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7 Best Corn Fertilizers – A Buyers Guide

7 Best Corn Fertilizers – A Buyers Guide

Corn or Maize is actually a tall cereal grass. It’s an important component in American and Mexican cuisines. 

Its also used for feeding livestock or as biofuel. This plant has several requirements to produce delicious edible grains. 

It needs plenty of nutrients during its growth cycle. 

Therefore you need to create a proper fertilization schedule with different types of fertilizers for each growth stage. 

As part of the grass family, it needs a heavy dose of nitrogen. 

Feeding your plants with a rich fertilizer creates a healthy growing environment. But what fertilizers are suitable for Corn, and how much should be added. 

If you want the answer to these two questions, continue reading and explore the best fertilizers for Corn.

 

 

Best Fertilizer for Corn

 

Tomato and Vegetable Plant Food by The Old Farmer’s Almanac – Best Overall Corn Fertilizer

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has served the American gardeners since 1792. 

With their long history and experience in the horticulture and gardening world, they offer several products for healthy gardening. One of them is this vegetable fertilizer. 

This plant food is rich in natural products like soybean meal, sulfate of potash, bone meal, feather meal, and blood meal. In short, it’s filled with everything your Corn needs in terms of nutrition. 

This is a granular fertilizer that can easily feed 250 sq ft of the Corn crop. It’s designed not only for good nutritional value but also to enhance the gardening experience. 

The fertilizer analysis for this product is 8-4-8, and it contains protein-based nutrients. 

If your Corn crop suffers from weak roots, adding this plant food can help it develop a tough root system that can resist diseases, drought, and environmental stress.

To maximize the yield from your Corn crop, repeat application every 6-8 weeks in the growing months. 

Watering the soil post-fertilization is necessary to help the corn roots absorb the nutrients. 

Since this granular fertilizer is applied by sprinkling it on the soil, make sure you never leave any product on the foliage. 

Often times the fertilizers are perfect in terms of adding nutrients, but the storage and application are not efficient. 

The easy application and resealable bag add an extra advantage to this fertilizer. It can fulfill all your indoor and outdoor fertilization needs. 

 

Pros

  • One of the top granular plant food that is OMRI listed
  • Can be used for other vegetables in the garden
  • Can be used in any geographical  area
  • No GMO
  • Despite being an organic fertilizer, it has minimal odor

 

Cons

  • Customers have reported mold on fertilizer

Take a look at this corn fertilizer here.

 

Fish Fertilizer by Neptune’s Harvest – Best Liquid Corn Fertilizer

This fertilizer is specially formulated to protect the heat-sensitive fish nutrients for organic gardening. So it’s good for almost everything growing in your garden. 

According to the manufacturer, beneficial oil or proteins are not removed during the processing of this fertilizer. 

It is a hydrolyzed fish formula with NPK of 2-4-1. 

If you follow the instructions, mixing and applying this fertilizer is no big deal but make sure you make a fresh batch for each application because the diluted fertilizer cannot be stored. 

This liquid fertilizer is a great product for seed germination and enhancing compost. You can apply it to the soil or as a foliar spray. 

For soil application, keep adding until the soil is completely saturated. For foliar application, make sure both sides of the leaf are soaked in this fish fertilizer mixture. 

Use it as broadcast for the first application and foliar spray for other applications. If your soil is poor, you can have multiple light applications instead of a single heavy application.

The main ingredients are seaweed, hydrolyzed fish, yucca extract, molasses, and humate. 

This large bucket of fertilizer can give you 640 gallons of liquid fertilizer so you can treat the crop for an entire season. 

If you follow the instructions, this organic Corn fertilizer can surely outperform any synthetic fertilizer. 

 

Pros

  • Listed by OMRI
  • Soil and foliar spray application
  • The cold process protects the growth hormones and the acids in the fertilizer
  • Can be used for any plants living indoors or outdoors
  • Contains chelated nutrients for quick supply
  • A combination of several micro and macronutrients
  • Great pick for vegetative plants like Corn that need nitrogen throughout the growth cycle

 

Cons

  • Unpleasant odor
  • Customers received a broken package with leaked product
  • No seal under the cap

Learn more about this product.

 

Urea Fertilizer by Easy Peasy – Best Nitrogen-based Corn Fertilizer

This urea fertilizer is one of the best nitrogen-based plant food available in the market. It has an NPK of 46-0-0. 

Nitrogen is a vital element for the healthy growth of a Corn crop. This urea fertilizer will increase the plant height and yield of any Corn variety. 

It’s safe to use for all green plants that need high nitrogen amounts. It is designed to release the nutrients rapidly for the faster growth of Corn crops.  

This 5 lbs package will last for a long period if used correctly. The package can also be resealed to store the product for later use.

For long terms storage, this fertilizer should be kept in a dry location with low humidity. 

For vegetables like Corn, apply 2.5 cups of fertilizer for each 100 sq ft of the crop area. 

Although it’s a chemical fertilizer, it does not contain harmful ingredients that can harm your Corn crop. 

Urea fertilizers are also called green fertilizers because they release very few pollutants into the atmosphere. The only residual in the soil is carbon dioxide. 

 

Pros

  • Encourages deep green foliage
  • Resealable bag
  • Can be used for vegetables, shrubs, and turfs
  • Has a high nitrogen content
  • No toxic ingredients 

 

Cons

  • A high dose might burn the plant

Don’t forget to check out this incredible corn fertilizer here.

 

Garden-tone by Espoma – Best Slow-release Corn Fertilizer

This slow-release fertilizer is recommended for all cool and warm-season vegetables. It gives all the essential nutrition to your Corn plants for a flavorful harvest. 

Espoma has created this organic fertilizer with zero fillers or sludges. 

The NPK analysis is 3-4-4, and it also contains calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. The organic matter in this fertilizer is derived from alfalfa meal, feather meal, bone meal, etc. 

For pre-planting applications, mix this fertilizer in the soil before adding the seeds. For seedlings or transplants, use this fertilizer after 7-10 days of planting. 

For established Corn plants, use it monthly or based on the soil analysis. For row crops like Corn, you have to sprinkle the Garden-tone on each side of the rows. 

Avoid contact with foliage or the stem of the plant. 

Garden-tone is available in multiple sizes. 

 

Pros

  • Long-lasting results
  • 100% natural
  • Perfect fertilizer for Corn seedlings
  • Suitable for organic gardening with no risk of damage
  • Comes with a special blend of soil microbes called Bio-tone
  • Releases the nutrients slowly

 

Cons

  • Not listed by OMRI
  • Can cause mold in soil
  • Has a strong scent that attracts dogs

Don’t forget to buy this product here.

 

Blood Meal by Burpee – Best Side Dress Corn Fertilizer

If you’re looking for a natural nitrogen source for heavy feeders like Corn, this is it. Experts and commercial Corn growers use this fertilizer for the mass production of Corn.

Blood meal is a centuries-old choice of farmers for supplying nitrogen. It will surely increase your Corn quality and harvest. 

This concentrated fertilizer not only supplies nitrogen but helps the soil microbes in keeping your leafy vegetables healthy. 

You can also use it as a started fertilizer or a compost starter. The fertilizer analysis for this product is 12-0-0.  

You have to be patient with this fertilizer as it takes time to react. But the plus point is it can be used in any growing stage of Corn.  

One main disadvantage is the price. Several growers consider this blood meal expensive as compared to other regular fertilizers for Corn plants. 

 

Pros

  • OMRI listed organic fertilizer
  • Can be used for other flowers and vegetables
  • Easy to use
  • Can be used as a starter or post plantation fertilizer
  • Doesn’t have a strong odor

 

Cons

  • Can lead to pest infestations and mold in the soil
  • The package cannot be resealed properly 

Purchase this corn fertilizer here.

 

Feather Meal by Down to Earth Fertilizer – Best Organic Corn Fertilizer

Feather meals are used for a slow but natural supply of nitrogen to leafy plants like Corn. You can use it for any other long-season crop in your garden. 

The product is created using ground poultry, hydrolyzed, and dried feathers. The NPK ratio is 12-0-0. It will improve the soil for better growth in the coming years.  

The feather meal is not soluble in water, so it is best to apply it directly by mixing it in the soil. 

This product releases the nutrients slowly. This can be an advantage for some, whereas a disadvantage for others. 

I would suggest choosing the feather meal as a source of nutrients for your Corn crop if you are looking for a long-term solution in terms of feeding. 

I prefer using this at the initial planting of Corn, but you can also utilize it as side-dress fertilizer. To help the feather meal perform its role, mix it well in the top 3 inches of the soil. 

For optimum results, make sure your soil is organic.  

This Down to Earth product is listed by OMRI for organic gardening of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. It’ll last for several years if you store this feather meal in a dry place. 

You can also use the feather meal as an animal repellant if you have a big Corn crop. 

Just sprinkle a handful of the product on the soil every few weeks. 

 

Pros

  • Releases nutrients slowly so there is minimum risk of root burns
  • Add nitrogen and builds the soil structure by feeding the microbes
  • Promotes shoot and vegetable growth on Corn
  • Environment-friendly packaging 
  • Organic and natural plant food for all the veggies in your garden
  • A natural deer repellant 

 

Cons

  • Cannot be used as a top dressing fertilizer
  • Not for hydroponic 
  • Has a strong smell

Don’t forget to check out this corn fertilizer here.

 

Tomato, Vegetable and Herb Fertilizer by Dr. Earth – Best for Budget Corn Fertilizer

This is a budget-friendly recommendation for Corn production. It is formulated to supply nutrients throughout the year and improve the overall vegetable taste. 

With their long-term commitment towards garden-friendly products, Dr. Earth converts waste into organic fertilizers and soil. 

So with this product, you are reducing waste, supplying nutrients, and growing safe food items.  

With all the essential Corn nutrients and an NPK of 4-6-3, this plant food can feed your crop for months. 

All the ingredients used in this fertilizer are 100% natural. What makes this fertilizer different from others is the TruBiotic that’s available in Dr. Earth fertilizers only. 

This special ingredient ensures the breakdown of organic matter in the soil.

As the soil structure improves, the availability of nutrients is also increased. This fertilizer is great for any summer crop because it prepares them to withstand drought. 

The organic nutrients in this fertilizer are derived from several sources, including fishbone, land plants, mined minerals, and ocean plants. 

 

Pros

  • Does not contain sludge or chicken manure
  • Formulated to provide the optimum level of plant nutrients 
  • Created with natural and feed grade ingredients
  • Safe for people and pets
  • Continuous use improves the performance of your crop and increases yield
  • Certified by OMRI, OIM, and NOP
  • Tru-Biotic is an innovative product that adds life to the soil
  • Can be used as compost tea
  • Contributes to strong root development of Corn

 

Cons

  • Will not work in hydroponic systems
  • Can infect the soil with fungus gnats and powdery mildew
  • Not for indoor application because of the stinky smell
  • The organic products in this fertilizer attract pets like dogs

You can buy this fertilizer here

 

Corn Fertilizers Buying Guide

 

Granular Fertilizer

These types of fertilizers are recommended by experts for the mass production of vegetable crops like Corn or Maize. They are heavy-duty fertilizers that can easily cover a large area in little time. 

To apply this fertilizer type, all you need to do is mix them with soil. 

Winner: Tomato and Vegetable Plant Food by The Old Farmer’s Almanac

 

Organic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizers are highly recommended for edible crops because they will supply nutrients and unlock natural sources of nutrients in the soil. 

Synthetic fertilizers harm the beneficial soil microbes and can also block the flow of nutrients. 

These types of fertilizers are rich in organic matter that helps in releasing the nutrients slowly. This is better than feeding all the nutrients at one time. 

Did you know that organic plant food or fertilizer can also enhance the taste of Corn?

Bone meal, fish fertilizers (5-10% nitrogen), and feather meal (14% nitrogen) also classify as organic fertilizers for Corn crops. 

If you feed the soil with organic fertilizers regularly, the need for fertilizers gradually decreases over the years. 

Winner: Feather Meal by Down to Earth Fertilizer

 

Starter Fertilizer

The starter fertilizer can help the young Corn seedling in withstanding pest attack, weather conditions, and unpleasant seedbed conditions. 

You should apply this fertilizer near the newly planted seeds to provide necessary nutrients during the root and seed development. 

I would suggest placing the fertilizer about 2 inches below and to the side of the seeds. This ensures early nutrient uptake without burning the seeds. 

In simple words, they are beneficial because they help the seedling in dealing with stresses until the root system is established. 

Winner: Blood Meal by Burpee

 

Liquid Fertilizer

If you want to spend less time but grow more Corn, liquid fertilizers are the best. They not only produce higher yields but also ensure easy application. 

You can also use them for a dying crop as the nutrients are distributed faster to save the crop.

Winner: Fish Fertilizer by Neptune’s Harvest

 

Important Nutrients for Corn

Corn has a high demand for nitrogen and phosphorus, so whatever fertilizer you choose should be rich in these two. 

If your soil test indicates a lack of potassium, I would suggest adding a balanced fertilizer since it’s rich in all three macronutrients. 

Nitrogen is the main nutrient for photosynthesis and foliage growth. But do not ignore the importance of phosphorus because that’s what helps in the root growth.

Following is an approximate measure of how much nitrogen is absorbed by Corn in the vegetative stages:

  • Flowering stage – 65%
  • Seeding stage with five leaves (V5) – 10%
  • Six leaves (V6) to eighteen leaves (V18) – 8 pounds of nitrogen per acre of the Corn crop in one day

The fertilization for Corn depends on the following factors:

  • Soil fertility 
  • Corn variety
  • Growth stage of the Corn

Pre-planting fertilization should be done to help the Corn establish itself in the new environment. 

The ideal soil pH for growing the Corn crop is between 5.8 and 6.5. Depending on the soil test, you can increase the pH using lime and decrease it using sulfur. 

Once your Corn has sprouted, you can feed it with a nitrogen-based fertilizer. 

Side dressing using this fertilizer is important because Corn has consumed most of the nitrogen from the soil in the sprouting process. 

To side-dress, first, dig a trench in the soil and then spread the fertilizer about 6 inches away from the Corn growing in rows. Now cover the fertilizer with soil to fill the trench.

If you are growing Corn in the same location for several years, I would highly recommend checking the soil for micronutrients like boron, zinc, iron, copper, and manganese.

In most cases, Corn can deplete these trace elements, so applying fertilizers with these elements is vital for a healthy Corn crop. 

 

Pre-Planting Fertilization

For pre-planting fertilization, add a layer of compost to the soil before sprinkling the fertilizer. The compost is a great source of nitrogen and enhances soil drainage. 

Make sure you mix the fertilizer well such that it’s 4-6 inches deep in the soil. 

If you want organic replacements for nitrogen fertilizer, you can feed using blood meal or fish meal.

 

Seedling Fertilization

Once the corn sprouts have grown to a height of 4-5 inches, apply a dose of a balanced fertilizer. 

I would also recommend adding an organic mulch layer at this stage as it helps in water conservation.

Repeat fertilizer application when the plant grows to a height of 10 inches. This time apply the plant food as side-dressing, and a urea fertilizer would be best. 

Make sure you water the soil well to transfer the nitrogen to the root zone. 

 

Important Considerations for Fertilizing Corn

  • You should stop fertilizing the Corn crop once the silk or thread starts emerging from Corn ears.
  • Most manufacturers mention the dosage or quantity of fertilizers. But if you are unsure about how much fertilizer should be added, you can follow the trial and error method to find out what works best for your crop. 
  • Avoid fertilizing the Corn in dry weather because there are more chances of injuring or killing the plant. 
  • Over-fertilizing a Corn crop can heat the soil, which leads to the burning of Corn leaves.
  • Granular fertilizers should be thoroughly mixed to help the soil microbes quickly access the nutrients.
  • Starter fertilizers for Corn should have a small amount of nitrogen; avoid using urea as a starter because it can damage the seeds. 

 

Nutrient Deficiencies for Corn

Below I have listed the visual symptoms for the common nutrients deficiencies in Corn crops. 

 

Nitrogen

The old leaves will start yellowing, and the leaf growth also decreases.

 

The discoloration occurs in an inverted V shape between the leaf tip and base. 

 

Phosphorus

The old leaves develop purple areas, or the leaves turn dark green. 

 

Potassium

The leaves will have a scorched appearance at the edges, spreading towards the middle. 

 

Magnesium

The plant will start turning pale and eventually develop yellow stripes or tissues between the green veins. 

These symptoms are prominent on lower leaves.

 

Sulfur

When sulfur is not transported properly within the plant system or the soil is low in sulfur, the young leaves will develop yellow strips. 

These strips mostly occur at the leaf edges. 

 

Zinc

The top leaves will start yellowing, but the veins, edges, and midribs remain green. Failure to treat zinc deficiency can lead to white leaves. 

Your plant will also suffer from stunted growth because the internodes are short. 

These deficiencies should be treated at the earliest because they can substantially reduce the yield. 

Before treating your Corn crop for nutrients deficiencies based on foliar appearance, it is best to perform a foliar or soil tissue test. 

 

Conclusion

You cannot use a single fertilizer for all growth stages of the Corn crop. 

This guide gives you different options to choose a fertilizer that suits the current growing conditions of the Corn. 

Buy the best fertilizer for Corn and make sure the soil never has nitrogen deficiency because it’s the most critical nutrient for this grass variety. 

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