The biggest mistake that most people take with this natural weed remedy is running out to buy cornmeal from the grocery store shelves. The type of cornmeal that you eat is not the same as what you need for weed killing purposes.
There have been multiple studies on the use of corn gluten meal as an effective weed killer with mixed results. The primary issue with this method is the difficulty of applying it at just the right time to knock out the weed seeds.
What is Cornmeal vs. Corn Gluten Meal?
Cornmeal is the latest natural weed killer that has been making the rounds on social media. The prospect of being able to kill weeds with a simple sprinkle of cornmeal is exciting. Most people find cornmeal to be cheap and readily available, but the real question is does it work?
So what’s the verdict? Corn gluten meal may help with preventing weeds from emerging from your lawn. This only works if you are diligent about following the proper application process and okay with it not always working.
Corn gluten meal is a byproduct that is created during the wet milling process of making cornmeal. It is not meant for humans to eat, but it is sometimes used in pets and cattle feed.
However, cornmeal gluten will stop the seeds that these weeds shed in the summer so that the weeds will not increase. With consistent use of gluten meal products, these weeds will gradually decline.
It is important to note that cornmeal gluten is only effective against seeds, not plants that are mature, and is most effective with corn gluten having at least 60% proteins in it. For annual weeds that are growing, plain cornmeal products will not kill it. These weeds include:
Researchers at Iowa State University discovered by accident that cornmeal gluten acts as an herbicide while they were doing disease research. They saw that corn gluten meal kept grass and other seeds, such as crabgrass, dandelions, and chickweed from sprouting.
How to Use Cornmeal Gluten in the Garden
Perennial weeds will not be damaged either. They pop back up year after year because their roots survive under the soil over winter. Some of these include:
Many people use corn gluten on their lawns, but it can be safely and effectively used in gardens as well. Using gluten cornmeal in gardens is a great way to keep weed seeds from sprouting and will not damage existing plants, shrubs, or trees.
Cornmeal gluten is also a popular method to control ants. Pouring it wherever you see ants traveling is the best option. They will pick up the gluten and take it to the nest where they will feed on it. Since the ants cannot digest this cornmeal product, they will starve to death. It may take up to a week or so before you see your ant population dwindling.
Be sure to follow the application instructions on the package and apply before weeds start to grow. Sometimes this can be a very tight window, but is best done in early spring. In flower and vegetable beds where seeds are sown, be sure to wait to apply at least until the seeds are grown up a bit. If applied too early, it can prevent these seeds from sprouting.