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organic fertilizer

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by Andrew Kovacs, Feb 5, 2003.

  1. Andrew Kovacs

    Andrew Kovacs LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    How many of you use organic fertilizer, and does it work. I use no fertilizer or herbicide at this time but I have been looking into cornglutin and its cool by me but does any one use it, and does it work?
  2. For organic fertilizer you could use compost, ground steer manure, milorganite.
    Don't use corn gluten but have heard of it used as a herbicide with most saying poor to limited results
    there are some links in this old thread
  3. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    corn gluten in it's proper form will have an effect upon broadleaf weeds and some annual grassy weeds. I believe the most current information on corn gluten comes from Iowa State University.
    Timing is everything with corn gluten, also it is messy to use. Application rates are high, so an ap to a yard is much more time consuming than synthetics.
    In addition, due to genetically modified corn being milled (this is where the corn gluten comes from), no plant pathologist has every stated what the effects of this type of cg would be to pathogen strains or microbial activity.
    I would be very careful, make sure you have all the necessary licensure before hiring out to do any applications!
  4. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 472

    I first used corn gluten back in 1993 on my own yard. Corn has a natural allelopathy capacity to emit chemicals from its roots and suppress weeds. The work done at ISU (as stated above) has documented the ability of corn gluten (a byproduct of corn processing) to also suppress seed germination when applied to a soil. It is not as effective as a pre-m, at least not in the first two years of use. Corn gluten must be applied at a rather significant rate and it must be done in spring and fall. Over a three year period of use, it is claimed to be effective in reducing 90% of the seed germination in a lawn. You will not see anything like a 90% seed germination suppression after only one or two applications. If you stick with the program for three years, it is successful in suppressing weeds. Just as it takes years to build up to the 90% protection level, it takes years for the effect to wear off. If you need to over-seed, you need to plan ahead with corn gluten. This can be a problem if your lawn is attacked by insects or disease. Also, corn gluten is not cheap when bought for the purpose of lawn care . Especially in the quantities needed to be effective. I use to buy it at a local feed lot. It was sold primarily to dairy farmers in the area as a feed because of its protein content. After the feed lot learned I was using it on my lawn as a fert, the price tripled and it stopped being cost effective. You can buy corn gluten bagged and labeled for lawn care apps, but you pay dearly for this option. You can save a lot of money if you can buy in bulk from the feed lots (it is a waste product the Ag businesses is looking to get rid of), but it is bulky and difficult to handle (dusty). A couple of additional benefits of corn gluten is that it is a low source of slow release, organic nitrogen and it is non-toxic (its used as feed for cattle). Hope this helps. Good luck.


    P.S. I stopped using corn gluten because it is not cost effective, not because it didn't work.

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