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.

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Iñigo Navarro

May 16, 2021


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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?

bird seeds spread out

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.

a view of niger seeds

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.

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.

WARNING

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.

a tufted titmouse with seed

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!

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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

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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!

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!

PRO TIP

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.

Iñigo Navarro Picture

By Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo 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!

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Iñigo Navarro Picture

Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo 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!

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