When wild birds land on your bird feeders and start eating, they drop seeds to the ground. These seeds can grow into different plants, including weeds. Here are some methods you can take to stop birdseed weeds from happening. Bird feed contributes to the spread of aggressive weeds.
Stop Birdseed Weeds From Happening
Using bird feeders is the most common way for people to attract different species of birds to their backyards. However, according to the Invasive Plant Science and Management study, you can face some unintended consequences.
Most birdseed mixes contain seeds that grow into troublesome weeds. Let’s discuss how to stop weeds caused by bird seeds.
How to Stop Weeds Caused by Birdseed?
When wild birds land on your bird feeders and start eating, they drop seeds to the ground. These seeds can grow into different plants, including weeds. Consider using the following methods to stop it from happening.
Use Sterilize Seeds
Sterilizing seeds refer to the practice of heating bird seeds so that they can’t sprout. Some people believe that it also affects the nutritional value of bird seeds, but no scientific evidence backs that claim.
Nyjer seed is probably the only type of seed that manufacturers do sterilize before selling. However, you can sterilize all types of seeds at your home. All you need to do is place the bag of your seeds into the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about half an hour.
You can also place your bird seeds into the microwave for about 5 to 8 minutes for the same purpose.
Buy High-Quality Birdseed Mixes
The cheaper the birdseed mix, the higher the filler seeds quantity. Therefore, it’s advisable to buy high-quality birdseed mixes that don’t contain any filler seeds that will grow into weeds.
Additionally, most birds also don’t like filler seeds and drop them to the ground. These discarded seeds are likely to sprout in your backyard.
Most wild birds like to avoid milo seeds. If they have other options available, they’ll just throw milo away on the ground. The same is the case with canary, wild buckwheat, and rapeseeds.
These are extremely cheap seeds, and manufacturers use them to sell their birdseed mixes at low prices.
Use Fresh Birdseed
Using fresh birdseeds also means that there will be fewer discarded seeds. Birds will eat most of them, allowing fewer seeds to sprout.
It’s also important to buy seeds that your birds can finish during a single season. It’s not advisable to use old seeds because they can breed mold and bacteria buildup.
Use No-Mess Seeds
You can buy birdseed mixes that come with no-waste on no-mess seeds. These mixes mostly contain nuts, dried fruits, cracked corn, peanut pieces, broken or hulled sunflower chips, hulled white millet, and sunflower seeds without hulls.
Most birds like to eat these seeds, and they also don’t sprout.
Install A Seed Catcher
Installing seed catchers under your bird feeder is another great way to stop weeds caused by bird seeds. You can buy stylish seed catchers to keep the seeds from reaching the ground.
Use the Right Feeder for Each Seed Type
Backyard birds such as nuthatches, titmice, and chickadees usually don’t eat any other food if sunflower seed is available. You can use these seeds in a tube bird feeder that comes with small ports. Birds will hammer each seed open to eat the kernel, and fewer seeds will be spilled.
Make the Ground Easy to Clean
You can make some changes to your landscape as well. You can add some flagstones or pavers under your bird feeders. It’ll prevent bird seeds from reaching the soil to sprout.
Keep Your Landscape Clean
Keeping your outdoor area clean is one of the most effective ways to stop weeds caused by bird seeds. Make a habit of cleaning spilled seeds and hulls before they can germinate.
You can also buy a high-quality outdoor vacuum cleaner to perform this task easily and quickly.
Do Bird Seeds Cause Weeds?
Yes, bird seeds can cause weeds.
According to a Cambridge study, researchers studied 98 different commercially found products, and 96 percent of them had weed seeds. Most interestingly, there were 29 different weed species used in those products.
So, most commercial birdseed mixes contain seeds that can grow into weeds, including water hemp, amaranth, wild buckwheat, foxtail, common ragweed, Kochia, and some pigweed species.x
What Kind of Plants Grow from Birdseed?
Different kinds of plants can grow from birdseeds.
The type of plants that can grow from bird seeds depends upon the seeds your birdseed mix contains. The most common are sunflower and safflower. However, most birdseed mixes contain filler seed species, including sorghum and millet, and they will grow into weeds.
How Do You Kill Birdseed Weeds?
You can kill birdseed weeds using multiple methods.
The most obvious way is to use your hand to pull the birdseed weeds out. Make sure that you wear safety equipment like gardening gloves.
You can also use old newspapers to cover birdseed weeds. It’ll keep weeds from getting sunlight, and they’ll die off. Pouring some boiling water over birdseed weeds is also an effective way to kill them.
The most effective way is to use mulch to keep bird seeds from contacting the soil. It’ll also keep the underground weed seeds from getting sunlight, and they won’t sprout.
How Do I Get Rid of Birdseed Sprouts?
You can use the heating method to get rid of birdseed sprouts.
Sterilizing birdseeds prevents them from germinating. You can place your bird seeds in an oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. You can also sterilize them in the microwave for about 5 to 8 minutes to achieve the same results.
What Birdseed Does Not Germinate?
There are multiple types of bird seeds that don’t germinate.
Sunflower chips are the most commonly used type of bird seeds that don’t germinate. They’re hulled and chopped sunflower seeds that can’t sprout.
Cracked corn is also a common birdseed type that doesn’t germinate because it’s cut down into small pieces.
Nyjer thistle is small birdseed that attracts a range of bird species. These seeds are usually heated and don’t sprout.
Bird feeding can really be a fun and calming activity as long as we protect our backyard from unwanted bird seed weed growth, and the squirrels these bird seeds attract. Wait! Squirrels?
Do not fret. Here are some ways to build a squirrel-proof bird feeder to your lawns.
Preventing weeds beneath the bird feeder
Bird feed contributes to the spread of aggressive weeds.
October 29, 2008
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.
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.
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.”
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).
So how can you minimize the spread of new or invasive weeds that originate in bird feed? There are several simple strategies to consider to avoid having your bird feeder become a weed seeder, the WSSA says:
Use a tray attachment under your feeder to keep seeds off the ground.
Select foods that won’t sprout, such as sunflower hearts, peanuts, peanut butter, raisins, mealworms, and plain suet cakes.
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.
Keep an eye out for weeds under your feeder and pull them before they can flower and spread.