Substitute for Corn Gluten Meal June 2011 Update
Question: I know from one of your recent articles you are no longer a fan of corn gluten meal. What do you recommend to use as a substitute??? I agree with you that it is expensive and inconsistent. Any help that you can give us is sincerely appreciated.
Answer: Good question. I'll tell you what I use. In the Spring I apply zeolite at 40 lbs per 1000 sq ft. followed immediately with dry molasses at 20 lbs per 1000 sq ft. The zeolite holds and buffers nutrients that might be out of balance. Dry molasses provides nutrients and super stimulates beneficial microbes. Then I spray once a month with Garrett Juice Plus and Alpha Bio S.I. If minor insect or disease pests pop up, I spray Bio Wash, do some hand weeding and vinegar spot spraying and occasionally treat problem weeds with Garden Weasel Crabgrass control.
Corn gluten meal is a natural weed and feed fertilizer. It should be broadcast to prevent grassburs, crabgrass, and other annual weeds that germinate from seed. The key is to broadcast the material before the the weed seed germinate.
For the cool season or winter weeds, broadcast in early Fall at 15 - 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet for the control of henbit, dandelions, annual bluegrass and other winter weeds. It also serves as a powerful organic fertilizer having about 9-10 percent nitrogen.
Corn gluten meal can be used when overseeding ryegrass or other cool season crops but only with care. You must wait until the grass, vetch or clover has germinated and started to grow before putting the corn gluten meal down or the seed germination will be hurt. Do not use prior to planting anything from seed.
Corn gluten meal replaces the need for other fertilization for that period.
Corn gluten meal – a different product - a Natural "Weed and Feed"
In the early 1990s Dr. Nick Christians and his research students at Iowa State discovered that corn gluten meal, a product of the wet milling process, works as a pre-emergent weed and feed. It inhibits weed root formation during germination. With a nitrogen content of about 9 percent, it is also a powerful fertilizer. It is available in the natural powdered form or in a granulated form. Powdered products are more effective and cheaper but the granulated products are much less dusty and messy.
Apply about 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet just like a fertilizer application. In North Texas, do it about March 1 and again about June 1 for even greater control. Unlike chemical herbicides, corn gluten meal replaces the need to buy additional fertilizer. Warning: Do not allow a bag of corn gluten meal to get wet. The resultant odor can be overwhelming.
P.S. Cornmeal only works in an organic program. When toxic chemical products are used, the effect of the cornmeal will be lost.
Question: I did not use corn gluten on my lawn by March 1st, can I still use it on my lawn for June 1st? D.B., Dallas.
Answer: Yes, it functions as a powerful fertilizer any month of the year.
Question: When listening to your show I have heard you talk of using corn gluten as a fertilizer. Could you tell me what the fertilizer analysis would be on pelletized corn gluten? I was considering this as a fertilizer on rye grass and wheat for cattle pasture and wondered if it would be feasible. J.D., Dallas
Answer: The analysis of corn gluten meal ranges from 9-0-0 to 10-0-0. It would work well for pasture feeding but would be costly. Dry molasses might be better. The n-p-k is not as important as building soil life, which the dry molasses does effectively and at a reasonable cost. Apply it at 200 – 400 lbs. per acre.