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.
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.
Contents of Birdseed Mixes
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.
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.
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.
Q: My husband and I have a dispute. We used inexpensive bird seed a few years ago that sprouted quite a harvest of weeds in our grass. For the past two years I’ve been buying “No Mess” bird seed. My husband says this seed is still causing the weeds.
A: You discovered what a lot of bird feeders have: cheap birdseed causes weeds because birds pick through the seed looking for what they like and then scatter the rest on the ground beneath. “No Mess” birdseed has several seed components but they have all had the hull and skin removed. This prevents germination – and the seed is so delectable that birds consume it all. If your husband isn’t satisfied, do an experiment. Plant some of the birdseed in a pot filled with soil. Water once and leave it in the shade outdoors. If you find sprouts, you’ll have the answer to your dispute.