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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)

 

 

 

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