Wheat Growth Stage Development

The pictures and descriptions are representative of a wheat variety grown in the midwest using Feekes scale with the appropriate Zadoks stage below. The specific time between stages, the number of leaves, and plant height, however, may vary among varieties, environments, locations, planting dates, and planting patterns.

The most difficult task in describing wheat-growth stage is determining leaf and tiller number. To determine leaf number, position the plant so that the first true leaf is on the left. Since winter wheat has an alternate leaf arrangement, the next leaf will be on the right side of the plant. The next leaf would be counted if that leaf were at least half the length of the preceding leaf. To distinguish tillers from leaves, look for the presence of an independent sheath called a prophyll, which is located at the base of each tiller. Unlike leaves, tillers are counted as soon as they emerge.

 

(Click on each growth stage for a description)

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