Bird Seed That Won’t Sprout Weeds

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. What Kind of Birdseed Won’t Make Grass Grow?. 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 … There are many no-waste bird foods that can make feeding the birds easy and convenient without the mess.

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.

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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

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.

What Kind of Birdseed Won’t Make Grass Grow?

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.

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No Waste Mixes

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.

Sunflower Chips

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.

Cracked Corn

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.

Nyjer Thistle

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.

Feeding Tips

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.

No Waste Bird Foods

Melissa Mayntz is a bird expert, certified Master Naturalist, writer, and author with over three decades of experience. She’s published in several national magazines, including National Wildlife Magazine, Bird Watcher’s Digest, and WildBird Magazine. Melissa has studied hundreds of bird species around the world, traveling to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the central Pacific, the Middle East, and more on birding expeditions.

theilr / Flick / CC by-SA 2.0

Feeding birds can be an enjoyable hobby, but it can also be a messy one as layers of hulls and discarded seeds accumulate under feeders, on decks, and across patios. By choosing no waste bird foods, however, that mess can be avoided and the birds will enjoy every morsel of available food.

What Makes Bird Feeding Messy

Birds are naturally messy eaters, and feeding birds for a long time can lead to dirty feeders and messy ground beneath those feeders. Unappetizing seeds will be kicked out and discarded, and birds drop hulls as they feed. Discarded seed can mold and rot, or it may sprout beneath the bird feeder, leading to undesirable weeds or damaging turf. A messy feeding area can attract pests and may result in fines or other sanctions in HOA communities. Birders who choose no waste bird foods will avoid many of these problems while giving their birds the best, most nutritious foods.

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Types of No Waste Bird Foods

No-waste bird food is a type of food that birds completely consume, with no leftover hulls or uneaten pieces. There are natural no waste foods, such as floral nectar, insects, small berries, small nuts, and crabapples that birds can swallow whole. Offering these natural foods is the ideal way to keep feeding areas clean and to economize a bird feeding budget.

For supplemental bird feeders, there is a wide variety of no waste, no mess options, including:

    hearts or chips (check ingredients to be sure there are no hulls in the blend)
  • Hulled millet
  • Shelled peanuts or orange marmalade (use only sparingly as rare “treats”)

These foods can be purchased individually or in specialized no waste or no mess seed blends, often with different compositions designed to attract different types of birds. While these no waste blends are more expensive than traditional birdseed, they can be a more economical option overall because birders are not paying for the weight of hulls or filler seeds birds will not eat.

Benefits of No Waste Foods

The most obvious benefit of no waste bird foods is that the birds are able to eat the entire quantity of food. This can mean feeders need less frequent refilling, and cleaning the feeders is easier because there is no need to remove unwanted debris. Because no waste birdseed has no hulls, the seeds are also unable to sprout and there will be no unintentional weeds or damage under the feeders. With less seed spilled to the ground, fewer feeder pests such as mice, rats, raccoons, squirrels, deer, and other animals will be attracted to the area.

Tips for Feeding No Waste Foods

Because no waste birdseed and other foods are typically more expensive than basic seed blends, it is important to feed them as economically as possible and to care for the seed so it is not wasted in other ways.

    so it will stay fresh and dry as long as possible, free from rodent or insect infestations. Storing birdseed in a freezer or refrigerator can ensure it stays fresh and is not contaminated by pests.
  • Use no waste birdseed on decks, balconies, patios, or other areas where mess is undesirable, but use less expensive seed elsewhere to lower the bird feeding budget and offer more feeding options for more birds.
  • Use platforms under feeders so any unintentional waste is minimized and larger birds can feed from the platform to clean up spillage. This will also create extra feeding space to accommodate flocks. with suitable placement and covers, since hulled seeds will spoil more quickly when wet. On rainy days, consider leaving feeders empty to avoid mildewed or damp seed.
  • Buy different no waste seeds and foods in bulk and create customized seed mixes rather than paying for expensive manufactured blends. This ensures the seeds offered are perfect for exactly the backyard birds that visit.

No mess bird seed and other no waste bird foods are ideal choices for feeding birds and eliminating much of the mess that comes with bird feeding. By choosing these high-quality, desirable foods, birders can attract a wide range of birds to their feeders without needing to clean up after them.