Are you thinking of growing a corn field but do not know the right way to take care of it? Growing corn is not much of a hassle if you just follow some simple tips. If this is your first time growing corn, then you might need some expert help. Within a few days, you will be able to take care of your corn yield like an expert.
You need to understand the soil fertility and the requirements of the growth. However, apart from these, the most important thing you need to find is the right fertilizer. Not every fertilizer will be suitable for your corn field. You need to choose one that can enhance the growth of your corn.
The article below contains four of the best fertilizer that can be used for corn. These fertilizers are organic and contain no chemical properties. The right fertilizer will boost the growth and ensure that the corns grow healthy. Proper measurement and the way to apply the fertilizer are also very important.
Here you will find the features of the best fertilizer for corn and their pros and cons. This ensures that you have a detailed knowledge of what you can use and how it will affect your corn’s growth.
Potential of Corn Yield
Knowing about corn yield potential helps you in formulating a harvest plan. There are many different ways of estimating this corn yield based on the time you plan to harvest in the growing season. Your crop will play a huge role in the estimation process. You need to take out random corn samples to ensure that the corn yield estimation is done correctly.
One sample can be chosen from every 15 acres unless there are variable circumstances. If the field is non-uniform, you need to gather more samples to estimate the estimation.
Two of the ways using which the corn yield potential can be estimated are the corn yield component and corn ear weight. These methods can produce the yield estimate within about 20 bu/acre of the actual yield. Any of the methods can be used to measure the potential of corn yield.
Understanding Soil Fertility for Corn Growth
Soil fertility is an essential part of plant growth. If the soil is not fertile, then your plant will not grow the way you want, no matter what you do. Soil can be called fertile if the necessary nutrients are present in it. The three key nutrients that you need to see are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K).
If you have land where the soil lacks certain nutrients, you need to prepare the soil before harvesting. There are other nutrients such as sulfur and zinc that are also necessary for fertile soil. Deficiency in any of these nutrients will not be good for the soil. However, you need to ensure that these nutrients should be present in the right amount.
Corn can grow best in a loamy soil. Along with these nutrients, there should be beneficial organisms present in the soil. The ideal soil would be about six feet deep for corn growth, along with a loose and medium texture. The capacity for holding water should be good, including good drainage properties.
The soil should be able to provide the necessary nutrients to your crop. Fertile soil for corn is that where there are equal parts of water and air in addition to organic matter. The air would be beneficial for the roots, while the water would enhance the plant growth. Humus or organic matter will be a storehouse for nutrients and hold the water.
This gives the soil the necessary texture and reduces the risk of erosion. It also detoxifies the soil and protects the crop from pests and diseases. Other necessary elements are oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen that form carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins, fats, and other products. This can be achieved through photosynthesis. All of this can help in making the soil fertile for the growth of corn.
How to Fertilize Sweet Corn for Optimum Growth
Sweet corn needs soil, whose pH level is between the range of 5.8 and 6.5. The pH level of the soil can be determined through strips for soil testing. This will be a great help in choosing the right kind of fertilizer for your sweet corn field. Since sweet corn takes up a high quantity of nutrients, you need to use fertilizers to provide the same.
The fertilizer should be rich in nutrients so that the soil does not get depleted. If the crop cannot get nutrients from fertilizer, it will absorb whatever they find within the soil. This can affect the soil’s quality and create an impact on the growth of the crop.
Identifying the Needs of Your Corn Yield
When you plant your corn, you need to take care of the yield. Whether it is the fertilization process or the growth process, many things can impact your corn growth. Without understanding your corn yield’s needs, you will not be able to grow a healthy plant.
Below are a few things that you need to pay attention to for a good yield. These include knowing the different growth stages and choosing fertilizers. It also consists of the tips that you need to follow before you start your planting process and what to do when sprouts start to grow.
How To Fertilize Based On Corn Growth Stages?
There are four main growth stages in corn crops, where different play important roles. Understanding the fertilization needs of each of these stages will give you an idea of what nutrients to offer and in which way.
Soil – Drilling
- Nitrogen for early growth
- Phosphorous and zinc to shoot growth and maximize the development of roots
- Calcium for improvising the root growth and make the plant string through cell strength enhancement
Emergence – V6
- Nitrogen is the main component in this stage. It enhances development and growth
- Phosphorous and potassium promotes leaf growth and strength
- Magnesium and sulfur contributes to the health of the leaves
- Boron and zinc contribute to new growth
- Several other micronutrients for not limiting the enhancement to photosynthetic growth
V6 – VT (Stem Extension – Tasseling)
- Potassium for protein synthesis and yield
- Nitrogen amount is reduced for maintaining dry matter with the production of protein
- Sulfur, magnesium, and other micronutrients for enhanced leaf growth and strength, grain proteins, and canopy development
R1 – R6 (Reproductive Growth)
- Potassium for maximizing the yield and crop growth
- Nitrogen ensures that the potassium is balanced and protein levels are good
- Boron contributes to grain ser and growth of pollen tube
- Zinc for sustaining the high uptake while the grain filling process is occurring
All of the nutrients mentioned above should be provided in proper quantity to work their magic. Even if all the stages use the same nutrient, the amount will increase or decrease depending on the need. Proper attention should be given to the quantity for healthy, mature growth.
Steps To Follow Before You Plant Corn Seeds
Before you start planting your corn seeds, there are certain things that you need to follow. Choosing the seed is the first thing that you will have to do. Your whole yield depends on the kind of seed that you plant. Along with that, you need to check the kind of plant that you are planting the seeds on.
The nutrients present on the soil and the nutrients required by the soil have to be checked. A proper balance of the necessary nutrients that will help in corn growth is required. Also, make sure that you choose the right fertilizer from the planting stage itself for optimum results.
What to Do When Sprouts Start Growing?
In corn, sprouts can start growing very quickly if the right care is taken. Fertilization is the key here, and you need to make sure that this fertilization process continues till the time your corn becomes mature. When sprouts start to grow, you can reduce the amount of fertilizer you have been using.
As the plant grows, the need for a growth boost is reduced, and more focus is given on its maintenance. Ensure that the plant received adequate water so that the sprouts do not shrink up and become dry. Additionally, any damaged or dried sprouts should be removed from the plant immediately.
Top Picks for Best Fertilizer for Corn
1. Espoma GT4 4-Pound Garden-Tone Plant Food (3-4-4)
The first pick in the best fertilizer for corn category is the Espoma GT4 4-pound garden-tone plant food. This is an organic gardening fertilizer that contains thousand of microbes which are beneficial for plant growth. The fertilizer is completely natural, which means that its exposure would not harm your children or pets.
The feeding result is quite balanced due to the several beneficial elements present in it. Fifteen kinds of nutrients are present in organic fertilizer. This fertilizer is highly recommended by professional gardeners and has no harmful impacts on the environment. There is not a single ingredient that would be toxic or hazardous to anyone.
Two of the main ingredients present are magnesium and calcium, in addition to the other three key ingredients that are Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. The fertilizer’s NPK ratio is 3-4-4, which is quite a good mix for enhancing your corn yield. Phosphorous and potassium are the two elements present in higher quantities.
The unique element here is the Espoma Biotone that contains beneficial microbes that will enhance your crop’s DNA. This ensures that the taste and growth of your crop are highly superior. Another great thing about this non-hazardous fertilizer is the lack of toxin exposure in the soil.
Since there will be a low release of salts, you will not have to worry about burning the plants. This is a slow-release fertilizer that will continuously feed your corn throughout every season. It is also good for corn seedlings and will not harm these young crops. You can use this fertilizer for other crops as well.
The fertilizer can be applied in both outdoor and indoor plants. However, there is a strong smell to this fertilizer, which can be unbearable for some people. That is why it is better to use this fertilizer in an open or ventilated area. The fertilizer is very long-lasting and is a complete solution to all your fertilizing needs.
- The nutrients are completely natural and organic
- Fifteen different kinds of nutrients in the fertilizer
- Slow-release fertilizer perfect for seedlings as well as mature crops
- The odor of the fertilizer is very strong
- Fertilizer may contain bone meal
2. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food (24-8-16)
The next product on the best fertilizer for corn category is the Miracle-Gro water-soluble all-purpose plant food. This is a very well-known and highly recommended fertilizer that is used by hundreds of professional gardeners. Due to the exceptional performance and results delivered by the fertilizer, this is everyone’s go-to product.
The most important thing about the fertilizer is that it is completely organic and safe for all kinds of plants. Whether it is vegetables, flowers, shrubs, or houseplants, you can depend on the fertilizer. This is a great choice for your crop since it will enhance your crops’ growth and health.
The Miracle-Gro is available in granular form and needs to be mixed with water to use as a mixture. This mixture can be applied using a watering can or the special Miracle-Gro garden feeder. The application would be very uniform if applied using these two mediums. Whether it is a small area or a large one, you can apply them without any hassle.
The corn’s growth would be very quick, and the growth will be very visible to you. You need to apply the fertilizer every one or two weeks to get the most effective results. One tablespoon of the fertilizer has to be mixed with one-gallon water. The more you increase the quantity of the fertilizer, the more water you need to pour.
Another great thing about fertilizer is that it is very affordable. You will not have to spend too much to buy an effective fertilizer for your corn. The NPK ratio of the fertilizer is 24-8-19, which is good for your crop. This will help your plants get the necessary nutrition that would help them grow rapidly.
There are different sizes for the product, and you can choose the suitable one based on your corn field size. There is also a package containing 24 sticks that can be used for small potted plants. One packet of fertilizer can be used for a long time if used in the right amounts.
- Instant nutrition formula that shows fast result
- Perfect for indoor and outdoor plants
- Budget-friendly organic fertilizer
- It may not dissolve completely and needs to be mixed properly
- Not suitable for big commercial gardens
3. Voluntary Purchasing Group Fertilome 32086 Garden Fertilizer (8-10-8)
Another very well-known fertilizer is the Voluntary Purchasing Group Fertilome garden fertilizer. This is called the Hi-Yield garden fertilizer, which justifies its name with the results that it provides. If you are searching for a high performing fertilizer for your crop yield, this is the one fertilizer you choose.
With an NPK ratio of 8-10-8, it is clear that the amount of phosphorus is highest in the mixture. Nitrogen and potassium are available in the same ratio that is 8% each. Other than these three, many other essential nutrients are important for the growth of your corn. Together they form a high-yielding fast performing fertilizer.
The fertilizer can be used on different kinds of crops and vegetables. The mixture is such that it will not damage your crop if the proper instructions are followed. You should follow the amount that is mentioned in the instructions depending upon the size of your land. If the fertilizer is used in excessive quantity, it can damage the growth and even kill the crop.
The fertilization amount will also differ based on the plant that you are applying it to. You need to check the amount that would be required for your corn. The way you apply the fertilizer is also important, along with the amount. You should ensure that the fertilizer reaches the roots to get the optimum results.
With this fertilizer, you will need to water your plants adequately. This will ensure that this fertilizer reaches the roots properly. Another good thing about the fertilizer is its environment-friendly composition. It will not harm the surroundings and contains no toxins or hazardous elements.
Even if you have pets or children at home, you do not have to worry about their health if they come in contact with the fertilizer. There is no presence of chemicals, which is also safe for the plant you use.
- It contains high amounts of nutrients that are beneficial for the plant
- Completely organic and safe for everyone
- Quickly reaches the roots of your plant
- May take some time to show results
- There may be a foul odor emitting from fertilizer
4. Dr. Earth Premium Gold All Purpose Fertilizer (4-4-4)
The Dr. Earth Premium Gold all-purpose fertilizer comprises some of the most important nutrients necessary for healthy crop growth. The manufacturing of this fertilizer is done, keeping in mind the food that plants need to survive. Dr. Earth divided its key nutrients into three sections that are macronutrients, secondary nutrients, and micronutrients.
The macronutrients are the three essential nutrients that are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Secondary nutrients are calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Finally, the micronutrients are iron, chloride, zinc, copper, boron, molybdenum, manganese, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. All of these nutrients are supplied by the fertilizer to the roots.
The fertilizer is designed in such a way that it will contribute to the rapid change in your corn. It is very safe for the environment and will not harm your pets and humans. The fertilizer also contains an equal amount of key nutrients: nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, with an NPK ratio of 4-4-4.
There is no doubt about the authenticity and exceptional performance of the fertilizer. This is an all-purpose fertilizer that can be used for several plants. You can use this fertilizer just before the growing season and see the change that it brings to your crop. Application of the fertilizer can be made every three to four weeks for optimum results.
Since this fertilizer is safe and organic, it will not burn or damage the corn. However, cautiousness is a must when deciding the amount you will apply. There are clear application instructions that are provided with the package. The instructions need to be applied carefully to ensure that you are not applying more than required.
The fertilizer can also be applied all around the year, and you do not have to invest in any other seasonal plant food. This is an all-in-one plant food that will supply exactly what your plant needs to stay healthy.
- All the necessary nutrients for the plant’s healthy growth are present in the fertilizer
- It does not contain any toxic elements
- TruBiotic formula that includes mycorrhizae and soil microbes
- Certified by OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute) and CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers)
- It can be quite an expensive option
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can Corn Be Over Fertilized?
Yes, corn can be over-fertilized, and the results can be very harmful to your crop. Many people think that applying more fertilizers may make the growth process. However, this is not how fertilizer works.
Too much fertilizer can damage the corn or even kill the plant permanently. That is why you need to apply fertilizers very cautiously. Any fertilizer, you will have application instructions provided with it. You need to follow these instructions so that you do not accidentally put more fertilizer into your crop.
The difference in the amount of fertilizer will also vary depending on your crop’s maturity and land size. The soil’s ability to retain nutrients also plays an essential role in this process. Hence, you need to check every factor and then apply fertilizer to not over-fertilize your corn.
2. Should The Brown Tips Of The Corn Plant Be Cut?
Corn Plant, also known as Dracaena Fragrans, is a very well-known houseplant. The most common problem will see in this plant will be brown tips. This can occur due to many reasons and is not something that you need to worry about. This problem can be handled very easily.
Brown tips in corn plants are caused due to inconsistent watering or under-watering. There are other reasons, such as high chlorine and fluoride content in water and stress caused by repotting and acclimation.
To trim the brown tips, you can take the help of a shear. Only get rid of the damaged parts and do not touch the healthy part of the plant. Ensure that the tool you use to cut the damaged part is sharp to clean the cut without damaging the remaining portion.
3. Will Corn Deplete Soil?
Yes, corn can deplete the soil due to the high demand for nutrients. If the crop lacks proper attention, it can take the entire nutrient from the soil and deplete it with time. That is why most people plant other crops besides corn. Some of these plants are legumes, mostly beans that can minimize this depletion of nutrients.
Legumes will be able to balance the most important in the soil, which is nitrogen. Since corn needs more amount of nitrogen and legumes cultivate beneficial bacteria. The bacteria cultivated can pull the required amount of nitrogen and goes through nitrogen fixation to transform it into plant food.
To save the soil, you can do the same and plant legumes in between your corn yields. You can use good fertilizers to provide your crop with other necessary nutrients.
4. Can I Use Coffee Grounds For My Corn?
Yes, coffee grounds can be added to your corn yield. Many people add coffee grounds to various plants, including corn. Corn can have a very good reaction to coffee grounds and have enhanced growth very quickly. Coffee grounds enhance the soil texture and also drain away from the water after heavy rainfall.
Slowly the coffee grounds added to the soil start decomposing and add the three main nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. One thing to remember is that coffee grounds are not a substitute for fertilizers. You will still have to use proper fertilizers even when you use coffee grounds.
Coffee grounds are often perceived as highly acidic, but the coffee grounds’ pH level gets reduced once they have been brewed. This does not harm the crops, and the balance of the nutrients is maintained as needed by corn.
Choosing the best fertilizer for corn crops is essential because fertilizers are a major part of the growth cycle. Without fertilization, your corn crop would not grow the way you had imagined. However, just fertilization would not be enough. You need to opt for the correct fertilizer that is suitable for your crop.
There are many fertilizers in the market, and you might find it difficult to choose the right one. Proper help is needed while choosing the right fertilizer for your crop. The four fertilizers mentioned here is some of the best fertilizer for corn in the market. However, there are other fertilizers apart from these four that can be good for your crop.
The article also answers some important questions that might arise in your mind when you start the growth process. For first-timers trying out corn crop planting, then the guide will be a major assistance. It contains some exceptional fertilization and growth tips that can help you out.
Choose the best fertilizer for corn and start your journey of growing some of the best corn crops!
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.