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Corn Gluten Meal: Can you over-apply this?

Posted by lucilleclifton (My Page) on
Sat, May 23, 09 at 15:38

I followed the advice posted in another thread on this forum, and I went to the feed store to get CGM as a pre-emergent for weeds. I got a 50 pound bag for just $22. It did say "corn gluten meal" on the bag, not just "corn gluten." Anyway, that's not why I'm posting.

I decided to replace a large area of lawn around my home with landscaping. It's a sloping hill off the side of my house and was really hard to mow anyway. It's about 1,000 square feet.

The trouble is, I have silver maple trees along the driveway right next to this area. They drop thousands of propellers, and I found that keeping the area weed and maple seedling-free was nearly impossible by hand.

So I applied CGM to the area before re-mulching with hardwood bark. I could not tell what setting to put my spreader on. Everyone says it's 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. I ended up putting the entire 50 pound bag down on my 1,000 square foot area.

Now, the area smells. Really bad. Like something fermenting or rotting or both.

Could I have done major damage? Sorry to post about something not totally lawn related, but I saw the CGM discussion here so I wanted to catch all of you experts. I also figured people using this on lawns would be interested in the answer also. I will x-post this in Organic Gardening too.

I'm new here, hope this is OK! Thanks for your thoughts.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Corn Gluten Meal: Can you over-apply this?

Yes you can over apply CGM. When you do, the problem is the smell. You know about that already, but other than that, the CGM will not do any damage.

That smell is the smell of decomposing protein. It becomes a form of ammonia gas. When you smell ammonia, you are losing the nitrogen in that ammonia. If you want to try to capture it and prevent the loss of that fertility value, cover the area with a natural mulch or with dried tree leaves. They absorb ammonia.

RE: Corn Gluten Meal: Can you over-apply this?

You can over apply this as well as anything else although sometimes the only harm is to your wallet because you are simply wasting your money. However the odor also indicates that you are loosing nutrients to the atmosphere which is a form of pollution and can indicate that some of the excess nutrients could be flowing out through your soil and polluting the ground water.

RE: Corn Gluten Meal: Can you over-apply this?

I wouldn't worry too much about it. Chalk it up for lesson learned and move on. I never knew how much to use the first time either so it's trial and error to figure it out with my rotary spreader but you can't really cause much damage as you'd do with synthetic chemical. There's a lot of nitrogen in CGM so you can expect a lot of growth from whatever you have planted there. I know grass really respond to it. Just water them deeply and maybe the smell will go away.

Why can't you get rid of silver maple? Just wondering... There are better trees out there but I guess if it's about shade, that takes too long for a new tree to put out enough shade. I'm still waiting for some shade from mine...

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