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So what's up with this cornstalk?

 
 
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:04 pm
I have some corn planted in my yard and it is coming along very well this year! I look at it all the time so I'm familiar with the plants -- when I say this happened today you can take that to the bank.

On one stalk and one stalk only there is some black fungus looking stuff on the bushy part at the top of the plant. There are also hundreds of small black ants on it. This is the only plant exhibiting these problems.

I yanked it out and stuffed it in the yard debris bin but now I'm worried about my other corn plants.

Does anyone have a clue?

Thanks!
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 1,512 • Replies: 19
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Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:06 pm
@boomerang,
corn stalk rot?

http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ppa/ppa26/ppa26.htm
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:14 pm
@Rockhead,
Maybe.... there wasn't any problem at the base of the plant though. It looked perfectly fine yesterday when my neighbor and I were comparing our plants. There is no damage or discoloration other than at the very top of the plant and that is a black, fungus looking thing.

It sounds kind of like it and kind of not like it.

I really don't want to lose all my corn!
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:15 pm
@boomerang,
I would remove that whole plant.

and put down something for the ants...
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:24 pm
@Rockhead,
I looked up some photos of corn stalk rot and I don't think that's it.

It's so weird -- the ants were just at the top of this one stalk and they were only on this stalk. I haven't had any problems with ants in my garden (or any other pest) this year. I really, really don't want to put insecticides out.

I did remove the entire plant.
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:29 pm
@boomerang,
a little boric acid and honey will stop them. and not go anywhere else...
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:39 pm
@Rockhead,
Thanks!

How do you apply that?

I'm going to keep my eye on things before I make a solid decision. I don't want to lose everything that's grown and would consider pesticides if the problem were to get out of hand.

We've had such weird weather this year. It seemed like summer would never get here then it hit with a bang and disappeared just as quickly. It went from 90 to 70 overnight. I'm worried everything is going to die.

Speaking of which... my friendly neighborhood grocer told me food prices are going to be astronomical within the next three months because of the weird weather everywhere this summer. I'm hoping to hit Costco to stock up on frozen vegetables and meat soon.....
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:41 pm
@boomerang,
I put in on a yogurt lid and set it out where the ants are...
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:47 pm
@Rockhead,
I can do that!

Thank you.

Oh..... but what about the cats and other critters?
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:49 pm
@boomerang,
never seen a cat go for honey.

use two lids and cut ant size entrances in it.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:53 pm
@Rockhead,
Okay... can do!
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 07:56 pm
@boomerang,
Ergot mold?
shewolfnm
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 08:02 pm
the amount of boric acid you will put in the honey is not enough to harm anything but a bug.

A cat has to eat about 1.4 of a cup before it would seriously damage them. For humans, double that.

If you do not want to use honey, what you can do is take a salt shaker, put 1.2 powdered sugar and 1.2 boric acid. Shake it up really well and sprinkle that around the base of your plants. The amount you are using will be about 2 or 3 tablespoons...no where NEAR enough to even be absorbed by your plants if it gets into their water. But , coupled with the sugar, it attracts ants, and other bugs that will eat your crops.

One salt shaker should over your entire garden. You do not have to put enough for you to even see it either. For bugs it literally only takes a few crystals stuck to their body to kill them.

I do this on my counters at night if I have gone a day or two with out cleaning them properly. Just in case there ARE bugs, they wont survive.. but i do not ever see any
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 08:03 pm
@rosborne979,
Does that make me a witch?

I remember seeing a show that said ergot was a hallucinogen and they'd traced the witch trials back to rainy summers where ergot took over wheat crops.

And isn't ergot an abortifacient?

I don't want to carelessly serve that kind of thing to anyone!

Off to research.....

Thanks.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 08:04 pm
@shewolfnm,
Thanks!

I don't really have any bug problems -- just that one plant that is now gone. I really don't want to put anything out if I don't have to.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 08:14 pm
@rosborne979,
Judging only by the photos, it isn't corn ergot.

Whew!

There was one photo that looked a bit like it but it was in the ear of the corn, not on the bushy parts. I'm going to keep looking because ergot would be kind of scary.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 08:31 pm
@boomerang,
it didnt sound like there was a big problem at all. but if they do hang around, boric acid is the easiest , safest way because it uses so little.


It is possible that the ants were there on the plant eating from a cracked leaf? Maybe the sap from the leaf was sweet... or what ever flavor they go after. Do you remember if it was broken open at all?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 08:40 pm
@shewolfnm,
No.... I don't think so. It probably is now that I jammed it in with the yard debris so I can't really check.

It was just so strange that the ants were all at the top of the plant where the "fungus" was.... and that they appeared there so suddenly.

I've really never seen anything like it.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2011 06:17 am
I knocked off a couple of round balls of powdery mold from a mum bush about a month ago. No harm done to it or other surrounding plants.

Then I washed everything with Fels Naptha solution.

Google "ants on corn plants" to see what this is all about. They may be cornfield ants, or ants attracted to the aphids on the plant.
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2011 07:15 am
@PUNKEY,
I would agree with the aphids statement. Ants eat their eggs because they are sweet and sticky to them.
BUT, with aphids, she would have seen them and I dont think aphids would have survived just on the top of the corn. They usually go for the bottom sides of the leaves, or in the corners near the stalk.
It would also take some time for them to reproduce enough to attract that many ants. She would have seen that. ( I think ..)
0 Replies
 
 

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