Lawn Scrap

May 2, 2007

I’m really good a harboring dandelions in my lawn. I’m surrounded on all sides by neighbors who love to spray their lawns every year with herbicides and pesticides, killing broadleaf plants and their brethren in one chemical swoop. The only safe haven appears to be an 8’ x 10’ area at the front of my organic lawn.

Nor very pretty, is it?  This area is right beside the road.

Every spring, after a heavy rain, I head out with my trusty dandelion digger committed to the goal that this will be the year that I dig up those yellow-headed, sun-greedy buggers that invade my lawn. I stab at the ground, snap off a partial taproot and give up after about half an hour. It’s a daunting task and I’m quickly overwhelmed.

I have to admit to giving more than a cursory glance to the bottles of Killex and WeedOut at my local nursery. I’ve even searched for the nearest WeedMan that services my area.

There must be a better, more organic-friendly way.

Enter corn gluten meal (CGM), a byproduct of corn that has pre-emergent herbicidal effects and also provides a nitrogen source over time as it breaks down. Proteins in CGM inhibit root formation on newly germinated seeds, effectively killing the plant before it can take root. Sounds pretty awesome, right?

Unfortunately, CGM doesn’t discriminate between the weeds and the grass – so don’t plan on seeding your lawn with grass seed and applying CGM at the same time. Also, there’s a small window of opportunity for this product. Applications usually are in early spring when crocus or forsythia bloom and again in autumn.

My one lonely crocus has bloomed and gone so I thought I was too late, however, a call to Make It Green Garden Centre tells me I’m not. They sell Turf Maize, and at $20 a tub including borrowing a spreader for free, I’m willing to give it a try.

At least it will fertilize my lawn and then the patches of clover can eat it and die.


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