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Dallas Morning News - September 10, 2020

Corn Gluten Meal – It’s Time


Is it time to apply pre-emergent herbicides? Yes and no. No, if considering one of the toxic chemical choices like Balan, Dimension, Scotts Halts, etc. Chemical herbicides like those can remain active in the environment for a long time, causing soil and water contamination and adverse effects to the turf and other life. Pets can be in the most danger, running around in the chemically treated turf on bare paws.


Bare feet and paws should not have to be exposed to chemical herbicides


Pre-emergent chemistry can also cause a weakening of roots and rhizomes of turfgrasses. This stress, even if temporary, can invite insect pests like chinch bugs, diseases like brown patch and take-all-patch and even lead to more weed problems long term. It's the job of pre-emergent herbicides, like all chemical herbicides, to hurt plants and that includes the microscopic plants in the soil. Our mission to protect and stimulate the life in the soil – and to make gardening and turf care easier.


Yes, it's time for pre-emergents, if you are considering the natural organic "weed and feed" product – corn gluten meal. It is a powerful organic fertilizer and has pre-emergent weed control capabilities. Timing for applying corn gluten meal for pre-emergent weed control is just before the weeds start to germinate. That's right now for cool season weeds. Best guess is sometime around September 15th for the fall application.


The best long term weed control is healthy turf from using organic fertilizers


Besides pre-emergent power, CGM is an excellent natural organic fertilizer. It has about 60% protein that equals about 9.8% nitrogen. The analysis on the bag will usually be 9-0-0 or 9-1-1 but it's usually a little higher than that.



Granulated corn gluten meal is cleaner but a little less effective


Corn gluten meal (as opposed to cornmeal) is available in powdered and granular forms. Granular is less effective, but much less messy to use. Broadcast either product onto the turf at about 20 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. For best results, it should be watered in after application and then go through a normal wet to dry period. It can also be used on the bare soil of new beds and in containers for feeding and weed control.


Either CGM product can and should be applied with a cyclone type spreader

The meal form of corn gluten meal is very effective but messy to use


An even better approach for turfgrass weed control may be this. Sometime after the St. Augustine, Bermuda and zoysia has gone dormant, spray the entire lawn with an organic weed control product. This timing is usually between Christmas and New Years unless the cold weather hits early. At this point the small winter weeds have germinated and are vulnerable to being easily killed with vinegar products such as Good Natured Weed Slayer, fatty acid products such as Scythe or BioSafe, or essential oil products like PureGro Weed Crush.


If you don't mind "home brews" you can also make your own natural organic herbicide. My formula is 1 gallon of 8 - 10 percent (100 grain) white vinegar, 1 ounce orange oil (d-limonene), 1 teaspoon liquid soap or other surfactant.





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