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Corn Watering Needs — Explained in Great Detail

Corn Watering Needs — Explained in Great Detail

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Corn is a staple for many hearty homemade meals, as well as a popular ingredient in everything from salsa to corn meal.

Growing corn is relatively simple; soak seeds, plant them, water them, and let mother nature do the rest.

But, there are a few basics you need to know before  you get started. Like, how much water corn needs, for example.

Read on below to learn exactly how much water corn needs, as well as when to water and other tips.


How Much Water Does Corn Need?

Corn needs approximately one inch of water each week. That’s because corn plants typically use around .10 to .20 inches of water per day. Most of the time water can be delivered to corn once per week. But, once stalks begin to produce tassels, they may need watered even more frequently.

Remember to fertilize corn and water your corn as religiously as ever once they begin to tassel and produce ears of corn. Corn lacking water during this crucial growth cycle may produce stunted ears of corn that are smaller than normal and missing kernels.


Know How Much Water to Use for your Corn

Knowing is half the battle. Knowing how much water to use on corn is a vital factor in whether or not your corn turns out successful or not. 

Most of the time, corn plants require somewhere in the ballpark of 25 inches of water per year. That means they need roughly one inch of water per week.

That said, you also need to apply common gardening-sense and apply extra water depending on the weather conditions and environmental factors impacting your corn.


Water your Corn Weekly

For the most part, watering weekly is all you ever need to do with corn. But, when you do water your corn, you need to really lay the water on it. 

That’s because the corn plant’s roots may reach deep into the ground, and they benefit from soaking water deep under the surface of the soil.

However, if it has been hotter and drier than normal, or you happen to live in the middle of a desert, you may consider watering your corn every other day or so.


Water your Corn When the Soil is Dry

Another significant factor to consider when watering corn is how dry the soil gets between weekly waterings. If the soil becomes hard and dry, you should water it right away, regardless of your watering schedule. 


Several times throughout the week, stick your finger into the corn’s soil and feel for moisture. If you reach two or three inches deep and if the soil is bone-dry, its time to water right away.


Use Proper Soil for Corn

The soil that any plant is growing in has a lot to do with how much water it needs. With corn, the ideal soil is an organic well-draining soil with a pH of around 6.0

Corn soil is often a mixture of general gardening soil and sand, loam, silt, or clay. These light soils also get warmer faster, which results in quicker germination of corn seed.


Take the Sun into Consideration

When watering corn, one must also remember to take the sun into consideration. The amount of sun that it gets directly impacts how fast the soil will dry, how fast the plant will grow, and how frequently the plant needs watering.

Corn requires a full day or sun to grow at its best, but will tolerate growing in spaces that receive at least 6 hours or more of sunlight. The more direct sunlight corn receives, the less time you will have between waterings.


Frequently asked questions about Watering Corn


When Is the Best Time For Watering Corn?

The best time to water corn is early in the morning. That’s because corn likes full sun all day and watering earlier in the day allows plenty of time for excess moisture to dry up. Plants are also typically able to absorb more moisture in the morning than later in the day.


How Do I Water My Corn?

There is more than one way to water corn (as with skinning cats), however, two are highly favored. The first is used a hose with a sprayer and the second is using drip irrigation. 

Both methods allow you to deliver water directly to the bottom of the plant and the surrounding soil, rather than raining down on the plant and possibly causing mold, mildew, or damage to the plant.

Continue spraying, or letting your irrigation pump water through its pipes, until the ground around the corn has turned dark and wet for a few minutes.


How Do I Tell If My Corn Is Overwatered?

It is fairly easy to spot corn that is overwatered. First, leaves begin turning yellow, and then, lower down on the plant, leaves turn black, brown, and die off. This happens due to the plant being oxygen depleted when the soil is over-saturated for too long.

Another way you can sometimes tell if your corn is overwatered is if your corn is having a hard time staying planted in the ground. If your corn keeps leaning over or falling down completely, you may have overwatered your corn one too many times.


How Do I Tell If My Corn is Too Dry?

The best way to tell if your corn is too dry or not is to check the tips. If the healthy plants have green tips, and others are crispy brown, or have stunted green tips that aren’t growing, you may have drier corn than you’d like to have on your hands. 

To avoid dry corn, check the soil for moisture daily and add water as needed.