If your lawn or garden needs some speedy green, corn gluten meal may be a great choice – with some major cautions. At 9% nitrogen, it has one of the highest nitrogen concentrations of any natural & organic fertilizer, and is also one of the fastest release nitrogen sources. This multi-tasking fertilizer is a byproduct of corn syrup processing, and the carbohydrates left over provide a great energy source for soil microbes. The nutrients are released over a 1-4 month period depending on rainfall or watering practices, so it should be reapplied periodically.
The major caution about corn gluten, however, is that it also has pre-emergent herbicidal properties. In fact, it is one of the only organic herbicides that has been proven in scientific studies to prevent weeds from growing. Roothair development is reduced or stopped when in the presence of corn gluten, which prevents the seed from germinating effectively. Of course, this fertilizer can’t tell the difference between weed seeds and wanted seeds, so it prevents all seeds from germinating, even the ones you plant on purpose. Timing is everything with corn gluten; do not apply for the 6 weeks before you plant new seeds, or wait until new plants are an inch tall before applying. It is, however, is a great choice for perennial gardens or lawns, where preventing germination is less of a concern.
Because of the cautions around using corn gluten around germinating seeds, Luscious Lawn is the only Signature Blend we sell with corn gluten meal in it. However, we also sell straight corn gluten meal, and you can include the ingredient in a customized mix that you design through our mix customizer.
The other caution about using corn gluten? Stripes or blotches of yellow in your garden – the fertilizer is yellow like the corn it is made from. So if you’re fertilizing row crops with it, don’t be alarmed if your garden ends up looking a bit like a superhighway!