Water saturated soil conditions & corn
Water saturated soil conditions & corn

Water saturated soil conditions & corn

Water Saturated Soil Conditions & Corn

  1. If not emerged, corn stand is reduced after 48 hours of saturated conditions (anaerobic) and basically non-existent after 96 hours. Extended or repeated ponded areas may need to be replanted.
  2. If emerged, air and water temp influences effect of being submerged.  Temps above 75 degrees, corn can be submerged for a day. Temps between 55 and 75; 2-3 days.  Temps below 55; 4 or so days.
  3. If emerged or not, saturated soils for more than 24 hours can increase the risk of Pythium or possibly other seedling diseases.
    • Pythium will be first noticed on mesocotyl (white tissue connecting seed to the above portion of the plant)
    • Mesocotyl should remain white until v6.
    • Damage to mesocotyl can slow plant growth by limiting the transfer of nutrition from the seed to the developing plant.
    • If mesocotyl gets completely damaged, the plant needs to grow a nodal root system without the resources from the seed as normal – a slow process and no top growth will occur.
  4. Roots require oxygen to grow.  Water saturated (anaerobic) conditions can:
    • Root growth ceases in as little as 24 hours
    • Rooting depth over the season was affected in as little as 48 hours. This could limit plants’ ability to find N late season.
    • Substantial root mortality occurred in as little as 3 days
  5. Anaerobic soil conditions can alter nutrient availability through physical loss and destruction of beneficial micro-organisms


  1. Plants under stress are more affected by other stresses, so if a farmer chooses to keep those areas, PGRs, foliar nutrition & fungicides are even more critical.
  2. If a farmer decides to replant – do him a favor and convince him to replant clean and not interplant
  3. Consider an additional 30-50lbs of N by V6 to areas damaged from water-saturated soil conditions

A pretty good resource from U of NE: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2019/corn-establishment-and-growth-saturated-soils-brief-review-new-research

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