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Due to the Ontario Pesticide Ban, there has been an increased demand for organic weed control products and the use of corn gluten meal on lawns has grown exponentially. In many cases, though, so has the frustration of consumers who expect the corn gluten meal to work as effectively as its chemical counterparts.
Timing is very important when applying this product for weed control. This product does not kill or effect mature or growing weeds. You must apply it before the dandelion, white clover and crabgrass seed germinate in your lawn. This it typically in early spring and to a lesser extent late summer/early fall. The general rule of thumb is to apply corn gluten meal just as the forsythia plants break into bloom. Once applied its effectiveness for suppressing weeds last for 4-6 weeks, during this time overseeding isn't recommended.
Corn gluten meal works be inhibiting root formation in weeds at the time of germination. Weeds germinate and form a shoot, but no root. which prevents growth. A short dying period is required after germination. Corn Gluten doesn't inhibit roots of mature plants, and because corn gluten is an excellent fertilizer it will fertilize both grass and mature weeds alike.
Will my lawn benefit from Corn Gluten? Corn gluten meal is a great fertilizer and applied at the correct time you could see some marginally reduction in weeds. However if your lawn is mostly weeds, its because your soil wants to grow weeds and not grass. The best way to mange weeds on the lawn is to change the soil conditions so the soil wants to grow grass. Do this by incorporating organic matter/compost into our lawn, over-seeding on a regular basis (Weeds don't like competition with grass for their turf) and fertilize on a spring/fall basis to keep the grass ahead of the weeds.
Other weed control factors include: 1)Mowing height (the taller the grass the fewer the weeds), 2)Avoiding raking in the spring so weed seeds don't get stirred up and germinate, 3)over-seeding whenever thin or base spots appear on the lawn, 4)pulling or spot treating weeds with an organic herbicide or iron-based selective herbicide when necessary.