About this time the "canopy" closes. This means that the leaves of the rice plants essentially form a solid green covering and you cannot see the water through them any longer. This is very helpful because the shade produced by the leaves prevents new weeds from sprouting. They cannot grow if they have no light.

     The second stage of vegetative growth starts now. The structure that will produce the rice crop, the tillers, begins to form. The drawing above shows the first tiller coming out of the base of the second leaf. Further tillers will form at the base of the leaves going up the plant. There will be 60-70 tillers per square foot under typical conditions. If there are fewer plants, more tillers will be produced by each plant. If a large number of the seedlings survive, each plant may have only two tillers. Those tillers that are in the shade die off.

     It is always interesting to see what pops up in the field. The picture of the American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus, was taken during some research tests in a field.

Next.gif (3180 bytes)