En Espa—ol

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
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

Monday - April 28, 2008

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Fast-growing, deer resistant native plants for Kerrville, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm looking for a plant that will spread quickly and thickly on a very steep slope. The area to be covered is 60'long x 5'high and is crumbly limestone with full sun and very dry. We have a large herd of whitetail deer that travel through the yard several times each day, eating everything in sight, even the highly deer-resistant plants, so this plant would have to be something that they REALLY don't like.

ANSWER:

Okay, first you're going to have some supplemental reading. From our Recommended Species Special Collections "Just for Texans" here is a list of 345 plants, Deer Resistant Plants, considered to be somewhat distasteful to deer. Another list, from the Rutgers Experimental Station, has a list of plants rated by their resistance to deer browsing. And, finally, a list from the West Virginia Extension Service on Resistance of Ornamentals to Deer Damage. You do, we're sure, understand that there is virtually nothing, except maybe the doghouse, that deer will not eat if they are hungry enough. When there has been a dry spell and a lot of the natural browse has disappeared, the deer know where to go for a nice buffet, and it's called gardens. The deer do seem to stay away from aromatic plants, and rough foliage or stickers and thorns are also not on their favorites list. We are going to go through the Texas list from our Native Plant Database and select some herbaceous perennials, shrubs and grasses or grass-like plants, suitable for your part of Texas, that might work for you. You will have to make the decision, based on your individual layout, whether to try one plant covering the whole area, or a mix, sort of a desert meadow, if you will. Remember, if you stick to just one plant, and you happen to have a group of deer who love that plant, you are foiled. We recommend a mix, tall, short, etc. and if one plant doesn't make it, there will be others to fill in its space. Follow each plant link and read the information, including how resistant it is to deer. When you have made some plant decisions, here are some Native Plant Suppliers in the Kerrville area who can give you assistance in finding the plants you need.

HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS

Asclepias asperula (spider milkweed)

Allium drummondii (Drummond's onion)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Vernonia lindheimeri (woolly ironweed)

SHRUBS

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita)

Dasylirion wheeleri (common sotol)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)

GRASSES OR GRASS-LIKE PLANTS

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Nassella tenuissima (finestem needlegrass)

Nolina lindheimeriana (devil's shoestring)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)


Allium drummondii

Asclepias asperula

Phyla nodiflora

Vernonia lindheimeri

Chrysactinia mexicana

Dasylirion wheeleri

Leucophyllum frutescens

Mahonia trifoliolata

Carex texensis

Nassella tenuissima

Nolina lindheimeriana

Sorghastrum nutans

 

 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Deer resistant plants for a bioswale in NJ
May 06, 2011 - We live in Morris County, New Jersey, on the edge of a nature preserve, i.e., deer are a bane to everything we plant. We recently had to have a swale dug on the west end of our house to deal alleviat...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistance of maple leaf viburnum in Austin
November 20, 2009 - Looking on the Texas Plant Information Database for Maple Leaf Viburnum, I donít find any information about deer (whitetail or axis, southern edge of Edwards Plateau) resistance. Other sites give mixe...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, deciduous plants for New Braunfels, TX
March 28, 2010 - I have three acres of filtered sunlight/mostly shade. What deer resistant, flowering, deciduous plants are best for the New Braunfels area. I have had split leaf phyladendruns for twenty years, but th...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for New York to feed deer
January 02, 2010 - What native grasses do you recommend to encourage deer forage in feed plots?
view the full question and answer

Plants with latex-containing sap
December 23, 2008 - Hi, I was on a nature hike this past summer in Yosemite, and our Ranger guide told us about latex in the Milkweed and the Western Dogwood being a defense mechanism against browsing by deer. I'm a lan...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center