Corn gluten acts an alternative organic weed control

Tired of weeding, but don’t like the ecological impacts of synthetic herbicides? Controlling weeds with a natural product makes good sense.

Spring has sprung, the rains have come; couple that with the early heat wave weather in March and the results all led to an abundance of weeds. If you try to be friendly to the environment and are concerned about the ecological effects of using synthetic herbicides, but don’t have time to hand weed endlessly, corn gluten might be for you.

Corn gluten meal has been patented as a natural pre-emergence herbicide for use on turf grass and other crops. Corn gluten is a by-product of the wet-milling process used to make livestock feed.

Corn gluten works like this: a seed emerges and the gluten inhibits root growth, causing the plant to be unable to take up water resulting in death by dehydration. Corn gluten is effective only on germinating seedlings and does not harm well-established root systems , meaning, it is safe for your lawn and garden only after your garden plants are well established. Corn gluten also contains about 10 percent nitrogen which has a fertilizing effect when applied.

It is recommended to apply corn gluten in the early spring and again in the late summer for maximum weed control. Corn gluten can be found by many commercial names at your local garden center. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended application rates as they may vary from brand to brand.

For more information on the herbicidal effects of corn gluten, the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University have published research on this natural topic.

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