Using corn meal on St Augustine

watersbrian1September 23, 2013

I decided i'm going to try and use corn meal as a treatment for my dying St Augustine but just had a few questions. My obvious first question is what the the correct way to apply corn meal? Put it in a spreader? I know its generally 20 lbs per 1000SF, but still not sure how to physically spread it over the lawn. And, once you are finished spreading are you supposed to soak it into the ground? Would it be best to apply before rain, or are sprinklers sufficient?

Thanks for the help!

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Have you diagnosed the reason your grass is dying? And what exactly is corn meal supposed to do? I remember years ago people thought it might control turf fungal disease, but hasn't that been debunked by now?

In any case, if the turf is covered in fungus, it's too late to treat.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:28AM
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Thank you for the response. I was under the assumption that using cornmeal on brown patch disease on St Augustine would help stop the spread of the fungus to existing St Augustine. I was not aware that it has been debunked. At first I thought it was a chinch bug infestation, but after two treatments for that the dead areas kept spreading. A local nursery informed me it looked like brown patch disease, so I started researching ways to help stop the spread, which is where I found the cornmeal solution.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Depends on who you want to believe and what you want to hear. Several university studies (TX A&M, Washington State, Michigan State, and Virgina Tech) have not been able to conclude corn meal has any fungicidal properties or of any benefit other than corn meal is a very mild extra slow release very expensive fertilizer and critter food.

I suggest reading this to get a handle on your problem.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 2:25PM
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i 'thought' i read that CM feeds the good fungi that prey upon on the bad (brown patch) fungi?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 10:56AM
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I wonder how many people are still confusing corn meal with corn gluten meal. They are not the same thing, and years ago when Iowa State made that big splash about CGM being a good preemergent treatment, people began to confuse the two.

BTW, I did the CGM thing on our lawn for a few years, to no good. I should have stopped after the first season because it was real expensive.

Then I heard that cornmeal was a good fungicide and tried it, but the fact that there was no fungus where I threw it doesn't mean a thing. That isn't "research". That's anecdotal, and I never buy into the anecdotal theories.

In any case, fungicides are only for preventive applications on turf.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 1:08PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Every time someone refers to Dr Chalker-Scott's and Dr Parsons' attempts to debunk the supposed myth that corn meal does not work, I try to reestablish what I believe to be the truth that it works. The reason I believe it works is it has been the only treatment that has consistently worked in my yard, year after year, since 2002. It is working again for me this year.

MulchMama, if you don't want to buy into anecdotes, then you are in the wrong forum. This is not a peer reviewed journal. It is; however, a peer reviewed forum. We are our own peers. We are a community of people who try things to see if they work. Then some of us peers report what we found so that other peers can try it to see if it works. The general consensus for corn meal is that there is no consensus. Some people have successful and repeatable results and some don't. The more we get information from both sets of people the quicker we might get to the bottom of the issue. One thing that does not seem to work is when you apply a chemical fungicide prior to applying the corn meal. The big problem in the south is for most of the year it is too warm to use any chemical fungicides. With no other option, corn meal is certainly worth a try.

I agree that using a product that is intended to kill fungus when there is no fungus is not very good research. If you would like to try corn meal for an actual fungus, it it might change your mind.

I agree that CGM does not work for weed control. If you read the research, it only barely works and then only under very specific circumstances. I believe it to be a practical joke and a way for Iowa State to make $0.10 per pound on the sale of cattle feed when licensed for lawns. I used CGM as a fertilizer once a month at a rate of 20-30 pounds per 1,000 square feet, every month for an entire growing season in 2011. Although the lawn looked better than ever, I did not notice any fewer weeds. By the end of the season I had used about 400 pounds per 1,000 square feet and still had weeds. I'm not sure what circumstances are required for CGM to stop weed seed production, but I would have thought that would do it.

In answer to the original question, yes, sprinklers are fine. You don't have to saturate the soil, but wet it down and leave it be for a week. And spread it any way you want to. I have done it by hand most of the time, but any spreader it will flow through is fine.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 3:59AM
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