I have about 12 to 15 corn plants in my garden and it keeps breaking off about 6" - 12" from the ground and falling over. Some Google search indicates that it is not getting enough water. I also have a lot of chipmunks in my yard, so it could be either of those. So my questions are:

  1. Do corn plants tend to break if not watered enough? Is there any merit to this claim?
  2. If it is the chipmunks, could I get some suggestions on repelling them from the garden? I recently put up a fence all around to keep the rabbits away, but the gap between the fence wire isn't small enough to keep the chipmunks out. This question suggests an owl in the garden, but is there any other suggestion to keep them away? Like some sort of pepper spray on the fence wire or something more active.
  3. Would tying them to a stick and standing them back up actually help them grow again? Or should I just pull them out and resolve my root cause of the issue first, and then replant them?
  • If your life doesn't depend on the corn, I'd suggest not using pepper spray or any other chemicals that could harm the wildlife. Could you provide pictures of your crops so we can have a better reference? Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 16:45
  • Here in the UK I lost sixteen or so block-planted sweetcorn plants last year when they were blown over by an unseasonal summer gale. To add insult to injury, the cobs were then eaten by either rats or foxes (no chipmunks, unfortunately, in the UK). With hindsight I should have (a) planted them a little further apart so they developed a stronger root system, and (b) wrapped them in some kind of protective mesh to help them stay upright and deter munching mammals.
    – Peter4075
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 17:05
  • @Droseracapensis I will upload some pictures later today for better understanding my garden. I'd rather not use chemicals that hurt the chipmunks, I didn't know the pepper spray could hurt the chipmunks; I thought they just smell it and stay away. Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 18:58
  • @Peter4075 I also committed the mistake of planting them too close to each other and now I am paying for it! Would I be able to move them now, as full grown plants? Some of these are 4-5 feet tall. Also, PLEASE help me with the protective mesh! I would love to wrap my corn in something like that. Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 19:00
  • I would have used something like "Plastic Mesh Barrier Safety Fencing", as shown here: gardenersdream.co.uk/… . I believe this was "donated" from a local building site. But any garden mesh or net strong enough to stop the plants blowing over would be OK. Or even some strong twine/rope tied to posts at the corners of the bed. Personally, I wouldn't try to move 4-5 feet tall sweetcorn; I would have thought they'd be too well established to move successfully.
    – Peter4075
    Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


I would say it is just wind and a limited number of plants. I used to grow about 4 short rows of corn in a very open location , I used very little ,if any ,water and never had any fall over. Rabbits moved freely in the garden.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer, that is reassuring. Would you be able to help me with some sort of support system that could provide added support to the plants? I don't want to just get simple trellis sticks and tie them to the plants. Something that is erect, wraps around the plant, and can be dug into the ground so it is firm and holds the plant in place? Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 19:03
  • maybe some fencing, then affix the fencing to posts: have the fence close enough to provide support, yet be around several cornplants at once, depending on spacing, and to allow them enough room. If its chipmunks, should be able to see chewing marks. Can augment the fencing with horizontal strings placed at diagonals, maybe being careful to avoid chafing when the cornplants naturally move with the wind, which helps for sturdiness & ear production
    – M H
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 17:58

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