Corn Gluten and Maryland Lawn Fertilizer Law
Two years ago I planted a lawn on my property in Columbia, MD. Before the planting I had ground covers everywhere. All the green was removed, 2 inches of Leafgro was put down before sowing Behnke’s Tall Fescue Best grass seed mix from Behnke’s Nursery. I did not get many weeds last year but am getting more this year. I want to keep my lawn organic without chemicals. I just read that corn gluten can be used to control weeds. Do you think this will be good? Would it be considered organic? Does it meet the Maryland Lawn Fertilizer Law? If it does, can I use it now for weeds in my lawn.
Howard County Maryland
Corn gluten is problematic because it also serves as a fertilizer. In order to achieve any results, you'd have to apply so much that you'd exceed the MD fertilizer standards. Sorry.
Corn gluten is not a very good herbicide, actually. There is no "non-chemical" way to prevent weeds except 1. hand pulling, 2. following good cultural practices. (This is much more crucial that is generally realized). and 3. getting soil tests periodically to keep the pH correct. and fertilize correctly and at the right times of year.
Look at our weed gallery and identify your weeds. It says what conditions encourage each weed. Avoid those. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/lawns/lawn-weed-identification
For soil testing, click on the "Soil Testing" icon on the right side of our homepage.
And lastly, read through this article for good cultural guidelines: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG102%20Lawn%20Estab...
The fact is that healthy, well-maintained lawns can outcompete weeds to a large extent. Periodically, lawns will need to be overseeded or renovated.