Saturday, July 2, 2011

Knee high by the Fourth of July

Once more, I'm expanding Open Phenology's micro-local focus, this time with a regionally relevant observation. While hiking at the Trout Valley Management Unit in Winona County, a stretch of path led me along a cornfield's perimeter. By my casual estimate, the plants measured up to the old adage, being "knee high by the Fourth of July." Modern agriculture typically surpasses this now-outdated benchmark, but this year's late spring was a setback for the crop's stature.

Turns out that 'knee high' is not a measurement of height. After a bit of research (the clickety-click Web surfing kind), I discover that it refers to a stage of the plant's maturity. Knee high corn is characterized by the sixth leaf's emergence from the stalk and the uppermost growth point's emergence above the soil surface. (Source: David Laatsch, as reported in the Watertown Daily Times

I'll have to look more carefully next time!

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