Keeping your lawn and garden weed free without using synthetic pesticides

By Cindi Sullivan
WAVE 3 Garden Expert

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- Many people don't want to use synthetic pesticides in their gardens for one reason or another. You may have serious allergies or chemical sensitivities, or concerns about children or pets and our environment. If you have an objection to using synthetic pesticides, but still want to control weeds in your lawn and garden-there may be some options out there for you.

One product that is receiving a lot of attention these days is corn gluten meal. Corn gluten meal is a by-product of the wet milling process of corm to produce corn syrup. It has been tested as a pre emergent herbicide treatment.

It is labeled to control crabgrass, dandelions, foxtails and other common weed problems in turf grass and in gardens.

Corn gluten meal is high in protein and it is that aspect of the product that has the potential to control weed growth. As with most products, timing of application is critical for effectiveness. You have to get the product down before the weed seed starts to germinate so that it can affect the root production.

Corn gluten meal also has a high percentage of nitrogen in it-as much as 10 percent. So if you do the math, you'll see that along with the potential herbicide effect, you will get about 2 pounds of actual nitrogen per application-resulting in a greener, more lush lawn.

The EPA has not registered this product as a pesticide, but it is widely available as an exemption. And you might also be finding yourself paying more for these products than traditional pre-emergent herbicides.

If you have a gardening question for Cindi, you can e-mail her by clicking on her name below. You can also find many helpful garden tips from Cindi by clicking on the highlighted link: Garden Talk.

Online Reporter:  Cindi Sullivan

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway