For weeds: deadly. For you and yours: safe! |

For weeds: deadly. For you and yours: safe!

Staff Reports

Spring is here, the snow has melted (or, at the least, it’s melting fast). If you have a lawn, you may be thinking about fertilizer — perhaps the kind that controls the weeds and feeds the grass at the same time. But before you spread that stuff on your lawn, take a moment to read the caution label on the bag and then consider this alternative: Corn Gluten — death on weeds, safe for your children, pets and our environment.Corn gluten is an organic product that inhibits root formation of germinating seeds. Without roots, emerging plants cannot get water and cannot grow. Bear in mind that corn gluten will have the same effect on new grass seed that’s trying to germinate, so use it only on established lawns. Corn gluten will not harm existing plants.Corn gluten is 10 percent nitrogen, which is the nutrient responsible for the vivid green color of healthy plants. Nitrogen is the first number listed on bags of fertilizer. The nitrogen in corn gluten is in a natural slow release form, so it will not burn your plants.Apply it at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet, early in the season before the soil reaches 55 degrees. Another application is necessary in the late summer to stop new weeds from sprouting up! This twice yearly application has been shown to reduce dandelion and crabgrass infestations as much as 70 to 90 percent over the course of three years.But, for all of us, perhaps the best thing about corn gluten is that it is completely safe. It is a by-product of corn processing and, in fact, it is sold as feed for livestock. The time you save not having to read all the caution, hazard and first aid warnings on the traditional bag of weed and feed is time you can now spend enjoying a picnic on your healthy lawn.Corn gluten and other environmentally friendly lawn and garden products can be found locally. Ask your local garden shop or hardware store for their organic options. Any questions concerning availability call Kay at 476-9076.– By the members of E.A.R.T.H. (Environmental Awareness Reaches the Home)

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