Corn is a staple crop that is grown and consumed worldwide. It is an essential ingredient in many dishes and provides a significant source of nutrition. However, one common problem that corn growers face is the turning of the leaves and stalks to brown.
This can be a frustrating issue for farmers and gardeners alike, as it can lead to a decrease in yield and quality of the crop.
Understanding the corn plant and its growth cycle is essential to identify the causes of the browning of the plant. There are several factors that can contribute to this problem, including environmental stress, pests, and diseases.
Prevention and treatment options vary depending on the cause of the issue, but proper care and maintenance of the plant can go a long way in mitigating the problem. In this article, we will explore the causes of corn turning brown and provide some tips on how to prevent and treat this issue.
- Understanding the growth cycle of corn is essential to identify the causes of browning.
- Environmental stress, pests, and diseases can all contribute to the browning of the corn plant.
- Proper care and maintenance of the plant can help prevent and treat the issue.
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Understanding Corn Plant
Corn plant, also known as Dracaena fragrans, is a popular indoor plant that is known for its ornamental value. It is native to tropical Africa and can grow up to 6 feet tall. The plant features long, narrow leaves that are green and yellow-striped and can last for several years.
Corn plant is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal care, making it an ideal choice for beginners. However, like any other plant, it can sometimes develop issues that may affect its health and appearance. One common problem that corn plant owners face is the leaves turning brown.
There are several reasons why corn plant leaves may turn brown. The most common cause is overwatering, which can lead to root rot. When the roots of the plant are waterlogged, they cannot absorb oxygen, which can cause the leaves to turn brown and wilt. It is essential to ensure that the soil is well-draining and that the plant is not sitting in standing water.
Another reason why corn plant leaves may turn brown is due to nutrient deficiencies. A lack of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, can cause the leaves to turn yellow and then brown. It is essential to ensure that the plant is receiving sufficient nutrients by fertilizing it regularly.
In some cases, corn plant leaves may turn brown due to pests or diseases. Pests such as mealybugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites can cause the leaves to turn brown by sucking the sap from the plant’s leaves and stems. It is essential to inspect the plant regularly for signs of pests and to take appropriate measures to control them.
Corn Turning Brown – 3 Common Problems
Corn turning brown can be due to a variety of factors including environmental stress, pests, diseases, and nutrient deficiencies. Here are some of the most common causes of corn turning brown:
- Temperature: High temperatures can cause corn leaves to turn brown and dry out. Cold soil temperatures can also cause stress to the plant, leading to brown leaves.
- Light: Direct sunlight can cause sunburn on corn leaves, which can turn them brown. Inconsistent lighting can also cause stress to the plant.
- Soil: Poor soil quality or inconsistent watering can cause stress to the plant, leading to brown leaves.
- Humidity: High humidity can cause fungal diseases to develop, which can cause brown spots on the leaves.
- Wind: High winds can cause physical damage to the plant, leading to brown leaves.
Pests and Diseases
- Pests: Cutworms, corn borers, corn flea beetles, aphids, and corn earworms can all cause damage to the plant, leading to brown leaves.
- Diseases: Rust, northern corn leaf blight, southern corn leaf blight, maize dwarf mosaic virus, mosaic virus, and corn smut can all cause brown spots or lesions on the leaves.
- Fungi: Ustilago maydis, Puccinia, and Colletotrichum graminicola are all fungi that can cause brown spots or lesions on the leaves.
- Nitrogen: A lack of nitrogen in the soil can cause the leaves to turn yellow and then brown.
- Potassium: A lack of potassium can cause the leaf edges to turn yellow while the interior of the leaf stays green. Older leaves show the symptoms initially, and the leaf edges quickly darken.
- Water: Inconsistent watering or watering with the wrong type of water can cause stress to the plant, leading to brown leaves.
To prevent corn from turning brown, it is important to maintain a healthy growing environment, including consistent watering, proper soil nutrition, and pest management. Planting resistant varieties can also help prevent disease and pest damage.
Prevention and Treatment
Preventing Brown Corn
To prevent corn from turning brown, it is essential to take proper care during the growing season. One way to prevent browning is to maintain a consistent watering schedule. Corn plants require adequate water to thrive, but overwatering can also cause the leaves to turn brown.
It is best to water the plants deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. Using filtered water or rainwater can also help prevent browning.
Another way to prevent browning is to control pests and diseases. Birds and potato beetles, for example, can damage corn leaves and cause them to turn brown. It is best to use row covers or blocks to protect the plants from pests. Rotating the location of the corn planting bed each year can also help prevent the buildup of pests and diseases in the soil.
Treating Brown Corn
If corn has already turned brown, there are several ways to treat the problem. One way is to remove the affected leaf tissue and dispose of it in the compost. This can help prevent the spread of disease to healthy plants.
Another way to treat brown corn is to adjust the watering schedule. If the soil is too dry, the leaves may turn brown. Misting the plants or increasing the relative humidity can also help prevent browning caused by dry air.
Aged compost and bone meal can also be used to treat brown corn. Adding these nutrients to the soil can help improve the plant’s health and prevent further browning. However, it is important to avoid using fresh compost or corn stalks in the compost, as these can harbor diseases that can cause browning.
Corn Diseases and Pests
Common Corn Diseases
Corn is susceptible to a variety of diseases that can cause the plant to turn brown and reduce yield. The most common corn diseases include:
- Northern Corn Leaf Blight: This fungal disease causes cigar-shaped lesions on the leaves, which can eventually cause the plant to turn brown and die. It is most common in cool, wet weather.
- Common Rust: This fungal disease causes rusty brown spots on the leaves and can reduce yield if not controlled.
- Southern Corn Leaf Blight: This fungal disease causes oval lesions on the leaves and can cause the plant to turn brown and die. It is most common in warm, humid weather.
- Corn Smut: This fungal disease causes large, swollen galls on the ears, which can reduce yield and quality.
Pests in Corn Plants
Corn is also susceptible to a variety of pests that can cause damage to both the leaves and ears. The most common corn pests include:
- Corn Earworm: This pest can cause damage to the ears by feeding on the kernels. It can be controlled with insecticides or by planting resistant varieties.
- Corn Borers: These pests can cause damage to the stalks and ears by tunneling through the plant. They can be controlled with insecticides or by planting resistant varieties.
- Cutworms: These pests can cause damage to the seedlings by feeding on the stem at or below the soil line. They can be controlled with insecticides or by using physical barriers such as collars.
- Aphids: These pests can cause damage to the leaves by sucking the sap from the plant. They can be controlled with insecticides or by introducing natural predators such as ladybugs.
- Seed Corn Maggot: This pest can cause damage to the seeds by feeding on the germinating seed. It can be controlled by treating the seeds with insecticides or by planting later in the season.
- Corn Flea Beetle: This pest can cause damage to the leaves by feeding on the surface tissue. It can be controlled with insecticides or by planting resistant varieties.
In addition to these pests, corn can also be susceptible to damage from nitrogen deficiencies, fungi, and viruses such as Dwarf Mosaic Virus and Mosaic Virus. To prevent or control these issues, it is important to monitor the plants regularly and take appropriate action when necessary.
Factors Affecting Corn Growth
Corn is a versatile crop that can be grown in a variety of environments. However, several factors can affect its growth, including environmental, soil, and water factors.
Environmental factors such as temperature, light, and high winds can affect the growth of corn. Corn requires warm temperatures to grow, with the ideal temperature range being between 60°F and 95°F. Temperatures below 50°F can stunt corn growth, while temperatures above 95°F can cause heat stress and reduce yield.
Light is also essential for corn growth, as it is used in the process of photosynthesis. Corn requires at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to grow properly. High winds can damage corn by breaking the stalks or causing lodging, which can reduce yield.
Soil and Water Factors
Soil and water factors are also essential to corn growth. The type of soil and its moisture content can significantly affect corn growth. Corn grows best in well-drained soils with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Cold soil can delay corn growth, and soil that is too wet can cause crusting, making it difficult for the corn to emerge.
Water is also essential for corn growth, and the type of water used can affect its growth. Tap water can contain chlorine, which can harm corn growth. Rainwater and filtered water are better options for watering corn.
Overwatering can also cause problems, as corn requires well-drained soil. Misting and drafts can also affect corn growth, as they can cause stress and sunburn.
Relative humidity can also affect corn growth, with high humidity levels increasing the risk of disease and low humidity levels causing stress. Proper watering schedules are essential to corn growth, with corn requiring one to two inches of water per week during the growing season.
Corn Harvest and Yield
When it comes to harvesting corn, timing is everything. The ideal time to harvest corn is when the kernels are fully matured and the husks have turned brown. This usually occurs between 60 and 100 days after planting, depending on the variety of corn and the growing conditions.
Harvesting corn involves removing the ears from the stalks. Farmers typically use a mechanical harvester to do this, which cuts the stalks and removes the ears. The ears are then transported to a storage facility where they are dried and stored until they can be sold.
The yield of corn per acre can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the variety of corn, the growing conditions, and the farming practices used. On average, farmers can expect to harvest between 150 and 200 bushels of corn per acre. However, some farmers have reported yields of up to 300 bushels per acre.
Corn stalks can also be used for a variety of purposes after the corn has been harvested. Some farmers use the stalks as feed for their livestock, while others use them for fuel or as a source of fiber. Additionally, the leftover corn cobs can be used for fuel or as a base material for biodegradable plastics.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are my sweet corn leaves turning brown and yellow?
Sweet corn leaves can turn brown and yellow for various reasons, including fungal diseases, insect infestations, nutrient deficiencies, and environmental stress. Fungal diseases like gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight can cause brown and yellow spots on the leaves.
Insect infestations like corn borers and corn earworms can cause the leaves to turn brown and wilt. Nutrient deficiencies like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium can cause the leaves to turn yellow and brown.
Environmental stressors like drought, heat, and excessive sunlight can also cause the leaves to turn brown and yellow.
Why did my corn turn black?
Corn turning black is a sign of a fungal disease called corn smut. Corn smut is a common disease that affects corn plants, especially during warm and humid weather conditions.
The disease causes black, swollen, and distorted galls or tumors on the ears, tassels, and stalks of the corn plant. While corn smut is not harmful to humans, it can reduce the yield and quality of the corn crop.
Corn leaves turning yellow?
Corn leaves turning yellow is a common symptom of nutrient deficiencies, especially nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for corn plants, and its deficiency can cause the leaves to turn yellow and stunt the growth of the plant.
Other nutrient deficiencies like phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium can also cause yellowing of the leaves. Environmental stressors like drought, heat, and excessive sunlight can also cause yellowing of the leaves.
Why is my corn turning brown?
Corn turning brown is a sign of various issues, including fungal diseases, insect infestations, nutrient deficiencies, and environmental stress. Fungal diseases like southern rust and common rust can cause brown spots on the leaves and reduce the yield of the corn crop.
Insect infestations like corn rootworms and spider mites can cause the leaves to turn brown and wilt. Nutrient deficiencies like nitrogen and potassium can cause the leaves to turn brown and stunt the growth of the plant.
Environmental stressors like drought, heat, and excessive sunlight can also cause the leaves to turn brown.
Is it normal for corn on the cob to turn brown?
Corn on the cob can turn brown due to various reasons, including being overcooked or stored at high temperatures. Overcooking the corn can cause the kernels to dry out and turn brown.
Storing the corn at high temperatures can cause the kernels to deteriorate and turn brown. However, if the corn on the cob is fresh and stored properly, it should not turn brown.
How can you tell when corn goes bad?
Corn can go bad if it is not stored properly or left for too long. Signs of bad corn include mold, discoloration, sliminess, and a sour or musty smell. If the corn has mold or discoloration, it should not be eaten.
If the corn feels slimy or has a sour or musty smell, it should be discarded. It is recommended to store corn in the refrigerator and consume it within 3-5 days for optimal freshness.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below