Waking up to find that your cornfield has blown down in a storm can be a devastating feeling. All your hard work, fertilizing, tending, and caring for your corn is all for nothing. But, this may not be the case. Corn is a resilient plant and there are ways to help the corn stand up again and recover.
Corn blown down by the wind can be recovered most of the time. Young corn may become upright by itself, while older plants need some extra soil and even stalks for support. This is quite feasible if you grow corn in small quantities for yourself.
How badly has my corn been blown over by the wind?
Take a walk through your cornfield and assess the damage. Sometimes it looks worse than it is.
If your corn stalks are mildly bent and are not broken or cracked, there is a very good chance that they will recover on their own.Learn how to raise your own quail and have an unlimited supply of eggs and meat.
Corn is very resilient, and the stalks can upright themselves within a week. This will happen more easily if the corn plants are light and still have to tassel. You will require some self-control to wait to see if the corn is going to recover on its own. Most people want to rush out and do something, not just sit back and wait. But give it a few days and then reassess.
If your corn is bending at more than 45 degrees, you will probably have to help them stand upright. One method is to mound extra soil around the base. Heavier corn stalks that have been flattened will probably need staking to help them recover.
When younger corn plants blow down, the roots can often be pulled partially out of the ground. This is known as root lodging. Many farming surveys report that root-lodged plants do generate new roots, recover, and stand upright again after a few days (source).
Let’s look closer at how to mound and how to stake.
Mounding soil to help corn stand up
Mounding soil is a great way to help corn stand up. This can be a time-consuming and physically taxing task. Try to get help from family or friends.
If your ground is soft and raised, you should be able to gather enough dirt to mound up around the base of each stalk.
If your ground is hard and compact, it may be difficult to scrape up enough loose soil. In this case, you may have to bring in additional soil to use.
Use a flat hoe and scrape together a pile of dirt a few inches high. Lift the corn stalk until it stands upright. This is where a second pair of hands will be a great help. Now stack the soil around the base of the stem on the side that needs support. Stamp down the soil to remove air pockets. Repeat this process individually for each corn plant.
Staking your corn to help it stand up
Staking corn plants with bamboo stakes is another way to get your corn to stand up again. Bamboo is a natural and sustainable product and won’t leach harmful chemicals into your soil.
You can use thin bamboo stakes that are 2 to 3 feet long (you can buy a bunch of them for pretty cheap on Amazon). Push a stake into the ground near to the stalk. Try to get it 6 to 7 inches deep for it to be secure against strong wings. If your ground is hard, you may have to loosen it with a fork before pushing in the stake.
Raise up the corn stalk until it stands parallel to the stake. Use twine or Velcro gardening tape and tie the stalk to the stake about 6 inches above the ground (these also cost very little and can be ordered from Amazon).
You can make a second tie about 12 inches above that if your corn is tall. Don’t tie them too tightly as the stem will need space to expand as it grows. Ensure that you have at least a finger space or more between the stake and the stalk. Piling up a mound of dirt at the base of the stalk will also add extra stability.
Perhaps you don’t need to worry – is the corn ready to harvest?
If your corn is very near to maturity and ready to be harvested, you can probably leave them bent over until after the harvest. This will save you a lot of effort as the corn will be pulled down anyway after harvesting. Check that the corn ears are not lying in damp soil. If they are, you should lift them up to prevent them from becoming wet and rotting. If not, leave them as is until you are ready to harvest.
Corn that has not yet been fertilized must be helped to stand upright again. The process of fertilization relies on pollen falling from the male tassels at the top down onto the silks on the top of the female cobs. If your plant is lying at an angle, the pollen will not fall onto the silks, and your corn will not be pollinated.
Use stakes and twine to prevent corn from falling down
Sometimes it is better to take precautions rather than wait until the damage is done. Many small farmers prevent their corn from blowing over by securing their corn plots with stakes and twine.
Install a strong bamboo or wooden stake at the start and end of each of your corn rows. If your corn rows are very long, you may want to add an extra stake in the middle.
Using a ball of twine, wrap it securely around the stake, about 1 to 2 feet above the ground. Now stretch the twine along the row to the opposite stake and secure it. Do this for each row.
As your corn grows taller, you can add another layer of twine, 1 to 2 feet above the existing one. Corn can grow as high as 6 feet, so you may have to do this 2 to 3 times in a season.
Strong winds will cause the corn to bend, but the structure will go a long way to preventing the crop from totally falling over.
Don’t panic if you see that your corn has blown over. It will often recover on its own. After a few days, you will be amazed to see that they are all standing upright again. If your corn needs help, you can mound dirt at the base of the stalks. You can also attach each stalk to a bamboo stake.
Prevention is always better than cure. Protect your corn by erecting a structure of stakes and twine to help them withstand strong winds.