that you are fake?
I think you should stick to the circus you clown!
3/31/2007 4:24:04 AM

Wow! Sounds more like you went out of business because of a poor business model rather than any supposed threats by my boorish acquaintances. You are NOT suppose to end listings when bidders already have bids placed on them. Look kid, the giant vegetable business is a tough place. It's not for lightweights. Hey, you struck out on your own and it didn't work out for you, but an A for effort. I'm sure you could email Ray, and he might offer you a deal for your corn and sell it for you on P&P seeds. No shame in working for someone else. We can't all have our own giant vegetable business.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 3:04AM
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My understanding is that the corn stalk will have determined its height by the time the plant has reached 10 feet.
The v3 v5 stage is the most important time to get a healthy strong growing plant.

I have learn alot from linu5

The tallest corn stalk that I have grow is 28 feet 9 5/8 inches.It was measured at the Royal Winter fair in 1997.

I beleive that there are only two taller.

The world record 31 feet 5/8 inches and Jason Karls 28 feet 11 inches that was measured at the Royal Winter fair in 1999.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 8:09PM
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Do you have any corn seeds available from your 28 foot variety for sale or trade?

thanks so much


    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 10:56PM
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