How To Keep Birds From Eating Grass Seed (9 Ways To Do It)
Birds love to eat grass seed. If you’re planting it in your yard, you’ll need to take the proper precautions to deter birds so that your grass a chance to grow.
To keep birds away from eating grass seed, cover the seed with a material such as straw, burlap, or netting, or use a coated seed that birds dislike the taste of. If this doesn’t work, try planting extra seed or using a rake to push the seed below the soil.
Today we’ll be going through the various methods. While you do not need to use them all, you may find that using a combination of one or two is the most effective.
9 Ways to Keep Birds from Eating Grass Seed
To keep these hungry pests safely away — and get the beautiful green yard of your dreams — follow these tips.
1. Remove Other Sources of Food
When you’re ready to lay grass seed, the first step to keeping the area bird free is to remove any other regular sources of food. At least one week before, take away all the bird feeders that are currently in your yard. This will help get them out of the habit of visiting you for food.
If you would like to keep supplying snacks for the birds you love, however, try simply moving any feeders. Hang the bird feeder on the opposite side of the landscape away from newly planted grass seed. This will draw them away from the area you’re working on and hold their attention so the seed can germinate.
2. Plant Extra Seed
No matter how much you try, chances are birds are going to get ahold of some of your seed. At the same time, in some climates, the seeds may get blown away. To improve your outcome, plant at least 25% to 30% more grass seed than you need based on the square footage of your yard.
3. Rake the Seed
Once the seed has been sowed, use a rake to lightly push the seed below the surface of the soil. Cover it to a depth of 1/16 to 1/8 inch.
4. Cover the Seed Up
Pushing the seed below the surface of the soil isn’t always enough to keep hungry birds away. For an extra layer of protection, try keeping the seed covered. There are many materials that can be used for this trick. Keep in mind, however, that the soil needs to be moist so the seed can germinate.
Cover options include:
- Straw: Homeowners and landscapers have been using straw to protect their grass seed from birds and other pesky animals for years. It allows for water to easily reach the ground and is safe for the environment, your kids, and pets. You’ll want to cover about 75% of the newly laid seed with a layer of straw.
- Mulch: This is pretty much the same as putting down straw. Like the straw, spread a thin layer of the mulch on top of the newly planted grass seed.
The benefit of using mulch is that it can help lock in moisture. Also, if you use an option that’s mixed with fertilizer it can help with the growing process.
- Burlap Sheets: If you live in a windy area where straw can easily be blown away, try using burlap sheets. Because burlap is a porous material, it allows sunlight and water to reach the soil beneath. To keep the burlap in place, use U-shaped metal pins to anchor the burlap in the soil.
- Netting: One advantage to netting is that it allows more light to reach the surface of the soil. If you decide to go with netting, make sure it’s pulled tight and pinned down at the edges.
Once the seed has had a chance to germinate — this can take anywhere from 5 to 30 days — you will have to remove the covering. This will ensure the grass sprouts get the sun they need to grow.
5. Make Some Noise
Most birds are skittish. A little noise can help keep them away from your grass seed, especially when used in conjunction with other deterrents. Some of the most effective noisemakers are synthetic sound machines. They create high-frequency, ultrasonic sounds to scare the birds away.
When using a noisemaker, keep in mind that some birds may get used to the tactic. To keep them away, it helps to change up the type of noise you’re using. Synthetic noisemakers often come with multiple sounds — making it easy to swap sounds.
If you’re looking for a more low-tech option, tie tin pie pans to posts and spread them around your yard. The pans will clang together when blown by the wind and smack against the post. As a bonus, the tins will also shine when they catch the sun, which can also deter birds.
6. Add Some Visual Deterrents
When noise alone is not enough to keep problem birds from eating your grass seed, try adding a visual deterrent. These deterrents come in many shapes and sizes.
For example, bird tape flashes in the sunlight and hums in the wind, which typically makes birds nervous. To use this often-inexpensive solution, tie the ends of the tape to stakes. String it across your lawn at intervals of 1 to 2 feet.
Another effective — and decorative — option is garden balls. They are a natural repellent because birds find them confusing. They often see the balls as eyes and will stay out of your yard to avoid them.
There are also several items that you may have around the house that can work just as well. For example, children’s windmills or brightly colored flags work just like the flashing bird tape. Like with the bird tape, place the items into the soil spaced 1 to 2 feet apart.
7. Rely on Smell
There are several smells that birds find offensive, including garlic, cayenne pepper, and peppermint oil. Each is organic in nature and used correctly, they can help repel birds.
You can make your own smelly concoction at home. Wild Bird World recommends mixing together ¼ cup vinegar, ¼ cup water, 7 drops of lemon oil, and 7 drops of peppermint oil. Next, soak cotton balls in the mixture. Finally, place them around the lawn — or your house — where you are trying to keep birds away.
8. Add Some Fake Predators to the Mix
No matter how tasty your grass seed may look, birds won’t come close if they spot a predator nearby. Try laying a rubber snake in the soil or setting an owl or a hawk on a nearby fence.
But remember, birds are annoying, but not necessarily dumb. If they since the same predator in the same place day after day, they may catch on that it’s a fake. Be sure to move the predators around your yard or change out what you’re using every couple of days.
9. Purchase Bird Repellent Seed
One easy way to keep the birds out of your yard is to use or add bird repellent seed to your grass seed mix. This seed, which is sold at your local garden and home improvement stores, is coated with a substance that birds don’t find tasty.
10. Use A Decoy Feeder
To gain access to the seeds on the ground, a bird-eating seed must exert considerable effort. As a result, you can entice them to a simple feeding spot where they won’t have to travel through much to reach their food.
This can be accomplished by placing a prominent bird feeder near the location where you have just placed the seeds. However, it must be far away from the place you want to defend by enticing them.
Those birds will ignore your grass seeds in favor of the feeder’s seeds, which are a more convenient source of food. A bird feeder, on the other hand, will attract more birds to your garden.
As a result, you must keep a safe distance between the area you want to keep secure from birds and the area that will be covered by the bird feeder.
11. Lay Some Mulch
Mulch not only keeps the soil moist but also keeps weeds from sprouting and growing. It will ensure that your grass seeds germinate to their full potential. Furthermore, as previously said, it can be extremely helpful against pecking birds.
12. Motion Activated Sprinkler For Birds
Another good way to keep birds away from your grass seeds is to utilize this method. Apart from discouraging birds, there are a number of other benefits to using this motion-activated sprinkler.
It will only activate when motion is detected and will keep your garden propel watered. When it detects movement or a bird entering its domain, it will begin sprinkling water over the grass. It’s also an efficient approach to saving electricity.
13. Use Hanging Spirals To Deter Birds
If you want to strengthen deterrence, this is another effective option. The hanging swirls can be used not only as bird deterrents but they can also be used to add a decorative element to your yard. They’re rather attractive, particularly when the wind blows through them. And the best part is that you can hang them anywhere you want.
As a result, they are quite simple to operate. If you’re searching for a decorative object that can also serve as a bird deterrent, the Hanging Spiral Bird Deterrent is a perfect option. When it moves with the wind, it reflects light, scaring the birds who are eating grass seed, and they will not return.
Make a Plan for Protecting Your Grass Seed
Birds can be a major obstacle when you’re trying to grow new grass. Before you start laying the seed, be sure you have a plan of what bird deterrent will work best for you and your yard.
You may find the most effective method is to combine different methods. For example, you can cover the seed with straw and use a specially coated seed that birds dislike the taste of. Or you may choose to purchase synthetic sound machines that emit high-frequency, ultrasonic sounds that birds are scared of while also laying extra seed so there is more there if birds do try to eat some.
No matter the method you use, remember they’ll have to last until the seeds have a chance to germinate. This process takes 5 to 30 days for grass seed to germinate. If you live a in cooler climate, this process may take even longer.
Does straw prevent birds from eating grass seed?
Covering your grass in straw is one of the most common ways to keep birds from eating recently planted grass seed. Simply cover about 75% of the seed with straw. Once the seed has germinated carefully remove the straw with a rake or your hand.
Do birds eat coated grass seed?
Coated grass seed has a taste that birds do not like, which helps to keep them from eating it out of your yard. This seed can be purchased at your local home improvement stores.
Are birds afraid of shiny objects?
Birds will not land in areas where there are shiny or reflective objects such as mylar tape, garden balls, or aluminum. These items can make for effective and easy do-it-yourself bird deterrents.
What smells deter birds?
There are several scents that birds seem to hate and that will keep them out of an area. These scents include essential oils, citronella, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Many of them you may already have around your house. There are also several repellent sprays available for purchase that use odor to deter birds.
We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.
More by Upgraded Home Team