Spring is the best time of the growing season for preventing weeds before they get the chance to take over your yard. This method is commonly referred to as pre-emergent weed control. There are primarily two types of products used for preventing weeds from sprouting: chemical applications and corn gluten meal.
Chemical pre-emergent weed control products are incredibly powerful and applied in early spring and also in the fall. These chemical herbicides prevent the germination of seeds by inhibiting a key enzyme used by certain weed types. While not harmful to any established plants such as existing weeds or grass, chemical pre-emergents form a “barrier” on your lawn that prevents any new plants germinating for 8-10 weeks. While it may sound beneficial to have that barrier in place, there are two reasons why this is problematic.
The first issue is that these chemicals stick around a long time. They will be present near the surface of your soil for over two months, which means kids, pets and people will be at risk of exposure to these toxic chemicals long after they’re applied.
The second is that using chemical pre-emergents stops both weeds and grass from germinating; if you’re trying to repair bare spots or fill out your lawn with new grass, chemical pre-emergents will inhibit any new grass seed growth.
In short, we recommend staying away from chemical pre-emergents due to the safety factor.
Corn Gluten Meal
Corn gluten meal was first discovered to have herbicidal effects in 1985 by a professor at Iowa State University and was later patented as a pre-emergent weed control product in 1991. It works by inhibiting the root formation of weeds, and naturally breaks down over time into a source of nitrogen for your lawn. Best of all, it’s non-toxic and safe for kids, pets and people to be around.
Available in granular form from most big box stores, corn gluten meal should be applied at specific times in early spring and again in autumn to be effective.
At Greener Grass, we time our applications perfectly and use a commercially available liquid form of corn gluten that ensures a uniform covering to prevent pesky weeds but without compromising the health and safety of you, your family and your pets. For more information on our organic lawn care program, request an estimate today!