Monday, October 13, 2008

Hey, What's In Your Seed Mixes?

According to a press release from the Weed Science Society of America, Oregon State University, scientists examined 10 brands of wild bird feed commonly sold in retail stores. The samples contained seeds from more than 50 weed species - including 10 ranked among Oregon's most noxious weeds. Each brand tested contained weed seeds, with six different weed species found in half or more of the samples.

In a short-term study of what happens when stray bird feed drops to the soil, about 30 weed species sprouted in just 28 days. Between three and 17 weed species grew from each of the 10 brands of feed tested. The ten Noxious Weeds Found in the Bird Seed Evaluated in the Oregon Study:

Buffalobur (Solanum rostratum Dunal)
Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)
Dodder (Cuscuta spp.)
Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
Jointed goatgrass (Aegilops cylindrica)
Kochia (Kochia scoparia)
Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris)
Velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti)

When asked what ten brands were tested, Linda Edgerton of Linda Edgerton Communications, representing the Weed Seed Society of America said, "The team purposefully didn't list the brands in the test because they didn't want to single out any one manufacturer. That's because they suspect the problem is industry wide, and it seemed unfair to brand a handful of companies. I can tell you that those in the test ranged from products purchased at high-end retailers (who specialize in birding products) to large discount box stores."

When asked what percentage of bird seed mixes had weed seed, she said that researches found 539 weed seeds in one pound of a particular brand of bird seed and 1489 weed seeds another pound/brand.

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