Plants below bird feeders?

rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)June 11, 2007

Hi! I recently planted many hostas and a few other things around the backyard. Two of these plants (one is a hosta another is wild ginger) happened to wind up underneath some feeders I have hanging from the trees and after a few weeks I noticed they aren't looking so good.

Does anyone know how the seeds and shells might affect these plants or is this just coincidence?

Thanks!

Kristy :)

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duluthinbloomz4

As much as I'd like to, I don't put out bird feeders - a neighbor does and gets deer, squirrels, chipmonks, you name it, coming for the seed and trampling through anything that may be underneath. Also, birds are selective in which seeds they go for and they aren't neat about it; what one type of visiting bird doesn't like gets thrown out of the feeder so don't be surprised to get all kinds of weird things sprouting underneath. The shells and debris pile up pretty fast too which might eventually have a smothering effect.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 2:32PM
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rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)

I've had feeders for years so I know about all the pros and cons. I was just wondering if the spillover might have an effect on the two plants that happen to be below two of my feeders. They are both looking droopy yet the other couple dozen look fine.

Kristy :)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 3:58PM
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suzinnia(z4mn)

Do your feeders contain sunflower seeds.....not sure, but I think I remember those having a growth inhibiting factor associated with them. Probably, someone with a better memory or knowledge base than mine could comment on this. If it's just my brain that's gone to another planet, please be gentle....
Suzy

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 8:03AM
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deweymn(z4mnstpaul)

How about moving the feeders, clean the area of soil on the surface around the plants and then wait and see if the recover?

Interesting post as I invite birds and squirrels to 'brunch' in my yard. The squirrels are a pest, dig in my planter boxes and yard right after I transplant, (I just redo it and/or put a little pepper or cayenne on the soil to discourage them).

Once they have checked to see if I have transplanted correctly they seem to leave the new stuff alone. Once it is established they don't harm them. I would like a chipmunk or two but they don't get into the city proper much.

I would sure like some bees tho. I may have to start a hive next year.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 8:29AM
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rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)

Do your feeders contain sunflower seeds..

One does and the other is thistle. As a matter of fact the one that was under the sunflower seeds is under a peanut feeder now and has been for about two weeks. So maybe it's not the seeds that's doing it. I wonder if maybe one of my dogs has chosen to continually "leak" on these two plants in particular? Could that be the problem?

The only other thought I have is that maybe there is something under the soil in those two spots....something leftover from when we built the house maybe?

I don't know what to think. The ginger looks like a lost cause. The hosta is not too bad right now.

Once they have checked to see if I have transplanted correctly they seem to leave the new stuff alone.

LOL! They are something, aren't they? I might have to try transplanting the ginger and see if it's not liking the spot it's at. My other ginger plant looks wonderful.

I don't know if I could move my feeders easily as I have limited large branches hanging close enough to the deck.

Thanks for the replies!! Either way, I never gave much thought to the spillover from feeders...and now it may be something to take into consideration.

Kristy :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 10:36AM
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luvmydaisies(Lonsdale, MN/ zone4)

Read this article.

Here is a link that might be useful: Acorns and sunflowers

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 12:31PM
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rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)

Thank you for the article!! I'm going to keep my eye on the hosta (now that it's not under the sunflower seeds since I switched out the feeder). Now if I could only figure out why my one ginger isn't doing well yet the other plants around it are fine.

Thanks again!
Kristy :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 3:08PM
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doucanoe

Kristy, is your ginger getting any direct sun? They don't like that.

The grass below our feeding station doesn't grow well, and I am sure it is from all the seed shells tossed out on the ground below. In spring I rake all the winter shells away, but there are still many that the rake doesn't get.

dewey, I'd be happy to send a few chippers your way! But you really don't want any...they are destructive as he//! They burrow under and chew on EVERYTHING! We had a vast network of tunnels under our patios and sidewalks at our last house. Had to live trap them and relocate them to an isolated spot down by the river away from other homes. Not fun. Now we have them here, and looks like we'll be doing the same.

Linda

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 5:15PM
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rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)

Kristy, is your ginger getting any direct sun? They don't like that.

It doesn't. I really think it's the shells from the thistle seed. I'm going to transplant it tomorrow and see if it bounces back! The thing has been wilted to the ground for several days now and I just haven't had the chance to move it yet. I hope it will forgive me! :)

Kristy :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 5:30PM
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kyliegirl(z3)

I quit feeding sunflower seeds after a friend told me about using safflower seed instead. Now I get the small birds, no squirrels, etc....

Try it!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 12:24AM
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rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)

Thanks, Kylie. I mix sunflower and safflower together. I was thinking about using just safflower but it is so much more spendy than other seeds. I'll ponder making some sort of change though.
Kristy :)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 10:31AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I switched to feeding sunflower hearts/chips. No more hulls, no more dead plants under my feeders.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 9:46AM
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rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)

I switched to feeding sunflower hearts/chips. No more hulls, no more dead plants under my feeders.

That is a good idea too. I may go that route during the warm months and switch to in-the-shell during the winter.

Thanks!
Kristy :)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 2:40PM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

I've used sunflower chips for years and what an improvement they are over seeds in the shells! They cost a bit more, but are all edible and NO MESS!. The only problem I've had with plants under bird feeders is, unfortunately and unavoidably, bird poop!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 11:35PM
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minnesotastan

Ruby, our thistle feeder hangs above what is now a dinner-plate-sized dead zone in the lawn. I'm convinced it's not the thistle seeds or shells (which tend to be scattered for several feet). Rather the toxin is almost certainly finch urine, which drops directly down while they are on the feeder. Your suggestion that maybe it was the dog's fault is not far off the mark; the dead spot is the same thing that happens with dog urine, so it's probably pH-related.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 9:08AM
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rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)

Thank you for the replies! I am afraid I didn't get to the ginger in time. I transplanted it but it was looking grim. I'll leave it and see if anything comes of it next year.

In the meantime....I am due for a bird seed run. I'll be getting sunflower hearts for sure!

Thanks for all the input! I appreciate it!
Kristy :)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 12:11PM
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eyemitalian

Hello all. I had bird houses hanging from the side of my garage. Used safflower seed and it spilled into the flower garden. I now have wild grass all over which I presume will sprout to flowers but they are completely overtaking my hostas, vines and hollie bushes. Is there a way to kill this without killing all the others? Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 3:16PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Hey there eye- just give them the yank- pull them the old fashioned way-
As for under the feeder plantings- I have my feeder in the shade and have tried many things under there in hopes that something may take- alas- for many years- nothing has done well directly under the feeders- 6-10" aside of them- all is well- but there is so much traffic under the feeders- and up the poles that I have yet to find the plant that will stand up to the problem area. I guess I will have to rethink my plan- and come up with an equally pleasing solution- maybe a low bird/kritter bath/watering station- or a found rock sculpture....
Let me know if you find the answer to the under the shade feeder empty bed syndrome.

Julie

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 7:35AM
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