Bird Seed That Won’t Sprout Weeds

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Looking for a way to feed the birds without turning your lawn into a tiny jungle? Here’s how you can stop bird food from becoming the new wild weed. 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 … There are many no-waste bird foods that can make feeding the birds easy and convenient without the mess.

8 Proven Strategies to Stop
Bird Seed from Sprouting in Your Lawn!

Looking for a way to feed the birds without turning your lawn into a tiny jungle? Here’s how you can stop bird food from becoming the new wild weed.

David A. Swanson

What’s This Post About?

If you’re an avid bird watcher and wish to turn your lawn into any bird’s favorite B&B, this post is for you. Most people that put out bird feeders and regularly fill them up with bird seeds, are struck with just one problem: How to keep bird seeds from sprouting in your lawn?

Unwanted bird seeds can sprout wildly and ruin the whole idea of a well-kept, well-mowed backyard. For those interested in making sure the birds are fed and the lawn looks gorgeous, we have a couple of tips to prevent any unwanted plantations to make room in your lawn.

To prevent bird seed from sprouting and the growth of stray weeds in your lawn, you can use sterilized seeds, seed catchers, or even tube feeders to solve the problem. These strategies will ensure the birds are fed and your backyard and lawn look beautiful.

How to Keep Bird Seed from Sprouting in Your Lawn?

To keep bird seed from sprouting in your lawn use a seed catcher to catch extra seeds. Otherwise, use sterilized seeds which will never sprout.

To put it simply, there are only two main concerns. The first being, how to prevent seeds from making a mess in your backyard? Or! Even if they do fall, how to keep bird seeds from sprouting in your lawn?

The first strategy focuses on the ways to prevent the birds from dropping the seeds in your lawn while they eat. For this, you can simply attach a seed catcher, just below the bird feeder, on the pole, to catch the excess.

The second strategy focuses on the termination of the sprouting process. How to do this? Use sterilized seeds! Its literally as simple as that. You can either buy sterilized seeds off the market or sterilize them at home by yourself.

Either way, even if the seeds fall into your lawn, the germination will never occur. Hence, maintaining the integrity of your backyard.

If you would like to read up on this in more detail, read through the post as we uncover the numerous other ways on how to keep bird seeds from sprouting in your lawn, and how you can go about each one of them on your own, to prevent your lawn from looking shabby and untidy.

1. Use Sterilized Seeds

Sterilized seeds are your lawn’s non-sprouting best friend.

A very easy way to avoid bird seed sprouting is to feed your backyard birds some sterilized seeds. More specifically: Nyjer

Nyjer seeds are sterilized at high temperatures to prevent them from germinating. They are in some way ‘dead seeds’ and will therefore, not sprout even if they fall into the soil while the birds feed.

While all seeds that are available in the market are not sterilized, if you wish to buy a certain brand of seeds, you can sterilize them at home, on your own.

To do this, simply bake the seeds in a preheated oven at 250f for 15 minutes.

You can also microwave your seeds on a high setting for 5 minutes. However, this has been reported to often cause bird seeds to burn. Try to microwave over small intervals of time and place the seeds in a clean jar under a damp towel to see if they germinate.

Once the seeds are sterilized, they are ready to be put out for the birds to feed on, without any stress of possible stray weeds in your lawn.

2. Feed Them Their Favorite Seeds

Birds are slightly picky eaters. Feed them only what they love.

Most bird seeds available in the market are filled with filler seeds. These are cheap, stale seeds mixed with good quality seeds for a bulk effect.

Birds usually pick out only their favorite, fresh seeds from the feeder to have, and enjoy. In this picking process, the unwanted seeds fall out of the feeder, into the lawn and, eventually sprout.

To prevent this, use only fresh seeds for your feeders. To know which ones your birds like, observe them closely.

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Put out different seeds in separate feeders, to see which ones get eaten the most. Once you’re certain, use only those seeds in the feeders, to avoid recurrent spillage.

Never feed birds wet seeds. Not only will they chuck them away, if accidentally ingested these can be dangerous for some birds.

3. Use Tube Feeders

One seed per bird feed will keep the mess away.

Some birds, such as the chickadees, nuthatches and titmouses, eat only one seed at a time.

They do this by only picking out one sunflower seed, and flying to a nearby branch to crack it open and devour the kernel inside.

For these birds, it is best to use tube feeders, not only will this avoid unnecessarily spillage, it will also be far easier for the birds in your neighborhood to eat through such convenient feeders, as they won’t be able to accidentally pull out more than one seed at a time.

If you’re looking to buy these tube feeders for your lawn, explore the Droll Yankees A-6RP Classic Ring Pull Sunflower Seed Bird Feeder on Amazon.

Droll Yankees A-6RP Classic Ring Pull Sunflower Seed Bird Feeder

This awesome tube bird feeder holds up to 1 pound of birdseed!

4. Make Sure Your Bird Feeder is Stable

The more stable your feeder, the more miniscule the spillage.

A bird seeder that swings, is crooked or is placed on an uneven platform can be one major reason for causing a large amount of bird seeds to fall out into your lawn.

If the birds jump excitedly on an already crooked bird feeder, this might further worsen the situation.

You can stabilize your bird feeders in the following ways:

  • Use a shorter and wider bird feeder.
  • Place anchors or weights beneath the bird feeder.
  • Shorten the hanger of the bird feeder.

If the pole of the bird feeder is mobile:

  • Buy a broader and shorter pole.
  • Buy a heavier feeder, lighter ones are more mobile with the wind.

5. Use a Seed Catcher

Catch ‘em before they sprout.

This one is highly effective. If you are worried about constant bird seed spillage in your backyard, get yourself a seed catcher. These are broad metal, wood or mesh trays that catch any discarded seeds that may drop off from your feeder.

Birds while feeding, usually break the seeds before they eat them, the hulls of those seeds, therefore fall off the feeder and into your lawn. Seed catchers can catch these hulls as well.

The area beneath your feeder will remain far cleaner by using a seed catcher. You can explore this high rated (4.2 out of 5 stars) seed catcher on Amazon.

Songbird Essentials SEIA30024 Seed Hoop Seed Catcher

I wholeheartedly recommend this Seed Hoop Seed Catcher & Platform Feeder

6. Add Some Pavers

Concrete is easier to clean, add pavers under your bird feeder.

If buying seed catchers or sorting through bird seeds is not something you’re into, you can alter the landscape of your bird feeders.

Since the ground under the feeders will have some spillage regardless, one way to fix the problem is by cleaning it up. To make your lives easier, add pavers.

Pavers will make any seed spillage, easier to clean up. If in case some seeds fall through the cracks, they can easily be pulled out.

7. Use Low Platform Bird Feeders

Reduce the area of ground your seeds can cover by concentrating them to smaller corners.

Sparrows and towhees like to feed by kicking the ground in search of food. These birds are platform feeders.

Though low platform bird feeders will not avoid seed spillage, it will however make sure that the spillage remains to a more confined area.

This way, birds such as sparrows can look for these seed concentrated areas specifically, and kick around the soil to have as many as they can find.

This will clean up some spillage in your lawn and avoid any wild sprouting.

8. Regular Cleanup is Important!

Lawns require daily cleaning to avoid weeds.

To avoid the sprouting of any bird seeds, you can simply, clean up the spillage before they sprout.

To do this, you may need an outdoor vacuum cleaner or a blower. This way, the seeds will be off the lawn before they germinate, preventing any wild plantations in your backyard.

If you’re looking for a vacuum, you can check out this brilliant post aboutUS-Based Vacuum Cleaners!

Alternate Solutions

Make the mess look deliberate.

Although some may be perfectionists when it comes to their lawn looking absolutely spick and span, there may be another way for those who would prefer more low maintenance strategies to making their lawn look tidy.

To those I say: Accept the mess! And let your bird seeds grow wild!

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If you place your bird feeders at the far end or a cozy corner in your lawn, and plant some wildflowers just beneath the feeder? The sprouting seeds might just add to the wilderness effect and make your lawn look both put together and wild at the same time.

The effect is a beautiful stark contrast to a manmade lawn and a wild jungle corner. Trust us, try it and you won’t regret it!

To create a ‘wilderness corner’, you can plant: Day lilies, clematis, lupines, dahlias, mint or even lemon balm for a more pre-planned natural effect.

Keep Reading!

The aforementioned strategies are a sure-shot way on how to keep bird seeds from sprouting in your lawn. Whether you choose a manual cleanup, or an automatic seed catcher, it’s up to you.

Either way, preventing the germination of bird seeds in your lawn will just require some time and care. Remember that the gardening and maintaining process is not one of haste, effort is always required for the best results.

In the meanwhile, if you are also exploring options in figuring out which feeder is best for hummingbirds in particular, then read our post here.

Best Bird Feeders for Hummingbirds: The 13 Top Rated Feeders

Are you a hummingbird lover? Make this adorable little bird visit your garden by adding one of these top-rated feeders to your backyard.

By David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I’m the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I’ve become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I’ve learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I’m the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I’ve become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I’ve learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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

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

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.

Nyjer Thistle

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 Tips

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.

See also  Regular Weed Seeds

No Waste Bird Foods

Melissa Mayntz is a bird expert, certified Master Naturalist, writer, and author with over three decades of experience. She’s published in several national magazines, including National Wildlife Magazine, Bird Watcher’s Digest, and WildBird Magazine. Melissa has studied hundreds of bird species around the world, traveling to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the central Pacific, the Middle East, and more on birding expeditions.

theilr / Flick / CC by-SA 2.0

Feeding birds can be an enjoyable hobby, but it can also be a messy one as layers of hulls and discarded seeds accumulate under feeders, on decks, and across patios. By choosing no waste bird foods, however, that mess can be avoided and the birds will enjoy every morsel of available food.

What Makes Bird Feeding Messy

Birds are naturally messy eaters, and feeding birds for a long time can lead to dirty feeders and messy ground beneath those feeders. Unappetizing seeds will be kicked out and discarded, and birds drop hulls as they feed. Discarded seed can mold and rot, or it may sprout beneath the bird feeder, leading to undesirable weeds or damaging turf. A messy feeding area can attract pests and may result in fines or other sanctions in HOA communities. Birders who choose no waste bird foods will avoid many of these problems while giving their birds the best, most nutritious foods.

Types of No Waste Bird Foods

No-waste bird food is a type of food that birds completely consume, with no leftover hulls or uneaten pieces. There are natural no waste foods, such as floral nectar, insects, small berries, small nuts, and crabapples that birds can swallow whole. Offering these natural foods is the ideal way to keep feeding areas clean and to economize a bird feeding budget.

For supplemental bird feeders, there is a wide variety of no waste, no mess options, including:

    hearts or chips (check ingredients to be sure there are no hulls in the blend)
  • Hulled millet
  • Shelled peanuts or orange marmalade (use only sparingly as rare “treats”)

These foods can be purchased individually or in specialized no waste or no mess seed blends, often with different compositions designed to attract different types of birds. While these no waste blends are more expensive than traditional birdseed, they can be a more economical option overall because birders are not paying for the weight of hulls or filler seeds birds will not eat.

Benefits of No Waste Foods

The most obvious benefit of no waste bird foods is that the birds are able to eat the entire quantity of food. This can mean feeders need less frequent refilling, and cleaning the feeders is easier because there is no need to remove unwanted debris. Because no waste birdseed has no hulls, the seeds are also unable to sprout and there will be no unintentional weeds or damage under the feeders. With less seed spilled to the ground, fewer feeder pests such as mice, rats, raccoons, squirrels, deer, and other animals will be attracted to the area.

Tips for Feeding No Waste Foods

Because no waste birdseed and other foods are typically more expensive than basic seed blends, it is important to feed them as economically as possible and to care for the seed so it is not wasted in other ways.

    so it will stay fresh and dry as long as possible, free from rodent or insect infestations. Storing birdseed in a freezer or refrigerator can ensure it stays fresh and is not contaminated by pests.
  • Use no waste birdseed on decks, balconies, patios, or other areas where mess is undesirable, but use less expensive seed elsewhere to lower the bird feeding budget and offer more feeding options for more birds.
  • Use platforms under feeders so any unintentional waste is minimized and larger birds can feed from the platform to clean up spillage. This will also create extra feeding space to accommodate flocks. with suitable placement and covers, since hulled seeds will spoil more quickly when wet. On rainy days, consider leaving feeders empty to avoid mildewed or damp seed.
  • Buy different no waste seeds and foods in bulk and create customized seed mixes rather than paying for expensive manufactured blends. This ensures the seeds offered are perfect for exactly the backyard birds that visit.

No mess bird seed and other no waste bird foods are ideal choices for feeding birds and eliminating much of the mess that comes with bird feeding. By choosing these high-quality, desirable foods, birders can attract a wide range of birds to their feeders without needing to clean up after them.

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