Apply fertilizer and corn gluten meal now for a great start to next year's lawn
Now that fall has finally arrived here in Texas, it is time for a fall fertilizer application.
Based on my soil test and fertilizer recommendations from earlier this year (see details here) fertilizer and corn gluten meal application in the fall is the perfect way to prepare my lawn to look great over the winter and next year. From the Easy Organic recommendations, here are the products and amounts I will apply:
- Earth Friendly All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer - 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet
- WeedBan - 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet
The Earth Friendly All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer provides the right mix of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) nutrients for my lawn, based on my soil test.
Although organic fertilizer provides a great alternative to conventional fertilizers, including slow release over time, there are fewer effective organic alternatives to chemical weed control.
WeedBan corn gluten meal is the best organic weed control option in many cases.
Why WeedBan Corn Gluten Meal?
For those not familiar with WeedBan or corn gluten meal, there are several benefits as an organic fertilizer and weed control.
First, corn gluten meal is a great source of slow release nitrogen. WeedBan converts to approximately 10% nitrogen as it breaks down. As a “weed and feed” product, it feeds the lawn in addition to preventing weeds.
Made from corn gluten meal, a byproduct of corn syrup production, WeedBan works as a pre-emergent weed preventer by stopping the development of weeds’ secondary feeder roots. It won't be harmful to children and pets, even immediately after application.
WeedBan is effective against dandelions, crabgrass, clover, creeping bent grass, foxtail, lamb's quarter, purslane, redroot pigweed, smart weed, barnyard grass and bermuda grass. However, it will not kill already established weeds. Use in early spring and fall to prevent unwanted seeds from becoming unwanted weeds.
WeedBan corn gluten meal cannot be certified organic, since the source of the corn that was used to make the corn gluten meal cannot be verified organic. But the weed control properties of corn gluten meal act 100% naturally and organically and are a great alternative to chemical weed control.
When to apply?
Corn gluten meal prevents new weeds for 4-6 weeks, so timing the fall application is key to preventing the emergence of winter weeds.
For fall, the best time to apply corn gluten meal is when soil temperature has dropped to around 70 degrees for 4-5 days. This ensures the corn gluten meal is in place when new weeds are most likely to take root.
While soil temperature increases and decreases with the air temperature, they are not the same. Soil tends to heat and cool more slowly than the air temperature. Soil temperature also varies based on depth. The temperature of the top 1-2 inches of soil is the most important for the growth of new weeds. I waited until average air temperatures were close to 70 degrees, and I also searched online for the soil temperatures in my area. A soil thermometer or kitchen thermometer can also be used to measure temperature in the top 1-2 inches of your soil.
When applying WeedBan corn gluten meal again in the spring, I will wait until the soil temperature increases to reach 55 degrees for 5 consecutive days.
Based on the soil temperature chart below, the best months to apply Weedban in my area are November and March.
How to apply?
As in the spring, I used a spreader to apply Earth Friendly All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer and WeedBan to my lawn. Based on trial and error, I realized the spreader held about 25 lbs at a time for these two products. Given the high rate of application (30 lb total per 1,000 square feet), I applied the two products separately, without mixing. I divided the yard into multiple areas, and made sure I applied the correct total lbs based on the size of each area. To avoid applying too fast, I set the spreader setting on a lower rate and made several passes for each area. For WeedBan, Fertrell recommends the spreader be set to 2/3 open. After application, be sure to water deeply.
With the fall application complete, the next step is to test the soil to determine spring applications. After starting my organic fertilizing program this year, the soil test will be critical to keep up with my soil’s changing needs and keep my lawn healthy next year.