Myth Buster!

July 11, 2014

TillersWelcome to this first myth buster with 1st Choice Seeds. Our scouts have been out in the fields and overall the fields in the area are looking good thanks to ideal growing conditions. Recently Matt Mager, 1st Support, was out scouting a field and noticed several plants that were throwing “suckers” or tillers. This brings us to our first myth buster question… Are tillers or suckers in corn plants good or bad?

One may think that seeing this is a negative due to the name “suckers.” This name was obtained because some believe the additional branches suck nutrients from the plant. However, tillers are actually separate yet identical to the main stalk. They are capable of creating their own root system, tassels, ears, etc. The tillers actually imply that growing weather is quite favorable with ample amounts of sunlight, water and nutrients to sustain the additional development. However, tillers rarely have time to completely mature and develop before a fall frost and therefore to not develop mature ears. The bottom line is that tillers play a neutral role. They do not take nutrients away from the main plant, but suggest that because they are able to grow that growing conditions are ideal.

For additional agronomic information, please contact your Seed Specialist.

Related Reference:
Nielsen, R.L. “Tillers or ?Suckers? in Corn: Good or Bad?” Tillers or “Suckers” in Corn: Good or Bad? (Purdue Univ.). Purdue University, n.d. Web. 24 June 2014.