Corn Gluten Meal: All Pure Weed and Feed?


corn gluten meal lawn weed and feed being poured into a spreader

An increasing number of gardeners and garden house owners attempt to switch artificial herbicides and fertilizers with pure options to guard useful bugs, the water desk, and the soil’s treasured microbiome. Is corn gluten meal (CGM) the all-natural weed and feed they need?

Some say it may be. Others say it’s not and that you must keep away from it. We talk about all its execs and cons on this article, beginning with the science behind the product and ending with the way it’s used and the outcomes it might probably ship so as to determine for your self whether or not you wish to attempt CGM as an alternative of conventional artificial weed and feed merchandise. 

Corn Gluten Meal: From Lab Progress Medium to Patented Weed and Feed

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Corn gluten meal or CGM is a by-product of the moist corn-milling course of that additionally creates corn starch, corn gluten feed, steep liquor, and germ oil meal. 

Obtained from the corn kernels’ endosperm, CGM has about 60-65% protein content material making it wonderful as animal feed. It’s also used as an ingredient in pet meals and is the idea for a typical flood flavoring known as hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Corn gluten meal is non-toxic and secure for people, animals, and non-targeted crops.

How did CGM go from livestock feed to herbicide and fertilizer? Like Newton and his fallen apple main him to the legislation of gravity, corn gluten meal’s weed and feed properties had been additionally a fortunate break. 

In 1986, Dr. Nick Christians from Iowa State College and a workforce of researchers studied the results of Pythium fungi on creeping bentgrass, a typical golf course turf. They used some leftover corn meal to develop the pathogen. Whereas conducting the experiments, they found that the corn gluten meal – the protein a part of corn meal – inhibits root development. 

Additional research additionally confirmed a excessive nitrogen content material of 9% to 10% of CGM’s weight. Root development inhibition plus a superb supply of nitrogen? It was the right recipe for a brand new pure weed and feed product

Dr. Christians patented the product in 1991, not as a weed and feed however as a pre-emergent herbicide. Even so, utilizing it as a herbicide is similar as utilizing it as a weed and feed since all corn gluten meal merchandise launch nitrogen into the soil after utility.

By 1997, greater than 15 producers had been licensed to provide and promote CGM merchandise throughout the U.S. to be used on turf and residential gardens. That is how CGM received on the cabinets with a “herbicide” label on the bag. Now, the query is: does it work or not? We should perceive what CGM does to weeds to reply this query.

How Does CGM Kill Weeds?

broadleaf weeds found in yard
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Corn gluten meal accommodates pure chemical substances known as corn peptides or protein hydrolysates that inhibit root development. It’s believed that peptides intrude with cell division and elongation within the growing roots of crops, together with weeds. 

This disruption results in diminished root development and finally prevents the institution of younger weed seedlings. CGM’s technique is much like chemical pre-emergent herbicides like dithiopyr, benfluralin, and pendimethalin, which additionally stop weeds by inhibiting root development.

CGM doesn’t cease weed seeds from germinating. Weed shoots do spring out of their seeds. But when the soil is handled with CGM on the time of seed germination, shoots gained’t develop wholesome roots and can ultimately die. 

Weeds You Can Management With Corn Gluten Meal

CGM may be efficiently used in opposition to grassy and broadleaf weeds alike. It’s usually unfold to regulate:

  • Crabgrass
  • Smartweed
  • Dandelions
  • Redroot pigweed
  • Lambsquarters
  • Purslane
  • Frequent Bermudagrass
  • Invasive creeping bentgrass

Because it’s ineffective on already-developed root techniques and solely works on seedlings whereas forming their first roots, corn gluten meal is supposed for:

  • Annual weeds
  • New generations of perennial weeds sprouting from seeds

It’s not a selective weed killer and can equally have an effect on weed and grass seeds. Keep away from making use of it within the fall should you plan to overseed the garden. Solely use CGM on established turf and crops, not on a newly planted garden or backyard. 

Corn Gluten Meal as Backyard and Garden Fertilizer

As talked about earlier than, corn gluten meal additionally brings a 9% to 10% nitrogen content material to the backyard, making it a wonderful pure fertilizer. When you unfold 10 kilos of CGM on the soil, you add 0.9 to 1 pound of nitrogen (which is in regards to the nitrogen advice for turfgrass fertilization).  

CGM doesn’t include phosphorus or potassium and has an NPK of 9-0-0 or 10-0-0. The dearth of phosphorus is an enormous plus in states with phosphorus bans, like Illinois, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, and places vulnerable to runoff. 

The nitrogen in CGM is a slow-release type, stopping root burn. After utility, it releases regularly into the soil for 3 to 4 months. 

How one can Use Corn Gluten Meal as Weed and Feed

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Corn gluten meal is pure, secure for youths and pets, and feeds the soil with slow-release nitrogen. Now let’s see how precisely you employ it as weed and feed. For starters, it’s a product that requires some planning and preparation.

Planning and Preparation

Good timing is vital when utilizing corn gluten meal as a weed killer. As soon as the brand new weeds have developed roots, not solely does the CGM turn into ineffective as a herbicide, however it additionally provides nitrogen for the weeds to develop quick and powerful. 

Estimate the Weed Germination Time 

As with all different pre-emergent herbicide, CGM have to be utilized earlier than the weed seeds germinate. This typically means:

  • Early April to early Could within the North
  • Mid-March within the South

One other technique to estimate the appliance time is to measure the soil temperature with a soil thermometer. When it reaches 50°F at about 4 inches deep, that is a wonderful second to use corn gluten meal to stop crabgrass, which germinates at 55°F. 

Observe the Climate Forecast for a Dry Spell

Corn gluten meal wants water to activate its root-killing chemical substances. As soon as that’s completed, it requires a dry interval of a minimum of 1-2 days to do its job. If it rains and the soil will get moist, the weeds can develop new roots, and the appliance is a bust. Wait to use CGM till the forecast exhibits a minimum of 48 hours with out rain. 

Take into account Turfgrass and Different Fascinating Vegetation

You additionally want to contemplate the fascinating crops in your yard:

  • Don’t apply CGM in August should you plan to overseed the garden within the fall. 
  • Unfold it in your backyard solely after plant transplants set up roots and seedlings develop true leaves. 

CGM is non-selective, that means it is going to inhibit root development of something newly planted, together with your garden, flowers, and different fascinating crops. 

Get the Proper Product

Purchase corn gluten meal with 60 to 65% protein content material labeled as herbicide or pre-emergent weed killer. Don’t use food-grade corn meal or corn gluten feed, as they’re much less protein-rich and don’t work as herbicides.

Retailer it in a dry, cool, shaded place till use.

Weed and Feed Software Fee

The usual utility fee for killing weeds is 20 kilos per 1,000 sq. toes for CGM with 60 to 65% protein content material. That is the minimal quantity required for corn gluten meal to work as a herbicide. Dr. Karl Danneberger, professor of Turf Science at Ohio State College, says assessments present that utilizing 40 kilos per 1,000 sq. ft. gives even higher outcomes. 

Fertilizer Software Fee

When you’re utilizing corn gluten meal solely as a fertilizer, apply 10 kilos of CGM per 1,000 sq. ft. to make sure 1 lb of nitrogen. Bear in mind, CGM doesn’t include phosphorus and potassium; it’s essential to add them individually if a soil check recommends it.

How one can Apply Corn Gluten Meal Step By Step

Step 1: Take away all grown weeds

CGM has no impact as a herbicide on weeds already grown, however it is going to feed them with nitrogen. So, hand-pull all of the weeds in your sight earlier than making use of corn gluten meal.

Step 2: Rake the soil to enhance the unfold

Corn gluten meal, whether or not as a powder, granules, or pelletized, should get a bit into the topsoil, nearer to weed seeds, to do its job. If crucial, dethatch the garden and rake the soil earlier than utility to interrupt the crust and enhance its entry.

Step 3: Unfold the corn gluten meal

Use a spreader to use the herbicide. Test the appliance fee. You might need a backyard spreader that doesn’t enable a 20-pound fee because it’s larger than most artificial herbicides require. 

Don’t fear, it’s a simple repair! If the spreader has a decrease fee, make extra rounds to make sure 20 kilos per 1,000 sq. ft. This technique is even higher since 2 or 3 rounds guarantee a extra uniform utility.

Step 4: Flippantly water the handled space

Unfold ¼ inch of water with a backyard hose, nozzle, or sprinklers throughout the realm to activate the corn gluten meal. 

How Efficient Is Corn Gluten Meal as a Weed Killer?

Even Dr. Nick Christians and his workforce present restraint when discussing the effectiveness of corn gluten meal as a weed killer. It has confirmed potential, however so many components affect outcomes that it’s troublesome to ensure a superb final result. 

With all the necessities checked (the appropriate timing, the appropriate utility fee, and the appropriate climate circumstances), research present a primary utility prevents germination for 40 to 60% of weed seeds. Lengthy-term outcomes are significantly better, exhibiting that repeatedly utilizing CGM for two to three years brings the success fee to over 90%.

The place Can You Purchase Corn Gluten Meal?

You should buy corn gluten meal herbicides, mostly in granular type, at native nurseries and feed shops and specialised web sites promoting bioherbicides, corresponding to Arbico Organics, Jonathan Inexperienced, and GardenSupplyGuys. Corn gluten meal weed killers are additionally accessible on-line from house & backyard and retail shops. Listed below are some well-liked merchandise:

Different well-liked manufacturers are Espoma, Sustane, Safer Model, and Lawnbright.

Corn gluten meal is commercially accessible in powder, granular, and pelletized types and prices from $1.50 to $4 a pound, relying on model and kind. Liquid types like Preen, Inexperienced It, and Gluten-8 OLP can be found at $50 to $65 per gallon.  

Advantages of Utilizing CGM as Weed and Feed

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It’s not simple to reap the advantages of corn gluten meal weed and feed, however it may be well worth the hassle for folk engaged on defending their backyard from poisonous chemical substances and pollution. Listed below are the highest benefits of utilizing it:

Pure and secure for youths and pets: CGM is without doubt one of the few herbicides you should use with children and pets in your yard with out worrying about it. Some persons are allergic to substances in corn, however instances are uncommon.

Improves soil water retention means: CGM’s excessive protein content material captures extra water into the soil.

Protects the soil microbiome: Grass, veggies, flowers, and timber all want soil microbes to entry vitamins within the floor. Whereas chemical herbicides usually kill them, CGM is innocent for the little however very helpful buggers.

Pure supply of nitrogen: There’s a second approach to make use of CGM for weed management, and that’s as a fertilizer. Periodically making use of 0.5 to 1 lb of nitrogen in your garden helps the grass develop wholesome and dense and smother weeds into oblivion.

Cumulative impact: The extra purposes you make, the higher the outcomes you get. Corn gluten meal reaches its prime effectiveness after 2 or 3 years of annual purposes.

Doesn’t change soil pH: Corn gluten meal doesn’t have an effect on the soil pH, whereas artificial fertilizers acidify soil (ammonium-based formulation are probably the most acidic and nitrate-based the least).

Secure for different crops: Corn gluten meal damages solely germinating seeds with out hurting already established crops. In truth, for rooted crops, it really works as a fertilizer.

Predominant Issues With Utilizing CGM as Weed and Feed

The primary draw back of utilizing CGM as weed and feed is that many issues can go unsuitable and make the herbicide ineffective:

Timing: When you miss the germination interval and weed sprouts develop roots, you’ll feed them with fertilizer as an alternative of killing them. 

Soil temperature: Some research present CGM is much less efficient in heat soils, over 65°F, and renders higher ends in the cool-season grass zone than within the transition and warm-season zones.

Wet springs and autumns: If it rains too quickly after CGM is activated within the soil, weeds could have sufficient moisture to develop new roots and survive the therapy. Many of the Western U.S. has wet springs, making making use of CGM extraordinarily troublesome.

Complicated the product: Some owners use corn meal or corn gluten feed as herbicide considering it’s the identical factor as corn gluten meal. It’s not. Corn gluten feed has solely 20 to 22% protein, and corn meal even much less. It’s the protein content material that makes CGM a herbicide. Solely use CGM bought as a pre-emergent weed killer or herbicide with 60 to 65% protein content material.

Unfold quantity: When you unfold lower than 20 kilos of CGM per 1,000 sq. ft., the herbicide could have little to no impact on weed sprouts.

Excessive price: The common worth ranges from $1.50 to $4 per pound, making long-term use a price range drawback. With a 3,000 sq. ft. yard, you possibly can anticipate to pay $90 to $240 for one utility and $180 to $480 for 2 a 12 months. 

Not licensed natural: About 90% of the corn grown within the U.S. is GMO (genetically modified organisms), making it exhausting for producers to get their pure corn gluten meal herbicide labeled by the OMRI as secure for natural gardening. 

Nitrogen extra: When making use of CGM, you add 10% nitrogen. With 20 lbs of CGM per 1,000 sq. ft., you add 2 lbs of nitrogen. When you use a 40-pound fee, that’s 4 lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. It’s pure and slow-release, however it might probably nonetheless trigger issues for shaded gardens and lawns vulnerable to nitrogen burn. The normal advice for cool and warm-season grasses is to use 4 to six lbs of nitrogen yearly in a number of purposes of 0.5 lb (fast-release N) to 1 lb (slow-release N).

Alternate options for Pure Weed Management

If corn gluten meal is outdoors your price range of time and money, there are different methods to do away with weeds in your garden and backyard that price much less and have extra dependable outcomes. You should use them to switch the corn gluten meal or along with CGM purposes to hurry up outcomes. 

Apply mulch. A layer of three to six inches of dry leaves, shredded bark, wooden chips, mint hay, and even yard waste unfold on veggie and flower beds retains weeds from germinating.

Maintain the turf wholesome and dense. Apply 4 to six lbs of nitrogen per 12 months in a number of purposes of 0.5 to 1 lb every, overseed the garden within the fall, aerate, and dethatch yearly. A wholesome garden is the easiest way to regulate weeds as a result of it’s tougher for them to compete with thick, thriving grass.

Use pure post-emergent herbicides: Whereas corn gluten meal appears to be the one natural pre-emergent with good outcomes, there are a lot of pure post-emergent weed killers. Listed below are some widespread merchandise accessible on-line:

There are additionally just a few pure home made herbicides you possibly can attempt. Do not forget that pure can even typically be poisonous for the soil if utilized in too-large portions.

FAQ About Corn Gluten Meal Weed and Feed

Does Corn Gluten Meal Kill Grassy Weeds?

Sure, it may be utilized in weed prevention for each broadleaf and grassy weeds. Corn gluten meal damages seedlings’ roots and prevents them from growing a wholesome root system. It doesn’t kill weeds which have already sprouted and established roots. 

What’s Corn Gluten Meal Used For?

Traditionally used as livestock feed, corn gluten meal has just lately turn into well-liked in gardening and garden care as a pure weed killer and slow-release nitrogen fertilizer.

Is Corn Gluten Meal the Similar as Corn Meal?

No. Corn meal is a food-grade product made by grinding corn and used to coat fish, meats, and rooster earlier than cooking or as flour in bread, muffins, and pancakes. Corn gluten meal is a element of corn meal, made via wet-milling, used primarily for farming and gardening.

Can You Use Corn Gluten Meal In Your Flower Beds?

Sure, corn gluten meal can be utilized safely in flower beds with established perennials or annuals with established roots. Listed below are just a few different weed killers for flower beds.

Get pleasure from an Natural, Weed-Free Garden!

The professionals and cons are deadlocked in a tie with regards to utilizing corn gluten meal as weed and feed. When you really feel strongly about holding your garden and backyard chemical-free, go for it! So long as you comply with the directions on this article, it could possibly be an enormous success for you.

And don’t hesitate to ask a professional for recommendation and assist if pure herbicides and fertilizers offer you a headache. LawnStarter has one of the best garden specialists round. Contact a native garden care skilled specializing in natural merchandise and revel in a wholesome, weed-free garden in the present day!

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Sinziana Spiridon

Sinziana Spiridon

Sinziana Spiridon is an outdoorsy weblog author with a inexperienced thumb and a ardour for natural gardening. When not writing about weeds, pests, soil, and rising crops, she’s tending to her veggie backyard and the beautiful turf strip in her entrance yard.