En Español

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Tuesday - May 06, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Deer Resistant
Title: How are NPIN Deer Resistance Ratings Determined?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

If your plant data-base (which is the best thing since sliced bread!) is silent on the degree to which a plant is deer-resistant, does this mean you just don't have enough information to make the call? Also, what are your criteria for high, moderate and low deer-resistance?

ANSWER:

Thank you for your very kind comment about the NPIN Plant Database!

NPIN's (the Native Plant Information Network) databases: The Natve Plant Database, The NPIN Image Gallery and others are all works in progress.  The data in some records is as complete as we've been able to make it, while the data set for other records is missing some information.  Finally, some North American native plant species have not yet been researched and added to the database at all.  However, we strive to make all the information that is in the database as accurate as it can possibly be.

Among the most difficult database fields to populate is the one for deer resistance.  Because deer resistance cannot be accurately quantified, the data provided in this field is somewhat subjective.  As deer will sample almost any plant at some point during the year, very few plants are truly, completely deer resistant.  To be listed as deer resistant in the database, a plant must be one that will rarely be browsed by deer beyond sampling.  Exceptions abound and we often hear from folks with woeful stories of their "neighborhood" deer eating every "deer-resistant" plant in sight.

If we have no data on the deer resistance of a species, the "Deer Resistant" box is not checked in our database and no data for that field is provided.  However, we do not currently have a field for "this plant is favored by deer."  Perhaps we should.  We sometimes provide that information in the discussion fields of that species' plant record.

 

More Pests Questions

Problem with Eupatorium greggii
April 27, 2008 - At the Garden's fall plant sale in 2006, I bought some Eupatorium greggii. It did very well last year. Recently, the entire plant looks like it is just wilting from the top down, as if it has some so...
view the full question and answer

Possible damage by invasive, non-native earthworms in compost
January 03, 2007 - I received a worm bin (vermicomposter) for Christmas. The instructions that came with the bin say to use the red wiggler worm (Eisenia foetida) and that it is okay if some of the worms go into your g...
view the full question and answer

Crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - Please don't bother to answer my question about how to treat a crepe myrtle with sticky stuff falling from it. I just found the answer on your site. Good site, by the way.
view the full question and answer

Vines free from cutter ants from Caldwell TX
November 14, 2012 - What are some climbing vines cutter ants won't eat
view the full question and answer

Identity of small objects that look like tiny pecans
November 14, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am doing my science fair project on acorns. Last year I measured how many acorns and other nature-y stuff fell into a baby pool from a live oak tree in my backyard every ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center