I planted six corn seedlings from the nursery in late June. They all sent up tassels just last week even though they are less than 3 feet in height. I think I may have been underwatering them, which may have caused the problem.

Will my corn still grow and produce ears? The stalks look awfully thin to me, so I'm wondering if I should just stop watering them and let them die.

1 Answer 1


Corn varieties grow to different heights. You didn't mention what variety yours is, but a lot of sweet corn cultivars only grow 4-5 feet tall, while field or dent corn may be 9 feet tall for some cultivars. So it may be normal or only slightly below average, depending what the cultivar is.

With only 6 plants, you may have poor pollination - it's normally suggested to grow corn in 4x4 plant "blocks" (at a minimum) because it's wind pollinated, so if it's a single row the ears may have lots of missing kernels. If it's six plants in a group (such as a traditional hill) they may do better.

  • That all makes sense. I guess because of late planting, stunted growth, and poor pollination I should not expect to be eating any real corn this year. Any thing I can do to help the pollination?
    – Daanii
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 17:09
  • 1
    You can certainly hand-pollinate corn to help with yields. When the the tassels ripen and start shedding pollen, (and you should have silks from the ears at that point) snap one off and "dust" all the silks for 4-7 days in a row.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 20:56
  • OK, that's a bit unclear as written. Snap a new one off each day to do that. And/or look up "hand pollinating corn."
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 1:59
  • I think I may have been too skimpy with the fertilizer too. I read that corns needs nitrogen, and I didn't give it much.
    – Daanii
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 17:08

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