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Nothing makes us more concerned than walking down a suburban sidewalk and seeing little flags sticking out of home owners lawns. On these flags are usually the words “Keep Off Grass” or “Pesticides in Use”. There goes fluffy running across the lawn, or the neighborhood kid getting the ball that was thrown too far. Then there are the squirrels, birds, and chipmunks. And when it rains all that chemical residue gets washed up, pushed down the street, and into the drain or any body of nearby water.
Perfectly manicured lawns in suburbia seem to be a sought after commodity. Neighbors compete to outdo each other. One year while on vacation our lawn got just a little too long and someone left a gas can on the sidewalk in front of our house. A not so subtle reminder that we weren’t keeping up with the Jones’. We moved to the country.
Not many people realize that they can have a beautiful lush green lawn without resorting to chemical treatments. Your lawn care company won’t tell you this. However, new lawn care companies are popping up promising truly “green” grass. If you have to hire out, look for one of those.
But if you are a do it yourself type of person, then we have a solution for you:
Corn Gluten Meal
Corn gluten meal is a powdery byproduct of the corn milling process. It can be used as a natural substitute for synthetic pre-emergence herbicides. Pre-emergence herbicides attack seeds while they’re still in the ground, before the seedlings emerge from the soil. This natural protein is very effective for lawns and gardens as a plant food as well as a weed suppressor. Corn gluten has a N-P-K ratio of 9-1-0, or 10% nitrogen by weight. Its use poses no health risk to people or animals.
It is best to apply corn gluten meal in early spring, 3-5 weeks before seeds emerge and again in the fall. You won’t see dramatic immediate results, corn gluten meal works best when applied over time. You should follow application directions on the package.
Corn gluten meal can be found at a local green house or garden center, or online. The typical big box centers do not carry it, making it a challenge to find. If you care about how your lawn looks and you care about the environment, it’s well worth the search. You’ll feel better knowing your grass is truly “green”.