Root or stalk lodging can be a serious problem in sweet corn (Zea mays L.) production. Four dent corn inbreds, crossed to five sweet corn inbreds in a design II mating system, and a half diallel with five sweet corn inbreds were used to 1) determine the effect and potential contribution of dent corn germplasm on stalk and root quality traits in sweet corn, 2) examine the variation for stalk and root quality traits in some sweet corn germplasm, and 3) evaluate the utility of traits used in improving dent corn root and stalk quality in sweet corn improvement. The dent corn germplasm used in this study had a favorable affect on stalk and root quality in the dent × sweet hybrids. Compared to the sweet × sweet hybrids, the dent × sweet hybrids had significantly higher stalk crushing strength and stalk soluble carbohydrates, while having significantly less stalk lodging. The mean stalk lodging for the dent × sweet hybrids was 4.4%, while the sweet × sweet hybrids averaged 18.7%. Within the diallel, effects due to hybrids were highly significant for stalk section weight, rind thickness, and stalk diameter. Percent stalk lodging was negatively correlated with stalk section weight [r = (-0.63), P ≤ 0.05] and crushing strength [r = (-0.64), P ≤ 0.05]. No traits were significantly correlated with root lodging within the sweet corn crosses. Dent corn has potential as a source of improved stalk and root quality in sweet corn.
Goss's wilt is a bacterial wilt and blight that may cause yield losses up to 50% or greater in sweet corn. Ten hybrids from a diallel cross of five sweet corn (Zea mays L.) inbreds were analyzed for resistance to Goss's wilt (Corynebacterium michiganense ssp. nebraskense Schuster, Hoff, Mandel, and Lazar) in 1987 and 1988. The inbreds used to make the diallel were widely used historically and were chosen on the basis of adaptation and relative maturity. Three hybrids were resistant and seven intermediate, while the field corn controls were extremely susceptible. General combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) sums of squares accounted for 94% and 6% of the variation among crosses, respectively. GCA was highly significant (P ≤ 0.01), while SCA was nonsignificant. Year differences were nonsignificant, but date of rating and hybrid × year interaction effects were significant (P 0.05). Resistance to Goss's wilt is available in sweet corn, and recurrent selection should be effective if improvement in resistance is desired.