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Hay Close Farm Maize Maze, Cumbria, UK
A corn maze or maize maze is a maze cut out of a corn field. They have become popular tourist attractions in North America, and a way for farms to create tourist income. Many are based on artistic designs such as characters from movies. Corn mazes actually began as formal garden mazes developed throughout Europe for the wealthiest castles and palaces to amuse kings and princesses. By the 19th century mazes became popular entertainment attractions in parks and public places. Corn mazes appear in many different designs. Some mazes are even created to tell stories or to portray a particular theme. Most have a path, which goes all around the whole pattern, either to end in the middle or to come back out again. In the United Kingdom, they are known as maize mazes ("corn" in British English is generally taken to refer to wheat, and "maize maze" has an attractive ring to it when spoken), and are especially popular with farms in the east of Englandmarker. These mazes are normally combined with other farm attractions of interest to families and day trippers. Some of these attractions include hay rides, a petting zoo, play areas for children, and picnic areas. Each year a few of the mazes are featured in national newspapers and TV. In the U.S., corn mazes typically are cut down circa the first week of November.

The largest corn maze in the world is located in Dixon, California, and is in area. The Guinness Book of World Records gave this designation in September, 2007.

Creation

In order for farmers to create a corn maze they must carefully plan their production, design, and marketing techniques in advance. There are six key areas farmers must pay special attention to when creating a corn maze.
  1. Planting the correct variety of corn is important for the success of a corn maze. Stalk strength and height are something farmers must consider when selecting the right hybrid to plant.
  2. Farmers must watch for stalk rot since it is one of the most frequently observed diseases. Key factors for stalk rot include improper fertilization, moisture stress, and disease development.
  3. Moderate plant population (approximately 20,000 plants per acre) would be considered ideal. If moderate plant population is not followed crop crowding can occur.
  4. Since farmers planting for corn mazes are not growing the crop for maximum yield one must be careful to not apply too much nitrogen fertilizer. Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension recommends the total nitrogen rate for the season should not exceed about 125 pounds per acre.
  5. Corn maze crops should be planted from mid to late May. This is two to three weeks later than crops being planted for grain.
  6. When cutting the walkways farmers must cut the internal growing point of the stalk off to avoid regrowth. Some farmers use herbicides, roto-tillers, or mowers to cut the walkways.


See also



References

  1. Hudson Sangree A maze in the maize Sacramento Bee October 15, 2007. Retrieved September 8 2008.
  2. Heckman, J., & Sciarappa, W. (2004, June). Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension: Growing an "A-maize-ing" Corn Maze (PDF). Retrieved July 25, 2008



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