does bird seed kill grass

Feeding our fine feathered friends is a worthy cause, especially for hungry cardinals, blue jays, Carolina chickadees and many others that winter over in our area. However, if you erect a birdfeeder, toxic shells, weed sprouts and unwanted critters could pose potential threats in your yard. Take the following steps to get rid of birdseed in your lawn while keeping the birds well fed.

Squirrels can dump significant amounts of seed from a bird feeder in a matter of seconds and eat through an entire bag of seed in a day or two. Although notoriously persistent, they can be discouraged with squirrel-proof feeders readily available online. Many effective feeders are weight sensitive and close under a squirrel’s heft. Others feature a protective cage around a cylindrical feeder or a cone-shaped baffle on the pole.

Periodically clearing away the old seed and hulls that accumulate on the ground is a good idea. Regardless of the seed mix you choose, some seeds will probably fall to the ground and sprout, so you’ll need to hoe the area periodically to remove unwanted plants by their roots.

Q: My husband loves birds and bird feeders. Regretfully, the broken seeds that fall cause the grass beneath them to die. Instead, we have green leafy weeds. I’m wondering if there’s a kind of flower I could put beneath the feeders to suppress the weeds without affecting the bird seed.

A: The kind of seed you are using in the feeder is not specified. However, a lot of commercial mixes contain sunflower seeds, which are a favorite food of songbirds. Hulls from sunflower seeds have a toxin that prevents certain plants from growing, so plants growing beneath the feeder may be impacted.

However, if you decide to plant beneath the feeder, try out a few different varieties until you find a blend that suits your needs. Certain plants are not impacted by the characteristics of sunflower hulls. The bird seed is probably to blame if the plants you try have stunted growth, wilting leaves, yellowing leaves, or just plain fail.

Some seed mixtures only contain hulled sunflower seeds or no sunflower seeds at all due to the toxin issue. Use a higher-quality seed mix without fillers like oats, barley, or red millet, which birds prefer not to eat, to lessen the quantity of other seed that falls to the ground. Try a “no mess” or “no waste” blend, where the seeds are broken into smaller pieces and lack a shell to minimize waste.

If you spot a certain group of birds causing trouble, like finches looking for sunflower and Niger (thistle) seed, put up a separate feeder with their preferred seeds. Mixtures with cracked sunflower seeds, also known as sunflower hearts, will help shield your lawn from the toxic effects of sunflower hulls, which are harmful to grass and many other plants.

Birds often throw seed in search of better fare. Don’t buy cheap birdseed because it usually contains fillers that birds won’t eat, like red milo or wheat. Instead, use combinations of cracked corn, white millet, and sunflower seeds that are well-liked by birds. Buying from a specialty store instead of a big box store might be necessary.

It is a noble endeavor to feed our beautiful feathered friends, particularly the hungry cardinals, blue jays, Carolina chickadees, and numerous other birds that spend the winter in our area. On the other hand, if you install a birdfeeder, your yard may become dangerous due to poisonous shells, weed growth, and unwanted animals. Follow these instructions to remove bird seed from your lawn while providing food for the birds.

Mourning doves and eastern towhees are among the birds that favor ground feeding, frequently clearing away seed that has been dropped by more messy birds overhead. Provide a specific area of bare earth beneath the bird feeder to encourage ground feeder use. Although weeds in a lawn can be brought on by birdseed, the bare patch makes it simple to remove any weed sprouts before they grow and spread throughout your lawn. A ring made of ornamental rock or pavers will help keep the seeds contained and give the area a purposeful appearance.

If you’re not into standing on bare earth, think about setting up your bird feeder on easily cleaned concrete or pavers. Birds can contract diseases from rotting seeds and shells in the feeder or on the ground, in addition to weed sprouts from uneaten seeds. Additionally, unwelcome wildlife like raccoons, mice, and rats may be drawn to your yard in search of a simple meal and may even establish a home there.


Is bird seed bad for your lawn?

Encourage ground feeders with a designated patch of bare ground under the bird feeder. Birdseed can cause weeds in a lawn, but the bare patch allows you to easily pick any weed sprouts before they mature and infiltrate your lawn.

Is it OK to put bird seed on the ground?

u The most common and simplest way to feed ground feeding birds is to simply toss some ground feeding mix (plenty of millet) out onto the ground. Toss it where you can easily see the birds. In the winter, it’s helpful to toss seed onto a cleared patio or cleared spot in your yard.

Can you use bird seed as grass seed?

The seeds found in bird seed mixes may include a variety of plant species, some of which could be grasses, but they might also contain plants that are not suitable for a well-maintained lawn.

Does bird seed cause weeds to grow?

Fresh birdseed creates weeds just as much as old seed, but the birds are more likely to eat the fresh over the old. This means that fewer seeds will land on the ground and grow into unwanted weeds. Ideally, you would feed out all the seed in a bag during the same season you purchased it.