How To Keep Bird Seed From Sprouting Birds love the food we put out for them, and most bird watchers will enjoy watching the use the feeders which are out for them. Birds really love nuts and What Kind of Birdseed Won’t Make Grass Grow?. Watching the antics of birds hopping on feeders and battling over seed is one of the many reasons to feed wild birds. Unfortunately, if you choose the wrong seed or don’t follow good feeding habits, you can end up with a mess of weeds around your feeders. Birds … Stop bird seed from sprouting in your yard with these simple tricks.
How To Keep Bird Seed From Sprouting
Birds love the food we put out for them, and most bird watchers will enjoy watching the use the feeders which are out for them. Birds really love nuts and seeds but the downside to putting these out is that spilled seed can sprout and start growing where we don’t want it to.
Having to weed out shoots you don’t want does take away some of the enjoyment of putting the food out in the first place. There are a few things you can do to stop your bird seed from landing on the grass and sprouting.
How To Protect Your Garden From Bird Seed
There’s no way to stop birds from dropping seeds. As they feed, seeds will fall out of the feeder and the birds will simply carry on feeding.
Here are a few ways you can limit how much seeds lands on your garden.
Check The Feeder
- If you’re using a platform feeder, you may find it’s not as secure as you thought, or it may be at an angle. If the feeder isn’t flat, seed could easily fall when the birds land on it.
- Ideally your feeder needs a raised edge as this can help prevent seeds from being blown off the table if it’s windy.
- You should also make sure you do not put too much seed on or in your feeder. If it overflows, the seed will soon pile up on the ground.
One simple way to stop the seed from falling to the ground is to fit a seed catcher. You can buy seed catchers for most types of feeder or you could make your own. All you need is something that fits below the feeder ready to catch anything that falls off it.
Divide Up The Garden
For most people the problem with bird seed sprouting is that it gets in to the grass and spoils the lawn.
One great way to protect the lawn is to have a separate area for feeding birds. This can be set up with patio slabs or decking placed around the area where your feeders will be. This means the seeds will not sprout and it makes it easy for you to sweep them up to deter unwanted visitors to your garden.
Check Your Seed
When you put food out, you want to make sure there is as little waste, so you need to find a way to make sure that the birds eat as much as possible.
- While birds may not be the tidiest of eaters, they may be trying to tell you something if you look closely at the seeds on the ground. If you notice that most of the discarded seeds are the same type, it may simply be that the birds don’t like them. They can’t tell you this, so they do the next best thing and throw them away to get to the seeds they like. If you spot this, try using a different seed mix which does not have those seeds in.
- Some companies offer ‘no waste’ bird seed. Some seeds such as sunflower seeds have an outer layer which the birds chip away to get to the seed inside. This hull is then discarded on the ground. ‘No waste’ seed mixes have seeds which have already been hulled so the birds will eat everything with a lot less mess. Be careful when purchasing ‘no waste’ bird seed as some companies add chemicals to the mix to stop them from sprouting, and this can damage both the seeds and the birds.
- Suet mixes are also a good way to stop seeds falling on the ground. The suet holds the seeds together and the birds love the taste of suet so they’ll eat all that as well.
You can also try using seeds which will not germinate if they fall on the ground. Some examples of these are black oil sunflower chips or nyjer seeds.
Take a look at the YouTube video below for some additional tips to stop bird seed from sprouting!
Sterilize The Seed
Some experts don’t recommend this as they say it spoils the nutritional benefits of the seeds, but there is no evidence which actually suggests this.
Sterilizing the seeds simply means they will not germinate and the easiest way to do this is to heat them.
- Oven: in an oven, place the seed on a baking sheet and cook or 30 minutes at 300 degrees.
- Microwave: Place the seed in a paper bag and microwave for 5 minutes on high.
Always leave the seeds to cool properly before placing in your feeder.
It’s not always easy to clean up discarded seeds every day, but try to keep the area around your feeders as clean and tidy as possible. This not only prevents them from sprouting, but stops them going moldy and will prevent creatures you don’t want in your yard from coming to feed.
- If you leave the feeder empty for a day, the birds may find the seeds on the ground and dispose of them for you.
- Raking the grass can help but if the seeds are small then an outdoor vacuum may be better.
Once you know you won’t have to deal with sprouting seeds, you can sit back and relax, enjoying the birds as they visit your garden.
Birds are fantastic creatures, with such a great presence in every culture around the globe, and are one of the crucial elements of the equilibrium of all land-based ecosystems. They are an inspiration, and a living treasure of our planet.
What Kind of Birdseed Won’t Make Grass Grow?
Watching the antics of birds hopping on feeders and battling over seed is one of the many reasons to feed wild birds. Unfortunately, if you choose the wrong seed or don’t follow good feeding habits, you can end up with a mess of weeds around your feeders. Birds know what they like and will pick through seed mixes to find what they want, leaving the discarded seeds to sprout. Choosing the right seed can keep your garden tidy as you continue to feed your avian visitors.
No Waste Mixes
Most wild bird mixes found in stores that don’t specialize in birdseed contain an abundance of milo and millet. While some birds such as juncos and sparrows love millet, many other species will pick through, trying to get to other items in the mix. Few birds eat milo. As the birds pick through the mix, millet and milo fall to the ground and will eventually sprout into grass-like weeds. To avoid this, visit a store that specializes in wild bird food and choose a mix specially designed for what the birds in your area prefer. The food may cost more, but much less will make its way to the ground to become a weed.
Sunflower chips are hulled sunflower seeds that are chopped into pieces. With the kernel hulled and chopped, the seed won’t sprout. Sunflower chips make an excellent feeder choice because they are one of the top seed choices by a variety of birds including jays, woodpeckers, finches, grosbeaks and chickadees.
Cracked corn consists of dried corn that is split into pieces. Unlike whole kernels of corn, the pieces of cracked corn can no longer sprout. Jays, doves, quail, sparrows and even ducks are attracted to feeders that contain cracked corn.
Although it sounds like a weed, nyjer thistle is not the standard thistle with the purple bloom that gardeners try to keep out of their yards. Nyjer thistle is a small black seed favored by birds such as finches, juncos and pine siskins. Quality nyjer thistle is typically heated so it won’t sprout. If a few plants do sprout, they rarely grow to a mature plant in North America.
Feeding your birds wisely helps reduce seed waste and therefore helps control any likelihood of grass or other weeds growing under your feeders. Using a bird feeder with a seed-catching tray underneath helps catch any discarded seed before it hits the ground. Providing one type of seed in each feeder will keep birds from picking through mixes to find the type of seed they like. In addition to seed, set out fruit, suet and hummingbird feeders to attract a wide array of wild birds.
Stopping Bird Seed From Sprouting in Your Yard
It’s a common occurrence. You start noticing small sprouts under your feeder. Weeds begin growing. Small critters are coming around more often. Then, you see—eek!—a rat scurrying about.
While bird feeders are designed to beautify your yard by bringing in ebullient birds, spilled bird seed can be destroy your lawn and make the place look like a mess. Fortunately, the solutions for stopping a lot of bird seed from spilling out of the bird feeder onto your lawn are easy.
Get a bird-seed catcher
Believe it or not, the main reason so much bird seed falls out of feeder is because birds are naturally messy eaters. It’s hard to blame them considering they don’t have any hands or a real jaw. So, in order to stop the birds from making a mess, employ the same tactic you would when trying to prevent a baby from getting food on its clothes—create a buffer. You can do this by attaching a bird-seed catcher to your feeder, which does exactly what its name implies; it catches the bird seed before it hits the ground. Depending on the type of catcher you get, sometimes birds will even eat off of that.
Stabilize the bird feeder
Another reason seed might scatter around your yard is because of wind or general movement from the birds. If a gust of wind comes along and blows one of your hanging feeders, a huge amount of seed could spill out. That’s why you should consider stabilizing the feeder with bird poles or other mounting equipment if it’s becoming a big issue.
Avoid using mixed-seed bargain bags
Even though birds are messy, that might not be the only reason you see them dropping seed all over the lawn. They might be protesting and throwing their food on the ground. As I’ve written before, birds are pretty picky when it comes to the type of seed they eat. Birds particularly dislike those mixed-seed bargain bags because they’re packed with filler seed. So, avoid those when you can.
Opt for “no waste” bird seed blends
On a related note, black oil sunflower seeds are great alternatives to mixed-seed bags since birds tend to eat almost all of it. However, if you get the seeds, birds will still make a mess and drop the cracked hulls. Luckily, some seed companies make what’s called “no waste” bird seed blends. These types of seeds will be completely eaten without a mess. Some examples of these are shelled peanuts, hulled sunflower chips, suet and more.
Sterilize the bird seed
Finally, if you don’t mind it falling on the ground, but you don’t want it to sprout, sterilize the bird seed before you put it out. This will prevent any seeds from sprouting. To sterilize the seed, simply put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. This essentially cooks it and stops it from germinating. This will not change any of the nutritional value of the seed either.