Bird Seed In My Lawn - Knowledgebase Question

Howell, Mi
Question by foreveraroun
February 11, 2010
I have placed a bird feeder station in the middle of my lawn. The feeders have been a big hit with the birds but I now have a great deal of empty sunflower shells on the lawn. Do I leave them? Are they harmful to my lawn? Same question but directed to my flower bed. Are the empty sunflower shells harmful to the soil?


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Answer from NGA
February 11, 2010

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As a matter of fact, sunflower hulls contain a chemical that slows or prevents other seeds from germinating. This allelopathic property only affects sprouting seeds, not established plants so I don't see that the spent hulls will cause any particular problem in your flower bed (unless you're starting your plants from seeds), or with your lawn. However, if the litter gets too thick your lawn can suffer from lack of sunlight. Regular lawn mowing should remove the hulls before they pile up too high. Enjoy the birds - and your landscape!

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