Posts Tagged ‘lawn’

Time is Right for Corn Gluten as Natural Weed Control


Many of us who still have lawns want them chemical-free. We also want them to be weed-free, especially without crabgrass, one of the annual lawn spoilers that can take over a patchy lawn. We are right now in an important window of opportunity for using an organic treatment, corn gluten meal as a lawn weed suppressant. Corn gluten meal inhibits the roots of emerging weeds, crabgrass, plantain, and dandelions* by drying them out. Timing is important. To use corn gluten as organic weed control, you need to do it very soon: at forsythia bloom time, which is around the next week or so. This information from is helpful on how to use corn gluten:

The majority of weed seeds — especially the dreaded crabgrass seeds — germinate during a very short window in late winter and early spring depending on the climate. The general rule of thumb is to apply the corn gluten just as the forsythia plants break into bloom in the North.

Pre-emergent is an important part of the equation: it must be done when weed plants are barely there. Getting the corn gluten on too late will actually help weeds with developed leaves and good roots, by fertilizing them. So you need to find that perfect Goldilocks time. Look to the forsythia, and apply liberally.

Remember that if you want to keep your lawn and garden organic, hand pulling is always best and will always be part of lawn maintenance, especially on existing weeds. Whether or not your timing is right, corn gluten meal does provide organic nitrogen, so it will help your grass no matter what.

*Personally, I don’t mind dandelions in the lawn. They offer benefits to pollinators as one of the first blooming flowers.

Act Now to “Off” Your Lawn With This Easy Technique

Attractive front yard garden with no lawn, just shrubs and perennials.

This muted garden color palette of greens, white and a spot of yellow is restful and easy-care.

Are you fed up with a boring lawn? Are you inspired by neighbours’ front yard gardens that have banished their grass? Do you hesitate at the thought of the back-breaking work of digging up the sod? The good news is it doesn’t have to be hard. The secret to an easy transformation from lawn to garden is to kill your grass in place (organically) by smothering it. Do it now, before the fall rains, as the grass will be in a weakened state.  No water and light for a prolonged period will kill the grass, where it will compost into the soil. In spring it will be easy to dig, as you won’t be digging up thick grass clumps: you’ll have a clean slate of mostly bare soil. Now you can plant a new, easy-care garden of perennials and shrubs. And you won’t be waking up the neighbours in the summer with a lawn mower.

Here are the steps.

  1. Cut the lawn very short, with mower at its lowest height.
  2. Buy a plastic tarp and cover your entire lawn area.
  3. Hold it down with rocks or bricks.
  4. Find a new home for your mower.
  5. Relax and make yourself a drink, your work is finished for the year.

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