Keep in mind that the birdseed won’t grow weeds in your yard if it doesn’t reach the ground. Putting a tray under your bird feeder to catch overflowing seeds can prevent the problem of weed growth. Although birds may be messy eaters, squirrels are sometimes a bigger problem. If you notice squirrels scattering seeds in your yard, consider another type of feeder that will prevent the squirrels from accessing the seeds.
All weeds are annoying, but some packages of birdseed have been identified as having numerous varieties of invasive weed seeds. When these seeds are scattered from a feeder and spread in the yard, they can quickly become a maintenance nightmare. To avoid purchasing bird seed containing noxious weeds, read the label or contact the seed manufacturer and find out what was done to ensure the contents are not invasive weed seeds. Birdseed that contains a lot of filler seed such as red millet may result in more weed growth because birds do not tend to like this type of seed. Instead of eating the filler, they push it aside and cause more to drop to the ground as they search for the seed they desire. Know what types of birdseed you are buying in a mix and if it is desirable to the birds you intend to attract.
When seeds are baked, they lose the ability to germinate. Some birdseed manufacturers sell baked birdseed. This type of seed will not cause weeds to grow in your yard but will still attract birds. Other types of bird food, such as sunflowers hearts, peanut butter, raisins, mealworm and suet cakes, will not sprout if scattered about your yard by messy eaters.
If you’re inviting flocks of birds to visit your yard by enticing them with birdseed, you may also be inviting weeds. When seed falls from the feeder to the ground there is potential for germination. This is not a problem with all types of bird food. By being a conscientious shopper you can enjoy the birds while avoiding additional weed growth.
Weeds are going to be an issue in any garden. Regularly monitoring your yard will give you an idea of what maintenance needs to be done. By doing this you can see where weeds are popping up and remove them before they flower and spread to other areas of the yard. They are also much easier to remove when they are small.
Select foods that won’t sprout, such as sunflower hearts, peanuts, peanut butter, raisins, mealworms, and plain suet cakes.
Not all of them grew, but plenty did. When they studied the weed seeds that fell to the ground beneath bird feeders, Dr. Jed Colquhoun and the other researchers found that “30 weed species sprouted in just 28 days. Between three and 17 weed species grew from each of the 10 brands of feed tested.”
Buy only treated wild bird food mixtures. Many manufacturers are now baking their products to kill weed seeds, using guidelines established by the US Department of Agriculture. So read product labels carefully to make certain you select a treated brand.
Bird feed contributes to the spread of aggressive weeds.
The 10 noxious weeds were buffalobur, bull thistle, Canada thistle, common ragweed, dodder, field bindweed, jointed goatgrass, kochia, puncturevine , and velvetleaf (a relatively new weed in Oregon that was found mostly growing under bird feeders).
In fact, when researchers at Oregon State University looked at 10 brands of wild bird feed commonly sold in retail stores, they found that they contained seeds from more than 50 species of weeds. including 10 that are on their state’s list of most noxious weeds.
Anyone who feeds birds in the backyard has had the experience of weeds — even tiny sunflowers — popping up in the grass beneath the feeder. Usually they’re readily mowed down. But you need to watch out, says the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), because some of those weeds can be pretty aggressive.
You can keep bird seed from sprouting by changing your seeds, changing your feeder, and changing your landscaping using the 14 tips that follow.
Almost all bird seed will sprout. If an unwanted plant is defined as a weed, then bird seed that sprouts is a weed. Some sprouting bird seed may look like grass at first. But bird seeds grow into whatever seed you are feeding: sunflowers, millet, wheat, milo, flax, rapeseed, canary seed. How do you keep bird seed from growing under your feeder?
14 Tips to keep bird seed from sprouting in your lawn
Wheat, rapeseed and canary seed are similar.
Since the ground under your feeders may be a mess anyway, add pavers. A square of 9 or 16 pavers set close together will be easy to sweep up. Seeds that fall in the cracks and sprout are easy to pull up.
Platform feeders are messy. Birds stand in the feeder with the seeds.