Interveinal chlorosis of corn leaf tissue (striped corn) occurs to some extent every growing season. Several nutrient deficiencies result in similar striped corn symptoms that can be very difficult to distinguish, including deficiencies in sulfur, zinc and magnesium. Plant sampling and tissue analysis should be conducted to diagnose if corn leaf striping is due to a particular nutrient deficiency or multiple nutrient deficiencies or another factor unrelated to plant nutrition. Plant samples should be obtained from both good and bad areas of the field. Whole plants can be sampled when plant height is less than 12 in. tall. The most recently collared leaf is suggested when plants exceed this height. The earleaf is sampled at tasseling and silk emergence.
Soil sampling at the same time as plant sampling can help determine whether or not impaired nutrient levels in the plant tissue are a result of inadequacies or imbalances in soil nutrient and pH levels or inefficiency of the corn crop root system.
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Not all cases of striped corn are due to nutrient deficiency. Nematode predation and/or herbicide injury have been implicated as causal factors in some instances of striped corn that cannot be attributed to nutrient deficiencies.
Consider submitting whole plants and roots with rootzone soil to the Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory for nematode analysis and herbicide injury diagnosis.
Other useful information:
- Zinc deficiency in corn (pdf)
- Sulfur deficiency in corn (pdf)
- Manganese deficiencies in Indiana soils (pdf)
- Role of micronutrients in efficient crop production
- Tri-state fertilizer recommendations for corn, soybean, wheat & alfalfa (pdf)
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