En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Damage to Agave in New Braunfels, TX

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
1 rating

Thursday - August 21, 2008

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Damage to Agave in New Braunfels, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

In a flower box, I have an Agave on which the leaves have been damaged. It looks as if a deer rubbed his antlers on it. Is there any animal in south central Texas that would try to eat an agave?

ANSWER:

Times have been hard this summer in Central Texas, and lots of little (and big) animals are coming into home gardens to browse. However, it is unlikely that even deer would tackle an agave, and if they won't, we can't imagine any other animal that would. Few plants are completely deer resistant. Several factors influence deer browsing, including density of deer population, environmental conditions, such as drought, and plant palatability. Deer tend to avoid plants with aromatic foliage, tough, leathery and/or prickly leaves or plants with milky latex or sap. Two agaves on our Deer Resistant Species list are Agave americana (American century plant) and Agave univittata (thorncrest century plant). They would simply be representative of all the native agaves in our Native Plant Database. Not only are they tough and prickly, but they have a very potent sap that we are warned to avoid contact with when we trim or transplant agaves by wearing heavy gloves and goggles. Deer are not tremendously smart, but it does seem doubtful they would try something like that.

Male deer shed their antlers between January and April. During the growth period of the bony antlers, which is Summer, they are covered with a sensitive skin called "velvet". Antler growth spans 2 to 4 months, after which the velvet withers, dries and falls off, often assisted by the deer, which rubs his antlers against tree bark. Mating season is in the Fall, so the velvet is usually being shed in early Fall. So, it is within the realm of possibility that the damage to your agave was caused by a deer that perhaps tried to have a bite, and decided if he couldn't eat it, he'd rub his itchy antlers on it.

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Trimming damaged leaves on agaves
February 05, 2009 - Some of the leaves on my agaves are damaged. Can I cut them off? If yes, how can I prevent the wound from becoming infected? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Correction of tree name from Bay Point CA
October 16, 2013 - The tree should of been Mulberry don't know how it was changed!! Tuesday - October 15, 2013 From: Bay Point, CA Region: California Topic: Non-Natives, Cacti and Succulents, Trees Title: Non-...
view the full question and answer

Trimming freeze-damaged Agave Americana in Alvarado TX
April 08, 2010 - What is the best way to trim Agave Americana cactus? The freeze this winter when it snowed has caused the leaves to die towards the bottom of the plant.
view the full question and answer

Soaptree yucca falling over in Mesa AZ
July 24, 2013 - My soaptree yucca is about 5 ft tall and has fallen over. Does this plant require staking for I thought not, or is something else going on with it?
view the full question and answer

What to do with agave after it blooms from Phoenix AZ
March 12, 2013 - Hello! I have 2 century plants in the process of blooming. How exciting!! I've never really seen it before. Anyway, what do I then do with the dying/dead plant. Simply dig it up and trash it? T...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center