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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 04, 2008

From: Clovis, CA
Region: California
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Protection of redwoods from deer rutting
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We have a mountain home that we visit every other weekend. Are there any methods to protect redwoods from deer rutting that we can put in place since we are not there enough to spray repellent every few days or after it rains?


Mr. Smarty Plants assumes you mean damage to the trunk of your redwoods that the deer cause when they rub their antlers against the trunk to remove the itchy dry skin (velvet) before the rut. We have the same problem with small trees here in Texas, also. The deer love to rub their itchy antlers on young oaks and can completely girdle them and kiil them if the trunks aren't protected. There are several commercial products available:

Sentree Treeguard

Wraparound plastic tree guards

Corrugated plastic tree guards

Miracle Tubes

You can also make your own using heavy duty plastic mesh or metal wire (chicken wire or hardware cloth) from the hardware store. You will need to check frequently to be sure the guard hasn't become tight around the tree as the trunk expands. Also, you should be sure the guards offer plenty of ventilation so that moisture doesn't build up between the guard and the trunk or so that the guard doesn't provide a area for insects to collect.  Here is an article from University of New Hampshire, "Tree Guards for Tree and Shrub Protection" with instructions for making tree guards.  Their guards are geared towards smaller animal (rodents and rabbits) damage, but the height of the guard could be increased for deer. 

Another option is to build a small diameter (2-3 feet) fence around each tree using metal fence stakes and wire mesh. How practical this option is probably depends on how many trees you need to protect.


More Deer Resistant Questions

Keeping deer away from non-native plants in Lansing MI
June 22, 2011 - What is the real - best way to keep deer from eating my Hostas, Garden phlox and lilies? Ive tried the stinky spray and the fertilizer granules that deter, to no avail.
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Groundcover for lower Michigan
June 24, 2012 - What ground cover is deer resistant for a sunny location in lower Michigan?
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant vines for trellis
December 07, 2009 - We would love to have a blooming vine on our trellis, but the deer devour ever attempt. Please recommend something! Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Protecting guavas from deer
August 06, 2007 - I have large guavas that the deer love to tear up rubbing their new antlers. When do I need to re-cover the plants with anti-deer nets to be sure to get ahead of them? One night too late and they ar...
view the full question and answer

Deer and rabbit resistant plants for Virginia
April 22, 2009 - I am trying to find deer and rabbit resistant plants/ornamental grasses and flowers to create a year round garden (garden with interest all year) in two large and one small flowerbed in the front of o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center