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Mr. Smarty Plants - Deer-resistant ground covers

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Thursday - November 29, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer-resistant ground covers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are there any deer resistant ground covers? Our asiatic jasmine has been eaten up by the deer.

ANSWER:

If you are looking for ground covers without showy flowers, your best natives would be grasses or sedges. For areas with lots of sun Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is an excellent choice. It forms a turf and, not only is it deer-resistant, but it is also drought-resistant and requires very little mowing. It does require at least 6 hours of sunshine every day to thrive and it does turn somewhat brown in the winter. If left unmowed, it grows to 6-12 inches high.

Another grass that is a bit more wispy is Aristida purpurea (purple threeawn). The seedheads turn purple in the fall.

There are several sedges that are evergreen and will grow both in shade and sun:

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

If you have lots of sun in your area and you want a groundcover with flowers, you could use:

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita)

These low-growing plants will grow in sun or part shade:

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage)

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia)   This plant is listed as moderately resistant to deer, but its growth rate is such that it can usuallly keep up with the deer grazing on it.

Finally, these plants prefer part shade:

Stachys coccinea (scarlet hedgenettle)

Tetraneuris scaposa (stemmy four-nerve daisy)

Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage)

For all the plants above Mr. Smarty Plants would like to offer the following caveat: These plants have been identified as deer-resistant, but under adverse environmental conditions deer may eat many plants that under normal situations they wouldn't eat!


Bouteloua dactyloides

Aristida purpurea

Carex texensis

Chrysactinia mexicana

Salvia lyrata

Melampodium leucanthum

Wedelia texana

Phyla nodiflora

Stachys coccinea

Tetraneuris scaposa

Salvia roemeriana

 


 

 

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