During the vegetative stage of the sorghum plant, the number of leaves often is used to determine the stage of the plant. Grain sorghum leaves are numbered by counting the fully expanded leaves that have a developed collar. When counting leaves, keep in mind that the first leaf is short with a rounded tip and leaves alternate from one side of the stalk to the other. Once sorghum has produced approximately five fully expanded leaves, counting can become difficult because lower leaves will die and fall off the plant. For instance, the first leaf likely will fall off the plant within 25 days of emergence.
The following are descriptions and photos of each growth stage along with timely management suggestions.