Spring is a traditional time to lie out lawn seeds in order to make a yard look fuller or to repair bare spots. However, homeowners who have tried to sow lawn seeds in spring have often been frustrated by the presence of birds that eat the seeds soon after they are laid.
Anyone who has experienced this may be wondering how one can keep birds away or use some other method to protect the seeds just long enough for them to establish. Here are some hints.
Cover The Seeds
One way to keep birds from devouring lawn seeds is to cover them. Often suggested items that can be used for this are straw or burlap sheets.
Simply laying out straw that covers the seeds appears to be a good temporary alternative. You simply lay the straw on top of the seeds until they germinate. Once this occurs, simply, but gently remove the straw with a rake or by hand. Removing the straw when germination begins is essential so that they can get the sunlight they need to grow.
A disadvantage to straw is that wind can blow it away leaving the seeds unprotected.
Covering the lawn seeds with burlap sheets or plastic sheets is another method. Burlap is an ideal material because it allows water, heat, and sunlight to reach the soil, which inspires the seeds to germinate. It also is an ideal way to protect seeds if you live in a region where there is a lot of wind. To assure that the burlap or plastic sheets do not blow away due to strong winds, simply anchor the burlap down with wire U pins or weigh the plastic sheets down with rocks. Once the seeds have germinated, remove the burlap or plastic sheets.
You can also cover the lawn seeds with about 1/16th to 1/8 – inch of mulch. Make certain to use light and loose mulch and spread the substance so that about 25 percent of the soil remains visible. In addition, lay down seeds over the mulch. This keeps the birds from pecking or scraping through the mulch to get at the protected seeds.
Scare Them Away
There are several ways to scare birds away. For example, you can use Mylar tape or balloons. They move around, flash sunlight, and also make noise. The commotion frightens the birds away.
Sink 3-feet tall poles about 6-feet or 7-feet from each other around the bare spot or around the yard and tie the Mylar tape or balloons to each pole. String the Mylar tape between the poles and make certain that they are not tied too tight so that they can move freely. This allows them to flash sunlight and make noise.
Other methods that use the same principle include sticking a number of pinwheels in the ground around the bare spot or lawn or tying aluminum tin pie pans or old compact discs to poles.
You can also trick the birds with rubber snakes, plastic owls, or a model of a hawk. The “snakes” can be put on the ground and the owl or hawk can be placed on top of a fence.
Keep in mind that birds are fairly smart creatures. You can’t keep the snakes, owls or hawk in the same place day after day. The birds will figure out the ruse. So move the fake predators around or switch them up every once in a while.
Scatter Bird Repellent
You may not be aware that there are bird repellent seeds available at garden and home improvement stores. These seeds are coated with an ingredient that tastes bad to birds. Spread them among the other seeds.
Sources: Leekgarden.com, gardenguides.com, homeguides.sfgate.com)