What is a Pre Emergent Herbicide?

Pre Emergent Herbicide

A pre emergent herbicide is a herbicide (plant killer) or chemical or agent that prevents seeds from germinating or growing. The idea is to prevent weeds in lieu of killing them after they grow which is always more difficult and time consuming.

One of the most effective and common types of pre emergents is Corn Gluten Meal. You can buy it at your local nursery or online. It’s not that cheap, like $35 for a 25 lb bag which really doesn’t go that far. It sounds like a huge bag.

Here’s a link if you want to buy Corn Gluten Meal online…Corn Gluten Meal at Amazon.com

I like Corn Gluten Meal because it is 100% organic and safe to use anywhere AND it works really well at preventing weeds and grass. The protein in corn meal (not gluten) inhibits root growth/formation on newly germinated seeds. The seedlings end up dying rather quickly.

How Do You Use Corn Gluten Meal?

You need to spread it over any area that you do not want weeds or grass to grow in. Then you wet it down and let it dry for 5-7 days. You must reapply the corn gluten meal every 3 months.

When I used it in my front and backyard, it worked really well. I just have to remember to buy more and apply it every 3 months. I wish it was cheap like compost.

How to Get Rid of Weeds

How do you get rid of weeds?

This is a great question and everyone could benefit from these answers.

I own a house with a smallish yard, 47′ x 110′ with desert landscaping in the front and dirt in the backyard. Whenever it rains, I get an instant jungle in the front and backyard after about a week. It’s insane!

The best weed solution is prevention. Which I failed to do before the monsoon season in Arizona. If you spread a pre-emergent or better known as Corn Gluten once per quarter, you will head off weeds. The corn gluten stops seeds from germinating and wah lah…no new weeds or grass. You spread corn gluten on your entire lawn and then wet it down with a hose. Now it needs to dry for a week. The good thing about corn gluten is it enhances the soil and fertilizes the existing plants. It’s good for plants but bad for seeds. It will not kill existing weeds or grass.

So if you already have lots of weeds, here are some ways to get rid of them.

  1. Boiling Water – boiling water will kill any type of plant. Just boil a pot of water and then pour it on top of the weed or weeds or grass. You will see it start to die in about 24 hours.
  2.  Salt and Boiling Water – if you add salt to boiling water and pour it on weeds or grass, it will kill them and stop any plant from growing in that spot. I add about a 1/2 cup of salt to about 2 quarts of boiling water. The measurement is not that important. You can just wing it. The salt remains in the soil and will kill any plant that tries to grow there. If you have desert landscaping, this is a great permanent solution to weeds without harsh chemicals.
  3. Vinegar – 20-30% vinegar will kill weeds and grass in hours if it’s hot and sunny. You can almost watch them die. Strong vinegar (not houshold 5% vinegar), either 20% or 30% is great stuff for weeding. It’s good for the soil but not for your skin or concrete. Vinegar is a strong acid and will burn your skin and eyes. It will also dissolve concrete. Just be careful when spraying it on weeds. It will burn your eyes if the mist blows in your face. 30% vinegar is kind of expensive at about $30 for a gallon.
  4. Pull them – the old fashion way of getting rid of weeds still occurs in my neighborhood. There is an easy way and a hard way to pull weeds. The hard way is to just go out and pull them with a screwdriver and some gloves. Now the easy way….wet the area with weeds thoroughly. Let it soak and then pull the weeds. The water will soften the ground so you can pull the weeds and roots easily. If the ground is hard the weed will break off and grow back.
  5. Roundup Weed Killer – I know…people don’t like to use harsh chemicals…I don’t either BUT I learned something yesterday about herbicides (Roundup Weed Killer and others). Herbicides sold for home use must degrade in 14 days according to federal law. And most herbicides are designed to evaporate in 24-72 hours and after 3 days are virtually gone. So they do not remain in the soil for long periods of time. Just be careful when you spray them. Wear protective clothing and eye protection. I’m planning on setting up some box gardens in my backyard but was concerned about my past use of Roundup on weeds and grass in my yard. I haven’t used any herbicides for at least 6 months now. I’m glad its safe to start a garden and eat the vegetables.
  6. Solarize soil – solarizing your soil will kill everything including seeds. Solarizing is using the Sun’s heat to bake the soil and kill plants. You wet the area well and then cover it with 2 or 3 mil clear plastic and let it bake for 2-3 months. The edges of the plastic need to be pinned down or fastened down to keep the heat and moisture under the plastic. I have done this and it sterilizes the soil.
  7. Remove sunlight – If you remove all light from an area, the weeds/plants will die. So how do you do this? You cover the area with black plastic that is 4-5 mil thick. After about 1-2 months, everything will be dead. I have done this also. It works quite well but is not a fast solution however it takes care of a large area all at once.
  8. Mulch – mulching can eliminate weeds. I have used this method of weeding also. It does work. Here is how I did my weed mulching. My side yard was full of some grassy spots and lots of weeds. I placed newspaper on top of the weeds/grass and then wet it down. The wet newspaper stays put. I used 3 layers or pages of newspaper. I then covered the wet newspaper with Cedar Mulch at about 3 inches deep. About 90% of the weeds and grass died without doing anything else. The other 10% I had to kill with vinegar. I’ve had the Cedar mulch down for about 6 months now with no new weeds or grass. The Cedar mulch looks and smells nice. Another benefit is it got rid of all the crickets in my side yard. Bugs do not like the smell of Cedar.