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In a healthy crop, removing

In a healthy crop, removing the suckers, also called tillers, makes little difference to the harvest yield or health of the plant, since they usually appear later in the season and can't compete with the main stalk. Their formation may indicate healthy conditions; some varieties tend to form suckers more often. If the crop had been damaged early in the season, or the plants are widely spaced, a corn plant may respond by growing suckers; in these cases, sometimes those suckers will produce harvestable ears. Otherwise, in a healthy, closely spaced crop, they won't usually.

 

If you'd like to remove suckers, only do so when they are very small, to prevent damage to the stalk; removing them when they are larger will weaken the plant and invite insects and diseases.

 

For more information, you might be interested in:

 

http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/articles.03/Tillers-0623.html