PPDL Picture of the Week for
August 1, 2011

Flattened Corn Can "Recover"

Robert (Bob) Nielsen, Ph.D., Professor of Agronomy, Purdue University

Storm with strong winds can flatten corn fields. In contrast to stalk breakage, these flattened fields are the result of corn stalks being partially uprooted by strong winds and literally laid flat to the ground. Thus, the technical term for such flattening is "root lodging", not "stalk lodging".

There is an opportunity for such damaged fields to partially recover depending on the growth stage at which the damage occurred and the degree of root damage. Generally speaking, the younger the growth stage, the greater the opportunity for partial or perhaps even full recovery from such root lodging. The severity of root damage also influences the degree of recovery from root lodging.

Late-planted fields that are 1 to 2 weeks away from tasseling have the capacity to respond to the flattening because their stalks are still elongating. The upper stalks of these nearly horizontal plants will bend or "goose-neck" as stalk elongation continues. With time, damaged fields may appear to have fully straightened up when in fact the lower stalks are still leaning severely. However, the good news with this type of "recovery" is that later-occurring pollination may be fairly successful if both tassels and silked ears are "lifted up" by the "goose-necking" of the elongating stalks.

For more information the ability of flattened fields to "recover" see my two articles: http://www.kingcorn.org/news/articles.11/FlatCorn-0726.html and http://www.kingcorn.org/news/articles.11/FlatCorn-0728.html.


Click image to enlarge

Fig. 1 Severly root-damaged corn due to wind

Fig. 1. Severly root-damaged corn due to wind. 

Fig. 2 Close-up of damaged corn due to wind

Fig. 2. Close-up of damaged corn due to wind. 

Fig 3. Root-Lodged corn

Fig. 3. Root-lodged corn with range of severity for root damage. 

Fig 4. Recovery from lodging 6 days after damage

Fig. 4. "Recovery" from root lodging 6 days after the damage occurred. 

Fig 5. Six days after damage

Fig. 5. Six days after damage. 

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service