In Episode 4 of Corn College TV Season 3, Farm Journal’s Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie discusses how to choose a hybrid based on their leaf structure. "Just leaf structure alone can make a big difference in how we manage water and sunlight in the canopy," he says.
A (pendulum) leafy plant is best suited in soils with a lower water capacity. The larger canopy of the plant blocks the soil from sunlight, decreasing the amount of water that is lost to evaporation. An upright variety does best in soils with higher water holding capacities where water is not a limiting factor.
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Ferrie also relates leaf structure to disease. "If I take this [leafy] hybrid and I put it in heavy soil and push populations, due to its leaf structure, it can be a challenge with disease." This problem is alleviated with an upright hybrid where more sunlight can reach the stalk and lower canopies.
Watch Episode 4 below to find out more about the relationship between leaf structure and water management. Click here to register for 2013 Corn College events this summer.