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Corn Gluten: A Preemergent Weed Control

We receive many questions about weed control. It’s a major topic for anyone attempting to grow a healthy lawn or garden. We aim to answer some of the most common questions we receive about weed control in this article, including:

  • How to prevent weeds?
  • How to get rid of weeds?
  • Are there organic products available?

Pre-emergent vs. Post-emergent Weed Control

First, understand there are primarily two types of weed controls.

Pre-emergent weed controls kill the weed seed (and many other grassy weeds) as it germinates and begins to grow into a weed or plant. If you’re planning on seeding or overseeding your lawn, wait eight weeks between applying a pre-emergent weed control and sowing grass seed. Otherwise, the pre-emergent weed control will prevent much of the grass seed from germinating too.

Post-emergent weed controls kill the mature weed and may possibly harm some vegetation around it. A non-selective, post-emergent weed control will knock back almost anything it comes into contact with. Always apply post-emergent liquid products on a calm (non-windy) day to avoid “drift”, where the application blows into unintended areas.

Organic Pre-emergent Weed Control

Weed and Feed products are popular in the spring. So, why do we talk about them in mid-summer?

Because there’s a second crop of weed seeds on the way—fall weeds. Controlling fall weeds helps reduce the weed population next spring and in subsequent seasons. Our organic solution for pre-emergent weed control is corn gluten, a by-product of corn. Corn gluten interferes with the seed’s ability to germinate and form roots, rendering the seed unviable.

Applying Corn Gluten

Applying a product like Natural Alternative® 10-0-0 with corn gluten in late July or early August feeds the lawn without burning the grass as synthetic fertilizers may do in hot, drought-prone summer months; and it acts as an organic herbicide (weed control), controlling 50 to 60 percent of weed seeds when applied at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. For crabgrass control, at least 12 pounds per 1,000 square feet is recommended.

If rain does not occur within five days of the application, water the area with a quarter to half inch of water. This will help “activate” the corn gluten for weed control.

Whether you attack weeds before they grow or after they’ve appeared, always use an organic solution to reduce the use of chemicals in and around your home. It’s an easy choice™.