Do you have dandelion problems? Problems with other weeds? Your solution may be corn gluten meal.
Imagine a landscape without weeds. We’ve seen the future, and it’s corn gluten meal.
Iowa State University researchers discovered the meal prevents roots from forming during seed germination. CGM most often was used as a feed on farms and probably is in your dog’s food. The weed thing is a new profit center for farmers.
This has fostered a number of organic, weed-stopping products. One company, Gardens Alive in Cincinnati, is selling pure gluten in its Wow product and combined it with an organic fertilizer in Wow Plus.
There’s a lot to like about CGM, with some qualifications. On its own, it’s a organic weed and feed product containing 10 percent nitrogen and zero phosphates that pollute water.
CGM is a pre-emergent weed control. You’ll need to spread it a month or so before the weeds appear. And yes, it’s effective against our worst weeds, crabgrass and dandelions.
The problem is you must apply it before the seeds form. That requires careful timing. Crabgrass seeds germinate in early spring. It happens right around the time forsythias bloom in the North.
Pelletized CGM is best for lawns. It is slow release, lasting up to six weeks, enough to get us through the dandelion season. Apply it with a broadcast spreader.
Remember that CGM takes no prisoners. It will prevent all seeds from germinating including grass, flower and vegetable. It will not kill existing weeds and plants.
CGM is for next season. Right now, we are coping with dandelion eradication.
These guys are 1,000-year survivors. They spread by seeds that can fly miles on the wind. Worse, they have a taproot that must be fully removed or it soon will sprout a new plant. Taproots can be a foot long.
I’ve gone through a lot of home remedies for dandelions and still have dandelions. I’ve used herbicides. They knock down one crop but you must use them every season to prevent regrowth.
Mowing is hardly a solution. If you can keep ahead of the flowers, you will lower, but not eliminate, your weed count (there’s still those pesky tap roots). Then the wind blows in neighborhood seeds.
Note that a healthy lawn may crowd out some weeds but not dandelions. Robust lawns grow very robust dandelions.
If you have a few dandelions, pouring vinegar on them may help. It works on pesky thistles that constantly try to take over. Warming the vinegar increases its potency. Be careful, as vinegar also kills grass.
Corn gluten is fast on its way to a primary weed stopper. There’s a lot of hype about it being a 52-week solution. Not true. You’ve got to time it to that window just before seeds germinate.
Preen weed preventer is the most popular CGM brand, available in small containers at garden centers. Sears is selling Organica Lawn Booster containing CGM for about a dollar a pound. Twenty-five pounds cover 2,500 square feet. Wetsel and Espoma are other producers.
Notes: That corn meal in your pantry is not corn gluten. It has been milled away. Keep CGM away from pets. They confuse it with their food.
Contact Jim Hillibish at email@example.com.