Bird Seed That Won’t Sprout Weeds


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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. 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.

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

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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.

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.

David A. Swanson

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?

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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Songbird Essentials SEIA30024 Seed Hoop Seed Catcher

I wholeheartedly recommend this Seed Hoop Seed Catcher & Platform Feeder

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!

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.

By David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David 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!

David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David 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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