En EspaŅol

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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


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.


  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. johnswort
Hypericum prolificum

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

More Deer Resistant Questions

Are Hollyhocks deer resistant?
April 07, 2010 - Are Hollyhocks deer resistant?
view the full question and answer

Is Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) deer resistant
May 13, 2008 - I visited a building in Austin, Texas today that had Star Jasmine out front. The man I was visiting said it is also called Confederate Jasmine. It smelled divine! I am wondering if it is deer resis...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant vegetables
April 18, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Are there any vegetables that are deer resistant? Squash, Watermelon, Corn, Chilies?
view the full question and answer

Native deer-resistant plants for Virginia
September 26, 2012 - I live in Roanoke/Salem Virginia and want to plant a few plants native to the area along the front yard rock wall. I would prefer they be the same, deer resistant, around 5-6 feet tall max and flower...
view the full question and answer

Deer--resistant plants for Great Falls, VA
August 16, 2010 - We have just moved to a house with a rural garden enjoyed by us and the deer. Can you recommend any deer resistant plants for ths location ? ( We have full sun and shade - zip code 22066. Thanks,
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center