Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Three Cheers For The Yellow Tips

Dave Standeaven sent this picture to me.  It is a common sight in many corn fields and the question is why do some plants have these white and yellow tops? 
The answer is plant growth response to weather conditions.  The last week in May was warm and dry.  The corn plant was all geared up and ready to grow, like a teenager before puberty.  On June 1 we had an all day soaking rain which relieved the moisture stress.  The plant took off.  Then the wind blew hard following the rain on Saturday and Sunday. 
After the weekend on Monday June 4, the plants looked like the ones below.

It was warm and sunny last week and the plants continued to grow fast.  The ones that you see with the yellow tips are the same ones that were rolled up and now they have burst open.  The reason they are yellow is because the sun was not getting to the deveolping leaf tissue hidden by the tight whorl.  Now they are suddenly exposed and it will take only a day or two for these leaves to turn a nice dark green.
It can be hybrid related if the timing of weather coincides with the teenage like hormones raging in the plant.  A slower growing hybrid would not be as prone to do this.  But it is not yield limiting, so there is no worry.  The good news is that the whorl opened.  It the whorl stayed tight and did not let new leaf tissue emerge, then it would be yield limiting.  So, have a drink and give a toast to the yellow tips.

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