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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - June 07, 2008

From: Pittsburgh, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer-resistant groundcover under pine trees
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

what kind of ground covering can be planted under pine trees (acid soil) that the deer will not eat and will not attract bees?

ANSWER:

That's a pretty big order, but Mr. SP will see what he can come up with! You can see a Fact Sheet on Deer Feeding Habits from the Maryland Cooperative Extension, Deer Resistant Perennials OH 64 from University of Vermont Extension System and also a list of Deer Tolerant/Resistant Native Plants from Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Ferns are on all the lists among the plants mentioned that deer avoid. Since ferns aren't flowering plants (they reproduce from spores) they aren't going to attract bees. Ferns generally like acidic soil and many of them are evergreen. There are several choices for ferns that grow in Pennsylvania. Here are some recommended fern species that are evergreen and grow in acidic soils:

Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort)

Dryopteris cristata (crested woodfern)

Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Here are some other low-growing plants that are on the deer-resistant list and grow in the shade in acidic soil. There is no guarantee that these plants will be bee free.

Actaea pachypoda (white baneberry)

Actaea rubra (red baneberry)

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry evergreen

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry evergreen

 


Asplenium platyneuron

Dryopteris cristata

Dryopteris marginalis

Polystichum acrostichoides

Actaea pachypoda

Actaea rubra

Gaultheria procumbens

Mitchella repens

 


 

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