Corn Meal / Organic Treatment for Fungus

Corn Meal / Organic Treatment for Fungus

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jsouth – posted 27 September 2006 20:46

I have SA grass which seems to becoming more susceptible each year to what appears to be Leaf Spot and/or Take All Rot. Been treating with various chemical remedies but it does not appear to be a long term solution. Is the Cornmeal strategy something that is a recurring application? If so, how often? And how long do you have to wait after using chemical fungicides? Finally, is there any point in doing anything for fungal problems this late in the year (NorthEast FL).

hankhill – posted 29 September 2006 23:07

Speaking of cornmeal, I applied some traditional systemic fungicide (myclobutanil)but have not been very impressed with the results. I called a feed store and havea source for a bag of cornmeal. However, there are two concerns I have:

(1) Will I have to take extra measures with the cornmeal to prevent it from attracting rodents, etc. After all, poison in the garage is no big deal, but food is going to attract God knows what.

(2) Won’t the birds just eat the cornmeal as soon as I throw it down? I don’t feel like feeding birds.

[This message has been edited by hankhill (edited 29 September 2006).]

cohiba – posted 30 September 2006 08:43

I tried the cornmeal a few years ago. I bought a big bag and had at least two applications on hand. I opened the bag and regretted my purchase immediately. The stuff is too dusty for me. I had to apply it with a broadcast spreader, big mistake there. I ended up with corn meal all over me, the house, the patio furniture and the cars. I applied it in the morning when dew was on the turf afterwards my feet looked like giant pastries. The dew and corn meal had mixed together. I spent the next hour or so rinsing down the house, the cars, the patio and a little bit of the nieghbors house down wind. I hosed myself off and threw away the sneakers.

All that I still got crabgrass.

I think cornmeal is a good organic fertilizer, nothing more. If it does work to suppress crabgrass it works in that it helps keep the turf canopy thick and therefore shades out the crabgrass seeds from sprouting.

All that being said….I did see some mouse activity in the shed after the bag was opened. I didn’t see any animal activity after it was applied. I also saw a larger than normal cricket activity. Why, I have no idea.

If you do it: 1. Apply with a drop spreader, over dry turf on a calm day with bare feet in shorts. 2. Water it in.3. Store it in a cool, dry space. In a closed container or a trash can.

I won’t go there again…………..

hankhill – posted 30 September 2006 19:32

I was interested in it more as an anti-fungal than a crabgrass supressant, butyour experience is noted. I too tried a broadcast spreader when I first bought thehouse, but quickly returned it for a drop spreader, mostly because it flung stuff onthe sidewalks and driveway where it could stain.

[This message has been edited by hankhill (edited 30 September 2006).]

TexanOne – posted 01 October 2006 02:50

The horticultural cornmeal I applied got rid of the TARR symptoms quickly – within 2 weeks or so. The SA is looking nice and green again. Overall, I recommend it.

However, cornmeal is very messy indeed. I too used a rotary spreader and had about the same messy results as cohiba, so be sure to apply it with a drop spreader for you will wear more of it than you apply to the grass (or you will believe you are wearing more!).

From my personal viewpoint, I won’t use chemical fungicides anymore because I had very limited success with them. I figure the cornmeal mess is just something I have to put up with to have good-looking SA. I don’t think the birds can feed on it because it is more of a powder than a granular texture. Apply at 20 lbs / 1000 sq ft.

hankhill – posted 03 October 2006 02:37

The guys at Lesco claim that cornmeal doesn’t work, as do some websites Ivisited. I’m interested in it specifically for “brown patch” abatement. I’ll give it atry because I don’t know where the truth lies on this one. However, the cornmeal isgetting the same treatment as the nuts I use to bait the squirrel traps. Stored insidethe house, sealed in 5gal buckets to prevent the odor from attracting pests.

[This message has been edited by hankhill (edited 03 October 2006).]

TexanOne – posted 12 October 2006 13:25

Whether corn meal works or not depends on who you talk to I think. Some folks swear by it – some say it worthless. My one-time experience was good, but maybe the environmental conditions changed at about the same time – who knows? After I applied it at 20 lbs / 1000 sq ft, the TARR symptoms quickly disappeared, but I must admit autumn conditions started at the same time of application with cooler temperatures which may have stopped the progression of the fungus.

One of the local nursery owners with about 40 years of personal experience told me corn meal is even better than chemical fungicides he used to carry and recommend.

I was sufficiently pleased enough with the results of the one-time application to at least try it next spring as a preventative measure. By next summer, I will probably be able to say from my own experience if corn meal is as good as advertised.

The “messiness factor” of using horticultural corn meal is definitely one of the downsides of the product – this I can tell you for sure. Also, I noticed that in addition to the corn meal in the bag, you get thousands of weevil bugs at no extra charge. I think they are harmless, but it was a little disconcerting to be spreading all those little critters around the lawn with the corn meal.

hankhill – posted 12 October 2006 17:12

No worries. Triazicide I put down for thecinch bugs and fire ants would make quickwork of the weevils.

Dchall_San_Antonio – posted 02 December 2006 16:37

I hardly ever come here because, in the distant past, the organic antagonism was just too much. But I see there is some tolerance on this thread so I’ll try to clear up some things and help out.

Corn meal is a fertilizer and organic antifungal material with very weak preemergent herbicidal qualities.

Corn gluten meal is a fertilizer and a stronger preemergent herbicide than corn meal.

Both are dusty, but I’d much rather be dusty than poison my pets and children. I apply corn meal by hand – I throw it at my daughters and they throw it back at me. Clearly I’m more interested in the fun aspect than having the perfectly fertilized lawn.

A good application rate for corn meal as an antifungal agent is 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. It takes about 3 full weeks (that’s 21 days if you’re trying to speed things up) before you realize it’s working. As a fertilizer you can go up to 30 pounds per 1,000 square feet without problems.

Corn gluten meal should be used at a rate of 40 pounds per 1,000 square feet, applied over a course of 3 months in several applications. That will both fertilize and keep the weeds from taking root.

I never store organic materials over the winter. I’ve learned that the hard way. By spring it will be full of bugs, not rats, bugs. I still use it, bugs and all, but it’s icky. If you freeze it, the bugs and eggs will die, so that’s an option – freeze it one gallon at a time and store in a clean bin. I store it in Rubbermaid bins once I get it home.

cohiba – posted 05 December 2006 18:56

D chall,

I was glad to see you respond. I was wondering where you were.

I agree that there is alot of pro chemical people on here, myself included. However, your opinions are missed and are relevant for all turf enthusiasts. I sincerely hope you stick around to present your findings and insight with organics.

Welcome back…………….

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