The first critical state of establishing a corn crop is with germination. This first stage allows the embryo radical to emerge and push downwards, establishing the primary root tissue, and the shoot tissue pushing upwards with the hypocotyl pushing the shoot meristem towards the light. As the hypocotyl grows, roots grow at its base and become temporary roots called seminal roots. Energy for these growths are dependent upon stored carbohydrates in the endosperm and conversion into usable energy in cells via mitochondria. Heat energy from the environment assists with these physiological moves. After the hypocotyl pushes the meristem to the light, the first leaves emerge and begin photosynthesis and resulting new carbohydrates for more growth. This extra energy allows the formation of secondary roots to begin at the nodes at the base of the shoot meristem, establishing the primary long-term nodal roots. These nodes remain under the soil surface. As more leaves form, and the lower higher nodes form above the soil surface these roots gain the dual function of absorbing and transporting water and minerals and supporting the stem. We often refer to these as brace roots.
Bob Nelson at Purdue has an informative summary of these root events (https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/Roots.html)
If seed and environment cooperate, this next stage gets the corn crop off to a great start.
About Corn Journal
The purpose of this blog is to share perspectives of the biology of corn, its seed and diseases in a mix of technical and not so technical terms with all who are interested in this major crop. With more technical references to any of the topics easily available on the web with a search of key words, the blog will rarely cite references but will attempt to be accurate. Comments are welcome but will be screened before publishing. Comments and questions directed to the author by emails are encouraged.