A beautiful lawn starts with healthy grass seed. However, birds and other pests can quickly destroy freshly planted grass seeds, causing frustration and delays in achieving the desired results. In this article, we will discuss how to protect your grass seed from birds and other pests, including tips and tricks for successful planting. Protecting your grass seed is essential to achieving a healthy and beautiful lawn. By preventing birds and other pests from damaging or eating the seed, you can ensure successful planting and save time and money in the long run.
How to Protect Grass Seed from Pests?
There are several types of grass seed protectors to choose from to help keep your grass seed free of pests.
1 – Netting
Netting is a popular method of grass seed protection that involves covering the freshly planted seed with a net.
The netting prevents birds and some other larger pests from accessing the seed, while still allowing air and water to pass through. Netting (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) can be found in different sizes and materials, such as plastic or biodegradable materials, depending on the needs and preferences of the user. It is important to remove the netting once the grass has begun to grow, as leaving it on too long can impede growth and create a tripping hazard.
Remember: Depending on the type of netting you get, you may need to get some stakes to keep it off the ground.
2 – Repellents
Repellents are another effective method of grass seed protection that involves applying a substance to the seed that deters birds and other pests from eating it.
Some natural repellents include garlic, chilli powder, crushed pepper and citrus while commercial products may contain chemicals specifically designed to repel pests. It is important to follow the instructions carefully when applying repellents to ensure their effectiveness and avoid any harm to the grass or the environment.
3 – Scare Tactics
Scare tactics involve using visual and auditory cues to frighten birds and other pests away from the grass seed. Some common scare tactics include hanging CDs, reflective tape, wind chimes, or even a fake owl or hawk (Amazon link – opens in a new tab).
These cues mimic the appearance or sound of predators, which can deter pests from approaching the grass seed. Scare tactics can be especially effective when used in conjunction with other methods of grass seed protection. By using one or a combination of these types of grass seed protection, you can effectively prevent birds and other pests from damaging or eating your grass seed, ensuring a healthy and lush lawn.
Things to Consider When Sowing Grass Seed
There are a few things to consider
1 – Time of Year
While the Autumn is a good time for seeding, food sources for wildlife are becoming scarce, making your seeds a prime target. Consider planting in the Spring if wildlife is a significant concern in your area during Autumn.
2 – Overseeding
Scatter more seeds than necessary, anticipating that some will be eaten. This ensures that even if some seeds are consumed, enough will remain to germinate and grow.
3 – Using Seed Covers
Use a thin layer of straw, mulch, or a seed starter mat. This not only protects the seeds from being eaten but also helps retain moisture and provides a conducive environment for germination.
4 – Rapid Germination Seeds
Opt for grass seeds that germinate quickly, leaving a smaller window for them to be eaten.
5 – Keep the Area Wet
Keeping the area moist can deter birds and rodents from digging and pecking at the seeds.
6 – Provide Alternate Food Sources
By setting up feeding stations stocked with birdseed or other wildlife-friendly foods, you can divert the attention of potential seed eaters away from your freshly sown grass seeds.
Rapidly Germinating Grass Seeds UK
Below are some grasses that you can sow that will germinate rapidly meaning less time for the pests to get at your seeds.
Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne)
- Germination Time: 5 to 7 days.
- UK Suitability: One of the most commonly used grasses in the UK, especially for lawns and sports fields. It’s favoured for its rapid establishment and hard-wearing nature. It can build up a layer of thatch over time so will need occasional scarifying.
Annual Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum)
- Germination Time: Around 7 days.
- UK Suitability: While it can be grown in the UK, it’s less common than perennial ryegrass. Often used for temporary ground cover or overseeding.
Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
- Germination Time: 10 to 14 days.
- UK Suitability: Can be grown in the UK but is less common than some other varieties. Often mixed with other species in seed blends for its fine texture and rich colour.
Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)
- Germination Time: 7 to 12 days.
- UK Suitability: Extremely wear-resistant and great for areas with high footfall. This is gaining popularity in the UK due to its drought tolerance and adaptability to various soil types.
Bentgrass (Agrostis spp.)
- Germination Time: 7 to 10 days.
- UK Suitability: Commonly used for golf greens in the UK because of its fine texture and ability to tolerate close mowing.
Protecting your grass seed from birds and other pests is essential to achieving a beautiful and healthy lawn. By using the right grass seed protector and monitoring the planting area regularly, you can successfully plant grass seeds and enjoy the benefits of a lush and green lawn.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Monitor the planting area regularly for signs of damage or pest activity!”
“Address any issues early on to prevent further damage and ensure a successful planting!”
“Use high-quality grass seed that is certified and labelled for your region and intended use!”
“Use scare tactics, such as reflective tape or wind chimes, to frighten birds and pests away from the seed!”
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I keep birds from eating my grass seed?
You can keep birds from eating your grass seed by using netting, repellents, or scare tactics. Netting can be used to cover the seed, while repellents can be applied to deter birds from eating it. Scare tactics such as reflective tape or wind chimes can also be used to frighten birds away from the seed.
Will birds eat lawn seed?
Yes, birds can eat lawn seed, which can be frustrating for homeowners trying to establish a new lawn. It’s important to protect the seed from birds and other pests using one or a combination of protection methods.
Can you put fleece over grass seed?
Yes, you can put fleece over grass seed to protect it from birds and other pests. Fleece is a lightweight and breathable material that allows air and water to pass through, while still providing protection from birds and other pests.
What is the best thing to protect grass seed?
The best thing to protect grass seed is to use a combination of protection methods, including netting, repellents, and scare tactics. It’s also important to plant the seed at the right time, use high-quality seed, water and fertilize properly, keep the planting area clean, and monitor the area regularly for signs of damage or pest activity.
Is it OK to cover grass seed?
Yes, it is OK to cover grass seed using protection methods such as netting. Covering the seed can help prevent birds and other pests from accessing it and can increase the chances of successful germination and growth.
Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.