Since the ground under your feeders may be a mess anyway, add pavers. A square of 9 or 16 pavers set close together will be easy to sweep up. Seeds that fall in the cracks and sprout are easy to pull up.
Many mixed seed varieties feature a no-mess or no-waste bird seed. These contain such bird foods as hulled sunflower seeds (seeds without hulls), hulled white proso millet, sunflower chips (hulled and broken), peanut pieces, cracked corn, dried fruits, and nuts (without the shell).
Spread bird seed on a flat baking sheet that has a lip all the way around. Preheat your conventional oven to 250˚ F. Place the baking sheet with bird seed in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Tip 12) Clean up spilled seed before it sprouts
Common backyard birds in the United States: How to attract them, how to watch them, how to identify them.
Feeders themselves don’t stop bird seed from sprouting. However, the bird feeder and how it is hung up can change the amount of seed falling to the ground uneaten.
It is inevitable that uneaten seeds will spill out of your bird feeders. The birds themselves may knock some of it out in all of their activity. This uneaten seed will germinate and sprout in your lawn under your feeders. How do you keep sprouting bird seed under control?
Platform feeders are messy. Birds stand in the feeder with the seeds.
Although it sounds like a weed, nyjer thistle is not the standard thistle with the purple bloom that gardeners try to keep out of their yards. Nyjer thistle is a small black seed favored by birds such as finches, juncos and pine siskins. Quality nyjer thistle is typically heated so it won’t sprout. If a few plants do sprout, they rarely grow to a mature plant in North America.
Sunflower chips are hulled sunflower seeds that are chopped into pieces. With the kernel hulled and chopped, the seed won’t sprout. Sunflower chips make an excellent feeder choice because they are one of the top seed choices by a variety of birds including jays, woodpeckers, finches, grosbeaks and chickadees.
Watching the antics of birds hopping on feeders and battling over seed is one of the many reasons to feed wild birds. Unfortunately, if you choose the wrong seed or don’t follow good feeding habits, you can end up with a mess of weeds around your feeders. Birds know what they like and will pick through seed mixes to find what they want, leaving the discarded seeds to sprout. Choosing the right seed can keep your garden tidy as you continue to feed your avian visitors.
Most wild bird mixes found in stores that don’t specialize in birdseed contain an abundance of milo and millet. While some birds such as juncos and sparrows love millet, many other species will pick through, trying to get to other items in the mix. Few birds eat milo. As the birds pick through the mix, millet and milo fall to the ground and will eventually sprout into grass-like weeds. To avoid this, visit a store that specializes in wild bird food and choose a mix specially designed for what the birds in your area prefer. The food may cost more, but much less will make its way to the ground to become a weed.
Cracked corn consists of dried corn that is split into pieces. Unlike whole kernels of corn, the pieces of cracked corn can no longer sprout. Jays, doves, quail, sparrows and even ducks are attracted to feeders that contain cracked corn.
Feeding your birds wisely helps reduce seed waste and therefore helps control any likelihood of grass or other weeds growing under your feeders. Using a bird feeder with a seed-catching tray underneath helps catch any discarded seed before it hits the ground. Providing one type of seed in each feeder will keep birds from picking through mixes to find the type of seed they like. In addition to seed, set out fruit, suet and hummingbird feeders to attract a wide array of wild birds.
Place a tarp or plastic sheet beneath the feeder, advises Gardeners’ World. When seed falls, it will land on the tarp, preventing it from touching the soil. To clean, fold up the tarp and pour the discarded seeds into the trash. Birdseed catchers, which attach to the base of the feeder, serve a similar purpose.
Fill the feeder with as much seed as you know birds will eat within a day or two. If you overfill the feeder, birds will knock the extra seeds to the ground.
Things You Will Need
Ask your local pet store or wild-bird supply store if they carry non-sprouting feed blends. These blends typically contain chips or pieces of broken seeds that will not germinate.
Purchase high-quality seed that doesn’t contain too many fillers, including millet and flax seeds. Birds dislike these fillers, so they drop them on the ground to reach the better seeds. If you see small red seeds in a bag of feed, check the ingredient list. These might be millet, but they could also be sorghum or milo, two types of seeds that birds enjoy, reveals Wild Bird Watching.
Sterilizing birdseed by baking or microwaving it will prevent sprouting, but some bird enthusiasts think that doing this destroys the seed’s nutrients. If you want to try this method, spread the seed out in a single layer on a cookie tray, and then bake in the oven for eight to 10 minutes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, put birdseed in a paper sack and microwave for five minutes.