Floppy Sweet Corn

Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist; gcjohn@udel.edu

We have had reports of sweet corn that is leaning over. This is often called “floppy corn”. This is a growth problem that occurs in young sweet corn under certain weather conditions. This condition is generally observed in plants from about the V3 (three leaf collar stage) to the V8 stage of development. The problem often becomes evident when corn is subjected to strong winds. Floppy corn occurs during a period of high temperatures and high light when excessive corn vegetative growth gets ahead of the root system supporting the plant.

Weather-related conditions and various environmental factors that limit the development of the nodal roots can also lead to floppy corn. These include shallow plantings, hot, dry surface soils, compacted soils, and loose or cloddy soil conditions. Excessive rainfall and shallow plantings may cause erosion and soil removal around the crown region that can result in rootless corn that flops.

In most cases floppy corn will straighten up within a few days. Overhead irrigation can help the recovery process.

Much of this information was adapted from this Ohio State newsletter article https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/201918/your-corn-leaning

Floppy corn

Floppy corn