Seeds for Success

Corn plants with brace roots emerged from the 6th node.

Corn plants with brace roots emerged from the 6th node.

By Madelyn DeJong
AgVenture Product Marketing Intern

For a productive growing season, a corn plant’s brace roots are essential. Brace roots serve as an anchor, while also contributing to nutrient and water uptake. For healthy brace roots, quality genetics and planting standards are needed. Combining AgVenture seed with the Maximum Profit System™ planting standards will set you up for success and strong brace roots.

Corn plants with no brace root development. This photo was taken in a nitrogen rate study at Johnston, IA in 2012, a year in which extreme drought stress set in very early. The combination of
severe drought and nitrogen deficiency stress sharply reduced plant growth.

Brace roots are the roots that you will find above ground and are a part of the nodal root system. Essentially, brace roots have the same functions as other roots. Brace root development in corn typically occurs right before tassel, around the V18 stage. Although they do not always reach the ground, when they do, they are very beneficial. If brace roots reach the ground, they are taking up water and nutrients and will stabilize the corn during a wind event. Brace roots may even prevent lodging later in the season, meaning a higher yield at harvest time.

Even though they do not occur until mid-season, healthy brace roots start at planting. Planting in ideal conditions while following the Maximum Profit System will lead to a uniform stand and proper root system development.  Plants that have lots of vegetative growth also tend to set on more brace roots. Keep in mind, for them to reach the ground, conditions must be favorable during the V18 stage. In years of excessive heat and dry weather, they are less likely to penetrate and will remain as aerial brace roots. Moderate temperatures and moist soil are more ideal conditions to set out brace roots in the soil.




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