Please wait a minute...
Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2020, Vol. 19 Issue (5): 1227-1240    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(19)62831-5
Special Issue: 玉米遗传育种合辑Maize Genetics · Breeding · Germplasm Resources 玉米耕作栽培合辑Maize Physiology · Biochemistry · Cultivation · Tillage
Crop Science Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Interacting leaf dynamics and environment to optimize maize sowing date in North China Plain
TIAN Bei-jing1*, ZHU Jin-cheng2*, LIU Xi-wei1, HUANG Shou-bing1, WANG Pu1  
1 College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, P.R.China
2 Hebei Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Shijiazhuang 050035, P.R.China
Download:  PDF in ScienceDirect  
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      
Leaf growth and its interaction with the growing environment critically affect leaf area, distribution, and function, and ultimately affects grain yield of maize (Zea mays L.).  To detect the effects of leaf area dynamics, growth periods, and the environment on maize grain yield, a three-year field experiment was conducted using two maize varieties, medium plant-size variety Zhengdan 958 (ZD958) and large plant-size variety Zhongnongda 4 (ZND4), and three to five sowing dates.  The sowing date significantly affected maize yield as a result of changes in leaf area, growth stage, and growing environment.  Prior to the 12th leaf stage, significant correlations between leaf area dynamics, environment, and yield were seldom detected.  The expansion of leaf area from 12th leaf stage to silking stage was significantly positively correlated with growing degree days (GDD), solar radiation, and grain yield, indicating the importance of leaf area dynamics during this period.  After silking, solar radiation played a more important role in inducing leaf senescence than GDD, particularly in the 2nd half of the grain filling stage.  Accelerated leaf senescence in late growth period can increase maize yield.  The environment affected leaf area dynamics and yield of the large plant-size variety (ZND4) more easily than the medium plant-size variety (ZD958) at the optimum plant density, reflecting the difference in varietal capacity to adapt to the growing environment.  This study indicates that optimizing the interaction among leaf area dynamics, growth periods, and environment is a sound strategy to increase maize yield.  Favorable interactions are useful to determine the optimal sowing date of a given variety.
Keywords:  canopy structure        leaf dynamics        growing environment        maize        yield  
Received: 21 January 2019   Accepted: 25 March 2020
Fund: This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0300603) and the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest of China (201203031).
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence HUANG Shou-bing, Tel/Fax: +86-10-62732561, E-mail:; WANG Pu, Tel/Fax: +86-10-62733611, E-mail:    
About author:  TIAN Bei-jing, E-mail:; ZHU Jin-cheng, E-mail:; * These authors contributed equally to this study.

Cite this article: 

TIAN Bei-jing, ZHU Jin-cheng, LIU Xi-wei, HUANG Shou-bing, WANG Pu. 2020.

Interacting leaf dynamics and environment to optimize maize sowing date in North China Plain
. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 19(5): 1227-1240.

Acciaresi H A, Tambussi E A, Antonietta M, Zuluaga M S, Andrade F H, Guiamét J J. 2014. Carbon assimilation, leaf area dynamics, and grain yield in contemporary earlier-and later-senescing maize hybrids. European Journal of Agronomy, 59, 29–38.
Allison J C S, Watson D J. 1966. The production and distribution of dry matter in maize after flowering. Annals of Botany, 30, 365–381.
Antonietta M, Fanello D D, Acciaresi H A, Guiamet J J. 2014. Senescence and yield responses to plant density in stay green and earlier-senescing maize hybrids from Argentina. Field Crops Research, 155, 111–119.
Ben-Haj-Salah H, Tardieu F. 1995. Temperature affects expansion rate of maize leaves without change in spatial distribution of cell length (analysis of the coordination between cell division and cell expansion). Plant Physiology, 109, 861–870.
Birch C J, Vos J, Putten P E L V D. 2003. Plant development and leaf area production in contrasting cultivars of maize grown in a cool temperate environment in the field. European Journal of Agronomy, 19, 173–188.
Bonelli L E, Monzon J P, Cerrudo A, Rizzalli R H, Andrade F H. 2016. Maize grain yield components and source-sink relationship as affected by the delay in sowing date. Field Crops Research, 198, 215–225.
Borrás L, Maddonni G A, Otegui M E. 2003. Leaf senescence in maize hybrids: Plant population, row spacing and kernel set effects. Field Crops Research, 82, 13–26.
Bos H J, Tijanieniola H, Struik P C. 2000. Morphological analysis of leaf growth of maize: Responses to temperature and light intensity. NJAS-Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 48, 181–198.
Cirilo A G, Andrade F H. 1994a. Sowing date and maize productivity: I. Crop growth and dry matter partitioning. Crop Science, 34, 1039–1043.
Cirilo A G, Andrade F H. 1994b. Sowing date and maize productivity: II. Kernel number determination. Crop Science, 34, 1044–1046.
Duvick D N, Smith J S C, Cooper M. 2004. Long-term selection in a commercial hybrid maize breeding program. Plant Breeding Reviews, 24, 109–151.
Escobar-Gutiérrez A J, Combe L. 2012. Senescence in field-grown maize: From flowering to harvest. Field Crops Research, 134, 47–58.
Godfray C J, Beddington J R, Crute I R, Haddad L, Lawrence D, Muir J F, Pretty J, Robinson S, Thomas S M, Toulmin C. 2010. Food security: The challenge of feeding 9 billion people. Science, 327, 812–818.
Granier C, Tardieu F. 1999. Leaf expansion and cell division are affected by reducing absorbed light before but not after the decline in cell division rate in the sunflower leaf. Plant Cell and Environment, 22, 1365–1376.
Huang S B, Gao Y B, Li Y B, Xu L N, Tao H B, Wang P. 2017. Influence of plant architecture on maize physiology and yield in the Heilonggang River valley. The Crop Journal, 5, 52–62.
Huang S B, Lv L H, Zhu J C, Li Y B, Tao H B, Wang P. 2018. Extending growing period is limited to offsetting negative effects of climate changes on maize yield in the North China Plain. Field Crops Research, 215, 66–73.
Kosgey J R, Moot D J, Fletcher A L, McKenzie B A. 2013. Dry matter accumulation and post-silking N economy of ‘stay-green’ maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids. European Journal of Agronomy, 51, 43–52.
Lacube S, Fournier C, Palaffre C, Millet E J, Tardieu F, Parent B. 2017. Distinct controls of leaf widening and elongation by light and evaporative demand in maize. Plant Cell and Environment, 40, 2017–2028.
Lauer S, Hall B D, Mulaosmanovic E, Anderson S R, Nelson B, Smith S. 2012. Morphological changes in parental lines of pioneer brand maize hybrids in the US Central Corn Belt. Crop Science, 52, 1033–1043.
Liu G Z, Hou P, Xie R Z, Ming B, Wang K R, Xu W J, Liu W M, Yang Y S, Li S K. 2017. Canopy characteristics of high-yield maize with yield potential of 22.5 Mg ha–1. Field Crops Research, 213, 221–230.
Liu Y E, Xie R Z, Hou P, Li S K, Zhang H B, Ming B, Long H L, Liang S M. 2013. Phenological responses of maize to changes in environment when grown at different latitudes in China. Field Crops Research, 144, 192–199.
Long S P, Zhu X G, Naidu S L, Ort D R. 2006. Can improvement in photosynthesis increase crop yields? Plant Cell and Environment, 29, 315–330.
Ma D L, Xie R Z, Niu X K, Li S K, Long H L, Liu Y E. 2014. Changes in the morphological traits of maize genotypes in China between the 1950s and 2000s. European Journal of Agronomy, 58, 1–10.
Maddonni G A, Otegui M E. 1996. Leaf area, light interception, and crop development in maize. Field Crops Research, 48, 81–87.
Maddonni G A, Otegui M E, Cirilo A G. 2001. Plant population density, row spacing and hybrid effects on maize canopy architecture and light attenuation. Field Crops Research, 71, 183–193.
McMaster G S, Wilhelm W W. 1997. Growing degree-days: One equation, two interpretations. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 87, 291–300.
Mi G H, Liu J A, Chen F J, Zhang F S, Cui Z L, Liu X. 2003. Nitrogen uptake and remobilization in maize hybrids differing in leaf senescence. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 26, 237–247.
Montgomery E G. 1911. Correlation studies in corn. In: 24th Annual Report. Agricultural Experiment Station, Nebraska. pp. 109–159.
Muchow R C, Carberry P S. 1989. Environmental control of phenology and leaf growth in a tropically adapted maize. Field Crops Research, 20, 221–236.
Ort D R, Merchant S S, Alric J, Barkan A, Blankenship R E, Bock R, Croce R, Hanson M R, Hibberd J M, Long S P, Moore T A. 2015. Redesigning photosynthesis to sustainably meet global food and bioenergy demand. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112, 8529–8536.
Pantin F, Simonneau T, Muller B. 2012. Coming of leaf age: Control of growth by hydraulics and metabolics during leaf ontogeny. New Phytologist, 196, 349–366.
Poiré R, Wiese-Klinkenberg A, Parent B, Mielewczik M, Schurr U, Tardieu F, Walter A. 2010. Diel time-courses of leaf growth in monocot and dicot species: Endogenous rhythms and temperature effects. Journal of Experimental Botany, 61, 1751–1759.
Pommel B, Gallais A, Coque M, Quillere I, Hirel B, Prioul J L, Andrieu B, Floriot M. 2006. Carbon and nitrogen allocation and grain filling in three maize hybrids differing in leaf senescence. European Journal of Agronomy, 24, 203–211.
Rajcan I, Tollenaar M. 1999a. Source: Sink ratio and leaf senescence in maize: I. Dry matter accumulation and partitioning during grain filling. Field Crops Research, 60, 245–253.
Rajcan I, Tollenaar M. 1999b. Source: Sink ratio and leaf senescence in maize: II. Nitrogen metabolism during grain filling. Field Crops Research, 60, 255–265.
Reymond M, Muller B, Leonardi A, Charcosset A, Tardieu F. 2003. Combining quantitative trait loci analysis and an ecophysiological model to analyze the genetic variability of the responses of maize leaf growth to temperature and water deficit. Plant Physiology, 131, 664–675.
Richards R A. 2000. Selectable traits to increase crop photosynthesis and yield of grain crops. Journal of Experimental Botany, 51, 447–458.
Sadok W, Naudin P, Boussuge B, Muller B, Welcker C, Tardieu F. 2007. Leaf growth rate per unit thermal time follows QTL- dependent daily patterns in hundreds of maize lines under naturally fluctuating conditions. Plant Cell and Environment, 30, 135–146.
Sangoi L, Gracietti M A, Rampazzo C, Bianchetti P. 2002. Response of Brazilian maize hybrids from different eras to changes in plant density. Field Crops Research, 79, 39–51.
Sánchez B, Rasmussen A, Porter J R. 2014. Temperatures and the growth and development of maize and rice: A review. Global Change Biology, 20, 408–417.
Shaver D L. 1983. Genetics and breeding of maize with extra leaves above the ear. In: Proceedings of the 38th Annual Corn and Sorghum Research Conference. pp. 161–180.
Sinclair T R, Muchow R C. 1999. Radiation use efficiency. Advances in Agronony, 65, 215–265.
Stewart D W, Costa C, Dwyer L M, Smith D L, Hamilton R I, Ma B L. 2003. Canopy structure, light interception, and photosynthesis in maize. Agronmy Journal, 95, 1465–1474.
Stone P J, Sorensen I B, Jamieson P D. 1999. Effect of soil temperature on phenology, canopy development, biomass and yield of maize in a cool-temperate climate. Field Crops Research, 63, 169–178.
Subedi K D, Ma B L. 2005. Ear position, leaf area, and contribution of individual leaves to grain yield in conventional and leafy maize hybrids. Crop Science, 45, 2246–2257.
Tilman D, Clark M. 2015. Food, agriculture & the environment: Can we feed the world & save the Earth? Daedalus, 144, 8–23.
Tollenaar M. 1991. Physiological basis of genetic improvement of maize hybrids in Ontario from 1959 to 1988. Crop Science, 31, 119–124.
Tollenaar M, Dwyer L M, Stewart D W. 1992. Ear and kernel formation in maize hybrids representing three decades of grain yield improvement in Ontario. Crop Science, 32, 432–438.
Tsimba R, Edmeades G O, Millner J P, Kemp P D. 2013a. The effect of planting date on maize grain yields and yield components. Field Crops Research, 150, 135–144.
Tsimba R, Edmeades G O, Millner J P, Kemp P D. 2013b. The effect of planting date on maize: Phenology, thermal time durations and growth rates in a cool temperate climate. Field Crops Research, 150, 145–155.
Valentinuz O R, Tollenaar M. 2004. Vertical profile of leaf senescence during the grain-filling period in older and newer maize hybrids. Crop Science, 44, 827–834.
Xue J, Gou L, Zhao Y S, Yao M N, Yao H S, Tian J S, Zhang W F. 2016. Effects of light intensity within the canopy on maize lodging. Field Crops Research, 188, 133–141.
Zhang Q, Zhang L S, Evers, J, Werf W V D, Zhang W Q, Duan L S. 2014. Maize yield and quality in response to plant density and application of a novel plant growth regulator. Field Crops Research, 164, 82–89.
[1] TIAN Jin-yu, LI Shao-ping, CHENG Shuang, LIU Qiu-yuan, ZHOU Lei, TAO Yu, XING Zhi-peng, HU Ya-jie, GUO Bao-wei, WEI Hai-yan, ZHANG Hong-cheng. Increasing the appropriate seedling density for higher yield in dry direct-seeded rice sown by a multifunctional seeder after wheat-straw return[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2023, 22(2): 400-416.
[2] JIANG Hui, GAO Ming-wei, CHEN Ying, ZHANG Chao, WANG Jia-bao, CHAI Qi-chao, WANG Yong-cui, ZHENG Jin-xiu, WANG Xiu-li, ZHAO Jun-sheng. Effect of the L-D1 alleles on leaf morphology, canopy structure and photosynthetic productivity in upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2023, 22(1): 108-119.
[3] YANG Wen-jia, LI Yu-lin, LIU Wei-jian, WANG Shi-wen, YIN Li-na, DENG Xi-ping. Agronomic management practices in dryland wheat result in variations in precipitation use efficiency due to their differential impacts on the steps in the precipitation use process[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2023, 22(1): 92-107.
[4] LI Teng, ZHANG Xue-peng, LIU Qing, LIU Jin, CHEN Yuan-quan, SUI Peng. Yield penalty of maize (Zea mays L.) under heat stress in different growth stages: A review[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(9): 2465-2476.
[5] HUI Jing, LIU Zhi, DUAN Feng-ying, ZHAO Yang, LI Xue-lian, AN Xia, WU Xiang-yu, YUAN Li-xing. Ammonium-dependent regulation of ammonium transporter ZmAMT1s expression conferred by glutamine levels in roots of maize[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(8): 2413-2421.
[6] TIAN Chang, SUN Ming-xue, ZHOU Xuan, LI Juan, XIE Gui-xian, YANG Xiang-dong, PENG Jian-wei. Increase in yield and nitrogen use efficiency of double rice with long-term application of controlled-release urea[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(7): 2106-2118.
[7] TIAN Xue-liang, LIU Jia-jia, LIU Quan-cheng, XIA Xin-yao, PENG Yong, Alejandra I. HUERTA, YAN Jian-bing, LI Hui, LIU Wen-de. The effects of soil properties, cropping systems and geographic location on soil prokaryotic communities in four maize production regions across China [J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(7): 2145-2157.
[8] ZHU Kuan-yu, YAN Jia-qian, SHEN Yong, ZHANG Wei-yang, XU Yun-ji, WANG Zhi-qin, YANG Jian-chang. Deciphering the morpho–physiological traits for high yield potential in nitrogen efficient varieties (NEVs): A japonica rice case study[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(4): 947-963.
[9] ZHANG Wen-li, LIN Qi-mei, Li Gui-tong, ZHAO Xiao-rong. The ciliate protozoan Colpoda cucullus can improve maize growth by transporting soil phosphates[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(3): 855-861.
[10] LI Kun, YANG Xue, LIU Xiao-gang, HU Xiao-jiao, WU Yu-jin, WANG Qi, MA Fei-qian, LI Shu-qiang, WANG Hong-wu, LIU Zhi-fang, HUANG Chang-ling. QTL analysis of the developmental changes in cell wall components and forage digestibility in maize (Zea mays L.)[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(12): 3501-3513.
[11] WEI Cui-lan, CAO Bing-shuai, HUA Shan, LI Bao-guo. Quantitative analysis of the effect of the PAY1 gene on rice canopy structure during different reproductive stages[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(12): 3488-3500.
[12] Ebrahim ROOHI, Reza MOHAMMADI, Abdoul Aziz NIANE, Javad VAFABAKHSH, Mozaffar ROUSTAEE, Mohammad Reza JALAL KAMALI, Shahriar SOHRABI, Shahriar FATEHI, Hossain TARIMORADI. Genotype×tillage interaction and the performance of winter bread wheat genotypes in temperate and cold dryland conditions[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(11): 3199-3215.
[13] XIE Jun, Blagodatskaya EVGENIA, ZHANG Yu, WAN Yu, HU Qi-juan, ZHANG Cheng-ming, WANG Jie, ZHANG Yue-qiang, SHI Xiao-jun. Substituting nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer with optimal amount of crop straw improved rice grain yield, nutrient use efficiency and soil carbon sequestration[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(11): 3345-3355.
[14] LIU Xue-jing, YIN Bao-zhong, HU Zhao-hui, BAO Xiao-yuan, WANG Yan-dong, ZHEN Wen-chao. Physiological response of flag leaf and yield formation of winter wheat under different spring restrictive irrigation regimes in the Haihe Plain, China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(9): 2343-2359.
[15] CHEN Yuan, LIU Zhen-yu, HENG Li, Leila I. M. TAMBEL, ZHANG Xiang, CHEN Yuan, CHEN De-hua. Effects of plant density and mepiquat chloride application on cotton boll setting in wheat–cotton double cropping system[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(9): 2372-2381.
No Suggested Reading articles found!