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?

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
2 ratings

Tuesday - June 03, 2008

From: Palo Pinto, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer-resistant plants for steep hillside erosion control
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I am looking for advice on native plants to control erosion on a steep hillside in the western cross timbers. This is a shady area under post oaks and cedar elms, in shallow sandy soil mixed with large boulders. Most of the land is 45 degrees or worse. Oh, and the plants must be deer-resistant as it is heavily infested with deer. The primary understory now is smilax and prickly pear.

ANSWER:

Your best bet for controling erosion is grass. The grasses have fibrous root systems that hold the soil very effectively. Additionally, grasses are not a primary food for deer. They will eat grass when it is young and tender, but tend to avoid it after the grass is older unless it is their only choice for food. Here is a list of grasses that are native to Palo Pinto, Texas that will grow in part shade (2-6 hours sun per day) or shade (<2 hours of sun per day).

Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass) sun, part shade

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) sun, part shade

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) part shade, shade

Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy grama) part shade

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye) sun, part shade, shade

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) part shade

Tridens albescens (white tridens) sun, part shade. Photo from Texas A&M Uvalde.

You can also look through the other plants that are on our Deer Resistant Species list for possibilites for erosion control plants; however, grasses are going to be the best solution. Use the "Narrow Your Search" option to limit the list to Texas species.

You don't mention whether you are thinking of removing the cactus and greenbriar, but I recommend not removing them until you get some grasses established there—those prickly plants are helping with erosion control.


Poa arachnifera

Schizachyrium scoparium

Bouteloua curtipendula

Bouteloua hirsuta

Elymus canadensis

Elymus virginicus


 


 



 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Barrier Planting in Boston
January 29, 2013 - I live in the Boston area and a school is being built right behind my property. The school kindly left me a 100' barrier that includes some 40' high pines, a couple of tall oaks and some spindly po...
view the full question and answer

What plants are the most deer resistant in Connecticut?
May 13, 2009 - Please advise me as to what plants are the most deer resistant and native to Wilton, CT. Most importantly, what evergreen shrubs and perennials will best survive?
view the full question and answer

Determining best time to harvest deer grass seeds in California
September 06, 2006 - When is the best time to harvest deer grass seeds at about 4,000 feet in southern Riverside County California??
view the full question and answer

Have deer eaten the flowers of my Esperanza?
June 16, 2009 - My wife and I planted an Esperanza plant and it seemed to be doing well. It had numerous blossoms and we were excited at the prospect of having a beautiful plant that was alledgedly a "deer proof" ...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant groundcovers for erosion control
September 26, 2012 - I need a ground cover (vine??) that will help me with erosion on a sloped front yard. It gets about 6-8 hours of sun and my main need is for something that the rats in our neighborhood will not destro...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center