For a more earth-friendly green approach, organic dandelion weed killers remove those weed pests from the garden without the threat of poisoning nearby plants, animals or humans. Chemical-based herbicides offer effective control against dandelion weeds in the home garden but toxic chemicals do not agree with everyone's lifestyle. Organic weed killers are derived from natural, non-synthetic sources.
Dandelion weeds (Taraxacum officinale) are a well-known problem in the home landscape. A perennial weed, dandelions thrive in moist, sunny areas, though they will continue to grow in adverse conditions. With a thin green stalk, dandelions display a white-hued puffy seed head and yellow-hued flowers. Seeds are blown from the stalk and transported on the wind, according to the University of California IPM Online. Weed killer is essential when this weed invades because dandelions form mats that compete with grass and cause reduced health in your lawn and nearby plants.
Corn gluten meal is a type of organic dandelion weed killer used in place of pre-emergence herbicides. Corn gluten meal is composed of unused corn parts left over during the milling process, according to the University of Minnesota Extension Service. This organic herbicide is high in protein and contains 10 percent nitrogen. Not only will corn meal gluten not harm animals and humans, but it is a common ingredient in feed for pets and livestock.
A pre-emergence organic herbicide kills dandelion seeds before they sprout. Though corn meal gluten will not actively kill existing weeds, weeds die on their own each season. As perennial weeds re-sprout after their first season, corn meal gluten will kill the seeds that spread during the previous season, causing a decrease in the dandelion weed population. Apply organic corn meal gluten in the type you prefer such as pellets or powder. At a rate of 1 lb. per 50 square feet of grass, make an application in April or May and follow up with a second application during August. Irrigate with just enough water to moisten the corn meal so it will combine with soil, according to the University of Minnesota Extension Service.
Organic dandelion weed killers do not annihilate weeds or seeds on contact the way synthetic chemicals do. Organic herbicides require more patience, though they are still effective. The dandelion weed population will decrease every year. You will see the achievement of solid control by the fourth year of consistent corn meal gluten application, according to the University of Minnesota Extension Service.
As of 2010, corn meal gluten is not as popular or as available as chemical herbicides. Due to lower supply and demand, prices may exceed other control methods. Additionally, ideal conditions promote the effectiveness of corn meal gluten, but when excess moisture like rain comes into play, you might experience reduced control.
If you are experiencing isolated problems, consider other organic dandelion weed killers. You can remove dandelions by hand. Remove the entire plant, including the roots. The addition of organic mulch, like compost, to your garden suffocates dandelion seeds and prevents weed formation. Store-bought vinegar is an organic home remedy that will kill the present weed to the ground but will not prevent re-growth the following season, so repeated applications are necessary.