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?

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

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
1 rating

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

 


 

More Deer Resistant Questions

An evergreen, deer-resistant shrub for Memphis
July 24, 2013 - I need an evergreen, deep to partial shade, deer resistant shrub or tree. Does such a plant exist?
view the full question and answer

Are birdhouse gourds deer-resistant?
January 24, 2009 - Bird house gourds: they smell nasty (to this human being) but I NEED to know if deer are as repelled as a human by the strong odor put off by the plants.
view the full question and answer

Deer-proof native plants
May 14, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Can you recommend some Deer-proof native plants including shrubs and flowering plants?
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

Suggestions for deer-resistant plans
February 28, 2006 - I live in Horseshoe Bay and there are deer everywhere. They seem to eat everything I plant. Is there anything they don't like?
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center