?Aerate lawns by renting an aerator or using a manual aerator. This increases the amounts of air, water and nutrients reaching plant roots.
?Apply Corn Gluten Meal (CGM) at the rate of 20 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft. CGM prevents fall weed seeds from germinating and provides nourishment to the existing grass. Corn Gluten Meal can be purchased at animal feed stores. http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/h531cornglutenmeal.html
?Leave the last cut of your lawn at least 2 ½ inches long. This helps protect the roots.
?Spread finished compost on low spots or the areas requiring more soil depth ? or all over your lawn, especially after aerating.
?Empty composters before the cold weather. Finished compost can be used to top dress gardens, in houseplants or lawn care. Compost that is not yet finished can be worked into vegetable beds after harvest (the freeze/thaw cycle will accelerate decomposition).
?Build a base of fall leaves about 12 inches deep at the bottom of your empty compost bin. Add to your composter as you normally would throughout the fall and winter.
?Use leaves as a first layer in newly emptied composters.
?Keep leaves handy to add to composter over the winter and in upcoming spring.
?Shred your leaves to reduce the volume and make them easier to handle. They will decompose much quicker once they are shredded. Run over small piles with the lawnmower or use a ?whipper-snipper? or grass trimmer inside a garbage can half filled with leaves.
?Chopped leaves can make a great mulch for winter protection of plants and shrubs.
?Leaves can be added directly to empty flower beds.
? Store leaves in large plastic bags. Add a little water (or snow!) and store untied until the Spring. The leaves will decompose faster if you add a shovelful of soil.
For more information on these and other Natural Gardening Solutions, contact the Waste Reduction Office. 1-888-689-6328 www.prrrdy.com
Corn gluten meal (CGM) is a natural substitute for synthetic pre-emergence herbicides. Pre-emergence herbicides attack seeds while they?re still in the ground, before the seedlings emerge from the soil. CGM is a by-product of commercial corn milling that contains the protein fraction of the corn. Its use poses no health risk to people or animals. In fact, because it is 60% protein, corn gluten meal is used as feed for cattle, poultry, fish, and dogs. In addition to the 60% protein, corn gluten meal is 10% nitrogen, by weight.
The use of corn gluten meal as an herbicide was discovered during turfgrass disease research conducted at Iowa State University. CGM was observed to prevent grass seeds from sprouting. Further research has shown that it also effectively prevents other seeds from sprouting, including seeds from many weeds such as crabgrass, chickweed, and even dandelions.