Rapid Growth Syndrome in Corn
What is Rapid Growth Syndrome?
Rapid Growth Syndrome occurs when corn goes through a sudden growth spurt and a drastic acceleration of its growth rate. This can happen after a few weeks of cool, cloudy weather that abruptly changes to warm and sunny or sometimes after a much needed rainfall. It is most likely to happen when corn is in the 4-7 leaf stage.
Signs and Symptoms
Rapid Growth Syndrome can express itself in two ways. The first is by bright green to almost white newly emerged leaves. These are generally spread randomly throughout the field in a salt n pepper type fashion. The other is by getting twisted tightly around the whorl and newly formed leaves. This can also be known as ‘buggy whipping’.* The plant will grow out of both of these in a matter of a few days. The only last effect may be some crinkled or slightly torn leaves.
*Growth regulator and acetamide herbicides can also lead to twisted whorls/buggy whipping and should be considered in diagnosis.
While plants may look strange during this time there is no evidence that there are any negative impacts on yield. On the contrary, this shows up when growing conditions are optimal.