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Identifying corn seedlings

 
Posts: 23
Location: Wisconsin
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I've been having rotten luck growing corn. I probably planted 25 or so seeds this summer, and only one sprout came up that I am positive is corn. The rain in the area has encouraged a great deal of weeds to grow. I yank out the ones with broad leaves, but there are a lot of grass-like sprouts that are very difficult to differentiate from corn seedlings. I think it's too late to plant more corn, but I'd like to try and save what I have.

Is there a way to tell corn seedlings from similar looking weeds? How do you deal with weeds where you've planted corn?
 
steward
Posts: 4776
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I love planting in straight rows, and at consistent distances. That way, if one seedling has emerged, I can know where to expect the next one based on the geometry. That sure makes it easier to differentiate from the look-alikes, or to know where to start looking for a seedling lost in the weeds. Or, I can run my hoe along the row, and leave a few inches along either side of where I'm expecting the seedlings. If the seedlings are planted at a set distance, just wider than my weeding hoe, then I can swipe perpendicular through the row, and be confident about where the seedlings are not.

I would expect sweet corn planted tomorrow to be ready to harvest the last week of August. I'm intending to plant one more patch of sweet corn this summer.

I have a corn-mimic grass in my fields. I figure that my family have been growing corn for 155 years in the same fields, and weeding by hand all that time, so we have selected for a grass that is a doppelganger for young corn plants. No worries here, the corn quickly outgrows the grass.

At my place, corn germinates quick and strong. There are few weeds that can outgrow them in the early weeks. So my corn weeding strategy is to weed once when the plants are about an inch tall, and weed a second time when they are about 4 inches tall. Then I don't weed the corn again. By the time they are that big, they can out-grow anything else at my farm. Well, the sunroots might outcompete, so I might do a third weeding to chop out only sunroots. But it's easier to just not plant anything in the part of the fields that have been abandoned to sunroots.
beans-hoe.jpg
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Beans, precision planted, just wider than hoe width.
 
pollinator
Posts: 617
Location: Denmark 57N
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For me none of the grasses are as big or thick as corn, even newly sprouted, but I transplant my corn anyway as it's very marginal to grow it here.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
Posts: 4776
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Here's two plants: Corn, and my corn mimic grass. Can you tell them apart?
corn-mimic.jpg
[Thumbnail for corn-mimic.jpg]
Corn (right) and a corn mimic
 
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