How to Use Corn Gluten to Stop Weeds and Issues That Stop It From Working Properly
Corn gluten meal is an all natural product- a by-product of corn
milling- used in a variety of cooking recipes.
Researches discovered that when applied to soils, it stopped the
newly-emerged radicle (small newly emerged root from the seed) from
orienting itself and establishing itself in the ground.
In short, this
milling-byproduct does not stop seed from germinating but it does stop
them from establishing themselves. So, the seed tries to grow but can't.
Corn Gluten Works On...
This works on all small seed. But larger seed such as corn and beans
tend to have large radicles and enough energy to push that newly
emerged root past the layer where the gluten sits.
It does work on the majority of lawn weeds such as dandelions
and crab grass.
It also works on some small weed seeds in the flower garden (including flower seeds) so it can be used but not if you sow your own flower seeds
It Does Not Work On
Established weeds - this product doesn't have any impact on established
weeds (much like any chemical pre-emergent that only works on small,
It is less effective on large seeds than small ones.
When applied at the rate of 20 pounds per 1000 square feet of garden,
it will stop emerging seed from growing.
This has to be done before the seed emerges as (like any pre-emergent
chemical) it has absolutely no effect on established plants.
indicator plant is forsythia. When the forsythia bloom, apply the meal.
There are also university recommendations to reapply in mid-August to
stop newly shed fall-germinating weed seeds.
If used on a lawn, it will also stop grass seed from germinating so do
not topdress with new seed and apply it (the same holds true of
pre-emergent lawn chemicals.)
This organic weed control product is effective for 5-6 weeks although
the data on length
of efficiency is still being researched.
Feed and Weed Your Lawn
It also contains 10% nitrogen by weight. This means if you put 20
pounds of the meal on your lawn in the spring, you're applying 2 pounds
This is all the nitrogen your lawn requires at this time
so you can eliminate the use of a spring fertilizer if you use this
material to eliminate weed seeds.
If you apply a mid-summer application
to control late germinating weeds, you'll have applied 4 pounds of N to
the lawn and this is more than enough to feed the average lawn.
How To Totally Eliminate Lawn Weeds
On lawns- it will take 4 years or so to get control of weeds. Remember
that it doesn't kill existing weeds, it only stops the new ones.
have to remove established weeds.
Think of an incremental type of
control- year one it will control a few- year two there will be fewer
survivors and by year 4 or 5, you should have good control.
If you top
dress in the fall late September, the new grass should be
well-established enough to survive both the winter and the spring
General Garden Use
In the garden generally. Corn gluten is safe for use around shrubs and
With starter pack-plants, they are big
enough to handle corn gluten meal.
Remember that this meal
is on the surface and the larger pack plant roots are already well
established. If concerned, plant pack-plants a week before spreading
gluten on the garden.
Do Not Apply To Vegetable Gardens If...
Vegetable seeds (with the possible exception of corn and beans) will be
stopped cold by corn gluten so it is not recommended for vegetable use.
Problems with Corn Gluten
You have to water it in thoroughly to get it to spread across the surface of the soil. Failure to water it in is a big cause of dissapointment in the product.
Having said that, if it rains a lot in the first
two weeks after application, it will be dissolved (so
would most chemical applications) and it will be less effective.
organic soils with high levels of beneficial bacteria (or if you're
applying lots of compost) the corn gluten meal will be attacked by the
bacteria because it contains 10% nitrogen (nitrogen being a prime food
source of bacteria).
So the active time might be somewhat shorter on
really good soils. But I note that the better your garden soil- the
fewer the weeds you're going to have anyway.
Dangerous to Humans?
Is it dangerous? Humans have been eating it as a staple food source for
a millennium. Need I say more?
Resource for High Potency Vinegar
You can find corn gluten here
You can now buy 20% vinegar by the gallon for serious weed burning
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