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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - January 03, 2014

From: Saint Louis County, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Deer Resistant, Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Shrubs
Title: Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.

ANSWER:

  Here is a selection of previous Mr Smarty Plant’s responses to questions that involve both erosion control and deer resistance.  Only the first reference is from Missouri, but all give some appropriate direction.

Arnold MO:   Low-maintenance grass for retention pond
Limiting erosion around pond from Brooklyn Park MN
Deer-resistant groundcovers for erosion control
Flowering Deer Resistant Ground Cover for Dry Rocky Soil: Alabama   

  Mr Smarty Plant’s recipe for erosion control is to choose plants that clump and/or have extensive root systems.  These larger root systems tend to hold the soil in place to a larger extent than the size of the plant would suggest.

 There is a special collection of recommended species for Deer resistance.  Rabbit resistance isn’t mentioned in the plant records, but one can hope that deer resistant species are similar.  This link leads to the collection of deer resistant species. 

  Like the other special lists, this can be searched for state, aspect, height and several other important characteristics. Thinking about both of these sets of characteristics, my review of this list suggests the following as suitable plants:

Grasses:   Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama), Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge), Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Shrubs:  Ceanothus americanus (New jersey tea)Hypericum prolificum (Shrubby st. johnswort). Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)

  If you want a little flowering color, there are 43 native wildflowers that also are shown by searching for  “Herbs” in this same collection.

 

From the Image Gallery


Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

New jersey tea
Ceanothus americanus

Shrubby st. john's-wort
Hypericum prolificum

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

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Native grasses and shrubs for Houston project
November 21, 2008 - I am working on a project in Houston. As part of the sustainable approach of the project, I would like to plant native / adaptive, non-invasive grasses and shrubs. It is key that they use little wat...
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Plants for streambank area in Oregon
September 14, 2012 - I am ready to replant a streambank area with native plants..what do you recommend for the Willamette Valley in Oregon? Thanks much!
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Ground cover to withstand dog traffic in Michigan
November 02, 2010 - I need a soft ground cover that will grow in sand, and be able to take four big dogs that love to run in the yard. Grass just doesn't make it. Someone suggested that groundcover might work. Thanks...
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October 31, 2012 - I am looking for a small to medium evergreen shrub (native to east Texas) for a location that receives some sun in the morning but mostly shade. Something that blooms & attracts butterflys & hummingbi...
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Death of Tecoma stans after heavy rain
July 21, 2008 - I had two esperanza plants. They have been planted for about four months, this spring. They were blooming and growing. We had six inches of rain in five days and they began to wilt - and then they d...
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