Corn Gluten Pellets.
For three years I have used different form of corn gluten with different success rates to kick the butt of crabgrass. Why corn gluten? Corn gluten is a more natural product to get rid of my crabgrass. I am anti-pesticide and come August, my lawn looks more like a bad haircut rather than a field of dreams. Crabgrass is down right ugly.
Three years to the day started my odyssey with corn gluten. How did it all begin? After several conversations with Dr. Nick Christians, the developer of this natural pre-emergence weed control, I was ready to break out my spreader and give corn gluten a whirl. Armed with an immense amount of information about corn gluten, I was like the Highlander, ready to chop off the heads of my crabgrass. At the end of the day, “there only can be one”, as the Highlander would say. That would be me, not the crabgrass.
Worse comes to worse, I knew that the corn gluten was a great fertilizer so I would be attempting to chop off two heads with one sword, so to speak.
Unfortunately, I never discussed with Dr. Christians the difference between animal feed corn gluten,which is like dust, and pellets sold by such makers as WOW!®, Concern and Jonathan Green Organic Weed Control. The cost of a 40lb bag of pellets is about $50, and covers about 4000 square feet. I have over two acres of open land, which I have slowly been carving away at to create beds of shrubs and perennials. I could not afford to buy 20 plus bags of the pellets, and settled for 50lb bags of animal feed at slightly less than half the price of the 40 lb bags.
The first year that I used the animal feed, I was covered with corn gluten dust. As I walked with spreader, some of it would just float in the air. According to Dr. Christians, it takes almost three years for the eliminate of your crabgrass. The first year, my lawn looked exactly the same as the year before. Full of crabgrass.
(Concern Pellets being spread on my lawn.)
The next year, I tried using half animal feed on one part and Concern Weed Prevention Plus pellets on the other half. (See my article and pictures from last year.) My local gardening supply shop had it on sale for $19/25 lb bag. The pellets were so much easier to spread and I did not smell like chicken soup or look like a yellow ghost.
Did I see a difference? I noticed that the pellet side looked a lot more lush and not as much crabgrass. The animal feed side looked the same as prior years.
This year, we bite the bullet and waited until the pellets went on sale and bought a ton of bags. I went through the 25 lbs. bags like water.
As I was writing this article, I checked back on the Iowa State University of Horticulture website to see if there was more information about corn gluten. Sure enough there was an article entitled “Get the Real Thing” about the use of animal meal versus the “real” corn gluten product. It stated:
In recent years, we have seen an increased substitution of corn gluten feed and distillers grain for real corn gluten meal. This is often sold at feed stores or local garden stores. These products are not the real thing. They are not corn gluten meal and they will not work. If you want real corn gluten meal, be sure that you are buying from a licensed dealer or someone who is carrying product from a licensed dealer. For a list of these licensed dealers, go to http://tinurl.us/b6b48f [shorten to fit on Green Talk.]
Now they tell me. Where was this article when I originally used animal feed three years ago? In addition, the website now includes Dr. Christian’s “how to use” corn gluten article along with various other corn gluten articles . (Personally, I think my first corn gluten article explained how to use corn gluten better than the short primer on the website.)
I would be remiss for not telling you that corn gluten is a genetically modified corn product. I personally do not put it in my vegetable garden although Dr. Christians thinks the product is safe for this use. Plus, you can not seed for a period of 6 weeks after you apply corn gluten. Nothing will grow in that area.
In August, when crabgrass try to rear its ugly head, we will see who is the last one standing…