THE USE OF CORN GLUTEN MEAL AS A NATURAL “WEED AND FEED” MATERIAL FOR TURF

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  • 1 Iowa State University, Department of Horticulture, Ames, IA 50011

Field and greenhouse studies on the use of a byproduct of the corn (Zea mays L.) wet-milling process, corn gluten meal, have shown that this high-protein fraction of corn grain contains an organic compound that inhibits root formation of a variety of monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous species. Seeds that germinate in a soil media to which corn gluten meal has been added form normal shoots, but no roots. The seedling quickly dies as the media drys. This inhibition of root formation can be timed to prevent the establishment of weeds in turf areas and other plant systems. Corn gluten meal also contains approximately 10% nitrogen and can be used as a natural fertilizer material. Repeated field trials have shown no detrimental effect of the corn gluten meal on mature grass plants. This combination of a natural fertilizer with a natural weed inhibiting compound may result in a `weed and feed' product for those who do not wish to use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. A patent on the use of corn gluten meal as a weed control was issued in 1991.

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