Growing new grass is a difficult task. There are a lot of factors to consider, for example maintaining the adequate moisture of the soil by watering your new grass seed, making sure the seeds get enough sunlight, and especially, keeping birds from eating them.
It may be tricky to maintain these feathered friends away, but not impossible. That’s why here are some of the best methods to prevent them from eating your precious seeds, and so that you choose based on your preferences.
Cover the Soil
Laying down some straw mulch or covering the seeds with burlap are amazingly effective solutions. Since, basically, birds won’t be able to see the seeds on the ground underneath.
The straw mulch also helps to prevent the growth of weeds and to retain soil moisture. Just lay down a thin layer of the product, enough to cover 75% of the seeds on the soil.
On the other hand, if the area where you’ve sown your seeds is very windy, straw might not be the best option as it can be easily blown away. Instead, you may choose to use burlap sheets.
Burlap allows water, heat, and sunlight to reach the soil beneath, fostering germination. To place it correctly, lay the sheets gently on top of the seeds and secure them with wire U pins.
Finally, after germination, you should gently remove the cover you’ve chosen. This last step is necessary for sprouts to complete their growing process with the help of sunlight.
Protect Your Soil with Lawn Netting
Netting, unlike the covering methods, allows more direct sunlight to penetrate to the surface. Although, make sure it covers entirely the seedbed and it’s tightly fitted and pinned down at the edges.
Sometimes it may be necessary to use wooden stakes to prop the whole set up above the ground to prevent birds from eating the seeds through the holes.
Mylar Tape to Scare Birds
Another great way of keeping birds away from your grass seeds is mylar tape. It’s made form a metallic flexible material that moves creating a noise, and sparkling and flashing in the sunlight. So, it scares all kinds of birds away, including chicken and ducks.
To place it correctly put in 3 feet tall posts surrounding the sowed seed lawn, 6 – 7 feet apart from each other. Then, tie the mylar tape loosely between each pole so that it crosses over the seedbed. Beware of not tying it too tightly because then it won’t move with the breeze and it won’t have the desired effect.
Other Ideas to Scare Birds Away
Take advantage of birds being easily scared. For instance, they don’t come close to anything that represents a threat. Therefore, rubber snakes or plastic owls are good choices to keep them away. Place them close to the area and trick the birds into thinking the decoys are actual predators by moving them around at least a couple of times a week.
Use the same concept of the mylar tape to scare birds away with shiny and loud objects. Pinwheels, wind chimes, helium balloons, aluminum tin pie pans, and even old CDs work just fine. Make sure to set them visible around the area.
Some more deterring options include bright colored flags, toy windmills, and even ultrasound bird repellents.
Distract the Birds
If birds continue to come to your garden, create distractions that drag them to another spot, away from the seedbed. For example, set up some birdbaths, or hang bird feeders and keep them filled with food so that they don’t need to go down to the ground to get the grass seeds.
Finally, this measure consists of investing either on bird repellent grass seed or on purchasing more seeds.
The first ones are covered with a foul-tasting substance that will keep the birds from trying your seeds again. The second strategy is usually applied by farmers. Just sow 50% extra seed to compensate for the seeds that get eaten by birds.
Featured image credit: “Red-Winged Blackbird eating a sunflower seed” by Chris Sorge is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0