How can I prevent birds from eating grass seed and destroying my new lawn? Experts solve the dilemma


Northern Flicker bird on the grass

Q: I recently seeded my lawn, but noticed that birds are eating all the grass seed I have sown. Are there any easy ways to deter them that won’t harm the birds but will protect my new lawn?

A: If the birds are really interested in your new lawn, it’s worth taking a few steps to prevent them from eating the grass seed, otherwise your entire neat planting could be destroyed.

Sewing grass seed is a simple task, but later carelessness can quickly undo your hard work. Keep an eye on it by following good lawn care and make sure there are no regular visitors taking advantage of a free stream. It is important to protect sown seeds and reduce the risk of birds using the seeds as a food source. The good news is that there are plenty of expert tips you can follow to care for your newly seeded lawn.

grass seed that grows after being sown

grass seed that grows after being sown

6 Ways to Stop Birds From Eating Grass Seed

You’ve looked at the science and discovered exactly how to plant grass seed for flawless results. Then, after all your hard work, your lawn is dive-bombed by all the neighborhood birds looking for a free feast on your lovingly laid grass seed.

“There are no grass seeds that birds won’t eat,” says Reese L Robbins, founder of Just Pure Gardening. “Birds have a natural instinct to look for seeds. Even if you choose a seed mix that is less appealing to them, they may still peck at it.

The good news is that there are ways to prevent birds from eating your grass seed.

American Robin bird on the grass

American Robin bird on the grass

1. Cover the seeded area

“An effective method is to cover the seeded area with a lightweight, breathable fabric or bird netting,” says Reese. “It will create a physical barrier between the birds and the seeds, making it more difficult to access them. Be sure to secure the edges of the fabric to the ground to prevent birds from entering underneath.

If you’ve repaired patches of grass and you have a slightly smaller grass seed patch, covering it with horticultural fleece is a great option. “Roll out large leaves and plant them in the ground with stakes,” says Ben Hilton, owner of The Yard and Garden. “The fleece allows water in, helps lock in moisture, and also protects the area from cold winds or late frosts.”

Once the grass seeds have taken root, you can roll them up and reuse them for other jobs in the garden.

Horticultural fleece or frost protection fabric is readily available on Amazon.

2. Set up a deterrent

There are also a variety of techniques you can use to physically deter birds, such as noisemakers and bird scarer avatars.

“Hang reflective items like aluminum pie plates or mylar tape around the garden, which will reflect light off and scare birds away,” suggests expert landscaper Noah James of Liberty Lawn Maintenance.

Meanwhile, Olivia Kepner, founder of Cool Wood Wildlife Park, suggests placing bird repellents such as fake owls or rubber snakes near the seed.


3. Install motion-activated sprinklers

There are other ways to scare birds. “Buy a few motion-activated sprinklers and place them around the lawn,” says Ben Hilton. ‘It’s a win-win. The bird is scared and the lawn is watered.

You can also try setting an oscillating sprinkler on a timer. This gives the lawn a more controlled method of irrigation and covers a much wider spray path.

lawn sprinkler

lawn sprinkler

4. Hang lots of bird feeders

If you have bird feeders, make sure they are filled with plenty of food that is more attractive to birds than grass seed. Find out how to make fat balls for birds and grass seed will suddenly seem less interesting

‘A few days before sowing the grass seeds, throw in some sunflower hearts [available from Amazon] on a different part of the garden each day, as this will help distract birds from the newly seeded area,” says Dick Woods, founder of Finches Friend Nature.

“While you’re at it, place bird feeders as far away from the seeded grass area as possible,” adds Dick. “While this will potentially attract more birds to the garden, it will attract them to the feeder and not the ground.”

birds on feeder

birds on feeder

5. Get rid of lawn bugs that birds love to eat

Insects are a common food source for birds, and lawns are an excellent hunting ground for them. By reducing the amount of insects in your lawn, you will also help reduce the chances of birds eating your grass seed. Get rid of lawn worms such as leather jackets and cockchafer larvae that birds love to seek out.

6. Add a layer of mulch

If you know your lawn is in bad shape, now could be a great time to give it a boost with a layer of topsoil or try mulching the surface. It’s also a good idea to know when to plant grass seed in your area, as these jobs go hand in hand.

“When you’ve laid down your grass seed, cover it with a layer of fine mulch,” says Ben Hilton. “It will create a physical and visual barrier against prying birds. But it will also condition your lawn and help retain moisture while your grass seed takes root.

It’s a good idea to try to hide the grass seed as much as possible. Rake the seed well so that it is not so visible to birds. Then, when your grass seed starts growing, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief!

compost on spade

compost on spade


Can you buy grass seed that birds won’t eat?

If you want to buy grass seed that birds won’t eat, there are different options. Some species of birds prefer certain types of seeds. By planting grass seeds that are less attractive to birds, you may be able to deter them from eating them. But it has had mixed success and while it may deter some birds, others won’t be put off at all.

“Not all types of grass are created equal when it comes to bird resistance,” says gardening expert Henna Bell of Gardening Hood. “Certain grass varieties are more likely to attract birds than others, so it’s important to choose a bird-resistant grass variety when planting your lawn.”

Some of the most bird-resistant grass varieties include fescues, bluegrass, and ryegrass. Using taller grass varieties can also be an effective deterrent.

Also look at the best fast growing grass seeds because you want your regenerated lawn to grow fast and keep those birds away.

While birds are a valuable asset to any backyard, and especially a wildlife garden, there are times when our feathered friends eat things we wish they didn’t! Trying one of these methods is an easy way to make sure all your hard work planting new grass isn’t wasted. And once that lawn is green and thick, you’ll be glad you went the extra mile.

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