Skip to Main Content

Sulfur Deficiency Symptoms in Corn

Categories: GROWING, CORN
“Striping” on corn can be caused by several issues. When corn is growing extremely fast, it relies on the root system to provide nutrients. Early in the season, the root system hasn’t quite reached the nitrogen and sulfur in the soil. As a result, leaves appear striped and falsely indicate nutrient deficiencies. However, most of these symptoms will clear up as the root system continues to develop and enters the nutrient zone. 

Another cause of corn “striping” is carryover of fomesafen from last season. Fomesafen is the active ingredient in products such as Flexstar® herbicide. A handful of factors contribute to this situation:
  • Less than average late-season rainfall the previous year.
  • Persistence of the product in the soil 
  • Pushing label restrictions in regards to the 10-month rotational interval 

So how can you tell if your corn is victim of fomesafen carryover or just hasn’t quite reached the nutrient zone? The key differentiating factor is the effect on the leaf veins. 
  • Fomesafen injury results in chlorotic or necrotic leaf veins. Oftentimes, there are only a few older leaves that will be affected by fomesafen injury, and the injured plant quickly recovers as new growth is generated. In severe cases, there can be a stand loss if extremely high rates of product were applied due to sprayer malfunction or overlap due to field layout.
  • Sulfur striping is classified as “interveinal chlorosis” that is typically found on newer leaves.
The pictures below illustrate fomesafen carryover symptoms. 

First few leaves showing fomesafen symptoms, including chlorosis on the veins and white mid-rib
Source: Iowa State Extension – ICM News


Fomesafen injury due to sprayer malfunction
Source: Iowa State Extension – ICM News

Contact your Golden Harvest Seed Advisor with questions or for additional agronomic insights.

Photos are either the property of Syngenta or used under agreement.

Syngenta hereby disclaims liability for third-party websites.


You are viewing from

Thank you for visiting the Golden Harvest website. We understand how important it is for you to find agronomic and product information pertinent to your local area. Please enter your zip code or select your area below to ensure you are seeing the information that matters most to you.
Learn more about regions >


We’re sorry. Golden Harvest is not available in this area. Please try another zip code or contact a Golden Harvest Seed Advisor for more information.

Is this page helpful to you?

How can we improve
this page? (optional)

Can you tell us your
role in agriculture? (optional)

Thanks for the feedback.

We appreciate your participation