Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Does Corn Meal On The Lawn Really Work?

I found this search term in my logs and I was intrigued by the question. The short answer is: yes.

The longer answer is that it depends on what you're doing.

For fungal control, 10 to 20 pounds per thousand square feet are sufficient. Corn meal attracts trichoderma fungus, This fungus takes up space in the soil, giving your invading fungus less room to grow. It also has the ability to kill other fungi, which is a major advantage when fighting a fungus problem in your lawn. However, for severe infections chemical controls may be called for.

For soil conditioning, anything from 10 to about 60 pounds per thousand is fine. Your worms like to eat fungi and bacteria, and the corn meal will grow those in spades. Additionally, bacteria and fungi themselves help condition your soil by attaching soil particles together using glomalin, increasing the soil's structure.

For feeding the lawn I wouldn't use corn meal. Granted, organics don't feed the lawn directly, however there are higher protein (nitrogen) meals available such as soybean that don't require the amounts that corn meal does. Additionally, corn meal doesn't contain large amounts of phosphorous or potassium, making it a less effective fertilizer overall. Sixty pounds of corn meal per thousand square feet would be required four times yearly to feed the lawn. By comparison, fourteen pounds per thousand square feet of soybean meal four times a year will feed the lawn at the same level.

For smaller fungal outbreaks you can use the corn meal from the grocery store. For general soil additives, purchasing the corn meal from your local feed mill is far more cost-effective.

Cracked corn will work just as well, although you may notice birds feeding on it.

We discuss a lot of these issues over at Bestlawn and you can read all the forums without signing up. However, signup is free, they never send unrequested e-mail, and everybody is very helpful with lawn questions.

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