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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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Ponding and seedling survival


Parts of northern Illinois were inundated by a fast moving storm front that dumped anywhere from .41" (NIARC) to almost 2" (near Morris) and more at other sites. The question often associated with field ponding is; will (or how long) can our seedlings survive? When our fields are saturated or water logged we have water sitting in spaces between soil particles that is normally occupied by air. The importance of the displaced air lies in the fact that this serves as the oxygen source for seedlings. Seedlings can survive for several days from energy generated from anaerobic respiration, but plants exposed to continual oxygen deprivation can produce toxic substances detrimental to the seedling.  Unfortunately, there is little we can do to solve the issue at this point but wait and hope for the weather and field conditions to improve.


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